China. Travel futures and logs!

Culture, language, tangibles, intangibles from countries known for tea. China, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, India, etc...


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Apr 21st, '17, 02:56
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Re: China. Travel futures and logs!

by Bok » Apr 21st, '17, 02:56

As many markets this one was also slightly overwhelming, lots of the same, all crowded with tea and teaware and whatnot. So the big question is where to start? Sidenote, almost empty, not many customers in sight.

Firstly I avoided the hawking shops which approach you speaking in English.

Then my eye got caught by a small shop which had some very nice looking handwritten labels on their craft-paper tea packs. Curious I went in and the owner just had put a few leaves in a gaiwan and asked me/us if we want to join him. Turned out this shop is specialised in Dancong only. Told him I was originally looking for Yancha, but still decided to give it a try as I did not have this kind of Oolong either.

tbc...

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Apr 21st, '17, 03:01
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Re: China. Travel futures and logs!

by Bok » Apr 21st, '17, 03:01

His Dancongs were decent in my opinion as a first-timer. Some reminded me a bit of Oriental Beauty and certain high mountain blacks from Taiwan.

He prepared a few and I settled on a cheaper one, which I liked better than the first more expensive one he had just been delivered.

Need to look up the exact names later.
All in all I do not think I was especially ripped off, prices are higher than in Taiwan, but still ok for an horizon expansion and a trip souvenir. There was a nice sense of taste in the shop and how he brewed too, compared to the other more local style shops.

I did not get to try the nicely labeled teas though, turns out they start from 10000 RMB upwards for a 100g, which is why he did not even offer to brew them for us...

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Apr 21st, '17, 03:09
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Re: China. Travel futures and logs!

by Bok » Apr 21st, '17, 03:09

Only afterwards - of course - he referred me to his friend upstairs who only specialises in Wuyi tea. :mrgreen:

So we went up to a more local style shop, so atmosphere and teaware-wise not as pleasant.
But I finally got to try some Wuyi! A Shuixian at first and two qualities of Rougui afterwards. Slightly similar to the Dancongs - by a stretch though, but noticeably more powerful. The interesting thing was that the owner left the first brew out on the side - only for the last and better quality tea - to be drunk last. Cooled down the seemingly too light first brew become a very interesting additional layer.

What I would say makes those teas quite different to a lot of Taiwan teas is, how drastically they change from one infusion to the next!

I could not tell how far up or down on the scale the teas where that I tried, but they were definitely all not bad at all. Pricey, yes but same as the Dancongs a nice change in scenery from Taiwan. Bought only a little pack in this shop as the teas where a lot more expensive than in the first shop. Gonna post names later

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Apr 21st, '17, 05:58
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Re: China. Travel futures and logs!

by Tead Off » Apr 21st, '17, 05:58

Bok wrote: my search was to find and finally try some Wuyi teas, without having to resort to international online shops...
I don't really understand your reluctance to buy teas from online vendors. What are you afraid of?
In Shanghai, Teaurchin, an online vendor and seller of good Yancha, can provide you with good quality Yancha at a fraction of the prices you are quoting. Plus, the recommendations of posters on Teachat as well as on the sites of the vendors, can help you make a choice. If you're concerned about being ripped off, the tea market in Shanghai is no place for you. No reason to pay 10,000RMB for some Yancha as an introduction. You might even be able to buy samples from many online sellers. Get to it, dude :D

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Apr 21st, '17, 06:05
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Re: China. Travel futures and logs!

by Bok » Apr 21st, '17, 06:05

Tead Off wrote:
I don't really understand your reluctance to buy teas from online vendors. What are you afraid of?
In Shanghai, Teaurchin, an online vendor and seller of good Yancha, can provide you with good quality Yancha at a fraction of the prices you are quoting. Plus, the recommendations of posters on Teachat as well as on the sites of the vendors, can help you make a choice. If you're concerned about being ripped off, the tea market in Shanghai is no place for you. No reason to pay 10,000RMB for some Yancha as an introduction. You might even be able to buy samples from many online sellers. Get to it, dude :D
The teas I finally bought were at a much lower price, around 300 for 75g for the Rougui for example. I just do not like to buy tea without trying it first.

I was there for business, so just a little detour to get a first impression. For those purposes the market was ok. Not really afraid of getting ripped off, food and drinks is just something I like to experience in person...

