tony shlongini wrote:how exactly do you define your price range, let alone a bargain?
Very interesting question!
In general, it's obviously a very subjective thing.. and people probably define their price ranges on an as-needed, how-big-is-my-wallet basis. You're right that, in the big picture, even expensive pu-erh is way cheaper than booze, weed, Starbucks, even going out for dinner. (And every time I go out for dinner with my wife and kid, I think "man, I could've bought two or three more Mengku cakes.." (though I've stopped saying it out loud, cuz my wife doesn't exactly appreciate that!))
That said... My personal range is something like $10-20 (incl. shipping) for a good sheng cake (357g), maybe up to $25ish if it's really good. Though, today I'm about to spend $50 (-$10!) at puerhshop on another ($33) 2003 Songpin Imperial shou cake, just because I know I like it, and also a handful more of the Changtai Banna tuos. (Shipping is cheaper from pu-shop than directly from China, so I'll spend a little more per cake there, IF it's something I know I like.)
Ummm.. this is losing its form... :) but, it's so psychological. If I know I'm making a big order from YS, I try to get a lot of good, cheap cakes. If I'm just getting a couple ounces of primo oolong from Hou De, I'll spend a lot more $/g.
Anyway... it all kind of comes down to how I feel right before I click the Purchase button. :) Which probably doesn't answer your question at all... but "the market" is such a fluid thing, determined by consumer demand, psychology, good and bad tea reviews on the net, yadda yadda, that there is probably no real good answer to your question! Still it's fun to talk about. Hope that helps. :)