Do You Think Puerh Tea Will Catch On In The West?

One of the intentionally aged teas, Pu-Erh has a loyal following.


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Aug 9th, '17, 16:54
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Re: Do You Think Puerh Tea Will Catch On In The West?

by entropyembrace » Aug 9th, '17, 16:54

dizzo wrote:
Bok wrote:
dizzo wrote: We are a coffee culture.
Haha, that is so American of you. :lol:

The UK is definitely a tea culture, or it still is, coffee is catching on with speed.
In Germany the North has also more of a tea tradition.
In Russia tea has been the favoured drink for centuries.
Turkey, the Maghreb, the whole middle east, etc. lots of tea culture to be had.

But your doubts are justified, any mainstreaming of tea culture can only be bad for quality tea, demand would outsize supply. With climate change that will only get worse, if not be the end of tea as we know it. But then we will probably have bigger problems than tea…
:lol: Lets just call a spade a spade!
When I think of the idea of tea becoming "mainstream" in America, I think of what we have now, just on a grander scale. Large amounts of low quality teas stuffed into bags that sit on store shelves. I already look at the shelf in my supermarket and wonder how much space is used for cultivating this tea that could be used for high quality material. If the demand for tea grew in the west, quality tea would suffer greatly.
Let them eat cake...I mean...drink 64 oz Sunocos unbranded foodmart extra caffeinated dark roast!
Coffee culture? maybe? Look at how people treat coffee in Canada and United States though. It's nasty black sludge that people drink purely for the stimulating effect and it usually needs to be disguised with milk and flavoured syrups. Shops which do prepare good quality coffee still need to sell milky drinks to get enough customers to stay open. Hipster image based marketing of vanilla lattes subsidizes the serious coffee drinkers.

I don't think most people here will ever bother with anything more complicated than tea bags, and even those that do usually stick to tea flavoured with fruit essential oils and bits of candy.

I'm sure there will always be a small enthusiast community that's interested in real pu-erh tea, but we will always be a minority.

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Aug 10th, '17, 14:43
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Re: Do You Think Puerh Tea Will Catch On In The West?

by teaformeplease » Aug 10th, '17, 14:43

I believe it already has. Any tea consumption stats for the U.S. are skewed because most of the puerh purchases are untrackable. Most sales are handled through online vendors, many of which are overseas (Aliexpress, Yunnan Sourcing, White2Tea, etc.). I work at a Teavana in an urban area of NJ, certainly not a place known for its tea culture. You would not believe how many people actually come in asking for it or who are at least aware of its existence.

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Re: Do You Think Puerh Tea Will Catch On In The West?

by gatmcm » Aug 10th, '17, 18:33

Echoing a bit of what has been said above:
Depends on what is meant by catching on, if it will become well known and widely available, it's possible, especially if it's either in fruity blends or fad weight loss products, we've seen it happen with matcha. Whether or not better matcha became available in the west because of it I'm not sure as I haven't really delved into it myself but it seems some Japanese companies have started selling to the west in this time.

As a hobby as it is discussed in this forum and other enthusiast sites, doubt it, if you look at other hobbies it's the same, do get deeper you need some knowledge and dedication, which the average person just looking for a beverage won't do, be it wine, cigars, coffee, those 'caught on' but the enthusiasts market will always be niche.

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Re: Do You Think Puerh Tea Will Catch On In The West?

by chrl42 » Aug 11th, '17, 06:26

When China becomes a coffee country...perhaps.

Aug 11th, '17, 21:47
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Re: Do You Think Puerh Tea Will Catch On In The West?

by shah82 » Aug 11th, '17, 21:47

It would not take more than a few thousand Westerners with money to burn to pop puerh prices higher for anything not Dayi...

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Aug 13th, '17, 22:00
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Re: Do You Think Puerh Tea Will Catch On In The West?

by janet11 » Aug 13th, '17, 22:00

It's a process of communication. Different types of tea will be common in our life.

Aug 14th, '17, 05:51
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Re: Do You Think Puerh Tea Will Catch On In The West?

by Bok » Aug 14th, '17, 05:51

janet11 wrote: It's a process of communication. Different types of tea will be common in our life.
I think you overestimate people’s willingness to change…
I live in Taiwan and a lot of my expats here bring teabags from back home – In a country with amazing tea! Many people are creatures of habit and can‘t be bothered to deviate from what they know, no matter if it is for the better or not…

It is alos highly unlikely that many people will get over their first tasting of a Puerh, unless they chance on soemone preparing a good quality for them, they will 100% not like it and not look any further, that is only for geeks like us.

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Re: Do You Think Puerh Tea Will Catch On In The West?

by Bok » Aug 14th, '17, 05:52

Forgot to mention – Supermarket teabags, not even from a teashop.

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Re: Do You Think Puerh Tea Will Catch On In The West?

by victoria3 » Aug 14th, '17, 06:02

I remember here in the USA coffee was like colored water, really weak and tastesless, then slowly with international markets opening up and getting into the US mix 30 years later, we have an artisanal coffee roasting explosion. Nothing is out of reach just takes time. As a more recent example, kombucha is now sold by the gallon in many supermarkets, good stuff. High quality single source tea's are just itching to catch up. If a case can be made as to health benefits, culinary delight or as a speciality item then the uptake will be faster. Another example is wine in the US totally exploded in the past 40 years also.

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Re: Do You Think Puerh Tea Will Catch On In The West?

by Rui » Aug 14th, '17, 09:43

Bok wrote: I think you overestimate people’s willingness to change…
I live in Taiwan and a lot of my expats here bring teabags from back home – In a country with amazing tea! Many people are creatures of habit and can‘t be bothered to deviate from what they know, no matter if it is for the better or not…

It is alos highly unlikely that many people will get over their first tasting of a Puerh, unless they chance on soemone preparing a good quality for them, they will 100% not like it and not look any further, that is only for geeks like us.
Unfortunately that is the sad situation working for a French company in London. Only the French are prepared to try different teas and I now have few of them who I share my pu'er teas with.