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Apr 21st, '17, 08:13
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Re: China. Travel futures and logs!

by Bok » Apr 21st, '17, 08:13

... not to forget the chit chat with the shop owners which was informative and interesting as well. After all you spent a lot of time in their shops tasting the teas! The first Dancong kept going and going. And that even as he was brewing it pretty much non-stop.

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Apr 21st, '17, 22:16
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Re: China. Travel futures and logs!

by Bok » Apr 21st, '17, 22:16

Tiny update: the Dancong shop also has a Taobao outlet, checked the prices and they concur more or less with what I paid, so that shop has been honest.

So far so good, now I need to get home to experiment with brewing them myself :lol:

Apr 25th, '17, 22:00
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Re: China. Travel futures and logs!

by ethan » Apr 25th, '17, 22:00

Bok wrote:
Tead Off wrote:
I don't really understand your reluctance to buy teas from online vendors. What are you afraid of?
In Shanghai, Teaurchin, an online vendor and seller of good Yancha, can provide you with good quality Yancha at a fraction of the prices you are quoting. Plus, the recommendations of posters on Teachat as well as on the sites of the vendors, can help you make a choice. If you're concerned about being ripped off, the tea market in Shanghai is no place for you. No reason to pay 10,000RMB for some Yancha as an introduction. You might even be able to buy samples from many online sellers. Get to it, dude :D
The teas I finally bought were at a much lower price, around 300 for 75g for the Rougui for example. I just do not like to buy tea without trying it first.

I was there for business, so just a little detour to get a first impression. For those purposes the market was ok. Not really afraid of getting ripped off, food and drinks is just something I like to experience in person...
One can easily empathize w/ both positions. Bok can chat & sample w/ tea vendors easily in Taiwan to enjoy the experience and to find teas that fit his taste & budget. If he can duplicate that experience in China, why not choose dancong & wuyi the same way?

Teadoff raises the ? of what is the value of reading the advice & experience of others on Teachat & researching on the web etc., if one will not take it, thati is, buy some of the suggested teas from some of the suggested online vendors?

I enter to state what is already obvious to note that I, as Bok does, like to taste first & lately am buying almost all of my tea that way; however, I also like when after I say I have tasted many and "know" this is a wonderful tea and "know" this is great value for $ and very good; etc., my suggestions are heeded. I am put off when advice is ignored and by that infer that I am not respected for my palate, judgment, intentions or whatever.

Contradictions, subjectivity, huge differences in perspective due to culture, finances, etc. make it difficult to believe that "your cup of tea" could be "my cup of tea". Most people don't even use their name (even first names) and many don't even list where they live. And into this unknown on Teachat has even come one man talking and asking about tea who does not like it and has not drunk it for 2 years. He studied.... It's a challenge with rewards & pleasure, but this thread is about China. cheers

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Apr 26th, '17, 05:42
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Re: China. Travel futures and logs!

by Bok » Apr 26th, '17, 05:42

I might add that the original suggestion to go to Tianshan came from Teachat! Digged out an old thread. Teaurchin was mentione as well, but time was tight to reach out.

That said I had a look on their website and the Teas I know my prices well, the Taiwanese, are a lot more expensive than what I would pay, so if the Mainland teas are similarily marked up, it did definitely not hurt to do little local tasting myself.

Just seems silly to buy tea that is marked up for the Western market when I am in Asia, after all there is no discount when you live just nearby…

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May 17th, '17, 00:44
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Re: China. Travel futures and logs!

by Frisbeehead » May 17th, '17, 00:44

Hey guys, just got back from my two semesters in China. Was there in total for about 9 months and had an amazing experience. Improved my Chinese dramatically, and learned so much about China. I have thousands of pictures, and if anyone is interested I'll post an imgur album with a selected amount of them.

Got two new tea cakes as well. One is a Fuding white tea, and the other is a 2009 Liming "Ba Jiao Ting" bulang shan sheng pu'erh. The 2009 Liming is pretty good, I tried a bunch of different teas in the shop before settling on this one. It was around 300元 if I remember correctly, which is about $44 or so. I'll post a pic of the wrapper soon.

Also bought some 2017 spring Longjing when I was in Hangzhou, riding a bike around the mountainous area west of West Lake (near Longjing village).

Overall, what a great experience. It's a bit odd being back in the USA actually.

EDIT:
Here's the wrappers for the two cakes I bought. I could only find the Liming "Ba Jiao Ting" referenced on Life in a Teacup's site, where they're selling a similar (but not the same) cake. http://www.lifeinteacup.com/puerh, it's near the bottom. It's also 2009, but the wrapper looks different.

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