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Re: Do You Think Puerh Tea Will Catch On In The West?

by chrl42 » Aug 14th, '17, 09:50

victoria3 wrote: I remember here in the USA coffee was like colored water, really weak and tastesless, then slowly with international markets opening up and getting into the US mix 30 years later, we have an artisanal coffee roasting explosion. Nothing is out of reach just takes time. As a more recent example, kombucha is now sold by the gallon in many supermarkets, good stuff. High quality single source tea's are just itching to catch up. If a case can be made as to health benefits, culinary delight or as a speciality item then the uptake will be faster. Another example is wine in the US totally exploded in the past 40 years also.
Tea is quite like analogue, an old culture and that was the main reason for the fall of tea and rising of coffee in Japan and Korea..it takes time and patience..you can do anything with a smart phone..nothing is more painful than preparing tea..anything slow is an old-fashined now..like music, painting, transportation whatever..young people do like fast things..trendy.

Another factor is the price..1.3 billion Chinese started to know Puerh..and the price skyrocketed..and it scared the heck out of old-fashined Korean tea drinkers...Puerh craze in Korea had stopped.

I am really interested in Chinese' consuming trend of tea vs coffee though, one thing I do know is it's not fair to apply Korea/Japan's examples in China. Korea just followed Japan's steps..but China is a whole different country as I'm aware of.

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Re: Do You Think Puerh Tea Will Catch On In The West?

by fdrx » Aug 14th, '17, 10:31

I am wondering why puerh would catch on?
- it's healthy and makes people loose weight? We can quickly realize that it's far from being obvious, and that pesticides is a common issue.
- aftertaste? retro-olfaction magical stuff? coffee beats puerh hands down most of the time, only good puerh can compeat by bringing its subtility and uniqueness... common puerh can deliver great aftertaste too, but then you may have to deal with some harshness, astringency, sourness, just like with bad coffee.
- qi? people don't have the time to focus on that and can buy much more efficient products
- mouthfeel?
- aromas/taste: yes, puerh is unique for sure, can be intoxicating, and cannot be imitated... It can also replace coffee presence/length by bringing a delicacy that coffee roast will always hide. But good puerh is not available for everyone, costs a lot, and you are not even sure of what you will get. Some recipes can seduce the mass, but young pu is not an easy drink. A real great puerh than anyone would find delicious and easy to drink, even if they don't know puerh at all, means high priced bingdao, lbz, yiwu,... which is hard to get as we all know... While you can buy very easily, for example, a pound of blue mountain or whatever other great coffee beans, in the big cities or on internet.

Shu pu is different, but it's probably a little strange for westerners taste buds

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Re: Do You Think Puerh Tea Will Catch On In The West?

by Bok » Aug 14th, '17, 20:39

fdrx wrote: I am wondering why puerh would catch on?
- it's healthy and makes people loose weight? We can quickly realize that it's far from being obvious, and that pesticides is a common issue.
- aftertaste? retro-olfaction magical stuff? coffee beats puerh hands down most of the time, only good puerh can compeat by bringing its subtility and uniqueness... common puerh can deliver great aftertaste too, but then you may have to deal with some harshness, astringency, sourness, just like with bad coffee.
- qi? people don't have the time to focus on that and can buy much more efficient products
- mouthfeel?
- aromas/taste: yes, puerh is unique for sure, can be intoxicating, and cannot be imitated... It can also replace coffee presence/length by bringing a delicacy that coffee roast will always hide. But good puerh is not available for everyone, costs a lot, and you are not even sure of what you will get. Some recipes can seduce the mass, but young pu is not an easy drink. A real great puerh than anyone would find delicious and easy to drink, even if they don't know puerh at all, means high priced bingdao, lbz, yiwu,... which is hard to get as we all know... While you can buy very easily, for example, a pound of blue mountain or whatever other great coffee beans, in the big cities or on internet.

Shu pu is different, but it's probably a little strange for westerners taste buds
That sums it up pretty well I think!
Apart from that I am not sure it is even catching on so to speak in China itself.

People mostly stick to their regional habits. You will have difficulty to find Puerh widely available in Shanghai for example, people drink Longjing there. Other regions prefer Jasmine and flower teas and so on.

Just China being a very large place, a few tea-geeks in China means a few million people, sounds like a lot, but really just a small percentage of the population.

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Re: Do You Think Puerh Tea Will Catch On In The West?

by theredbaron » Aug 17th, '17, 10:15

chrl42 wrote:
Tea is quite like analogue, an old culture and that was the main reason for the fall of tea and rising of coffee in Japan and Korea..it takes time and patience..you can do anything with a smart phone..nothing is more painful than preparing tea..anything slow is an old-fashined now..like music, painting, transportation whatever..young people do like fast things..trendy.

Another factor is the price..1.3 billion Chinese started to know Puerh..and the price skyrocketed..and it scared the heck out of old-fashined Korean tea drinkers...Puerh craze in Korea had stopped.

I am really interested in Chinese' consuming trend of tea vs coffee though, one thing I do know is it's not fair to apply Korea/Japan's examples in China. Korea just followed Japan's steps..but China is a whole different country as I'm aware of.

One should not forget that a more serious pursuit of tea and tea culture is also not really mainstream in China and overseas Chinese populations. While far more widely known, naturally, that tea does not just come from tea bags, and that it indeed is a very cultured occupation - only a minority does indeed study tea.
So, yes, Chinese tea, including Pu Erh has over the last 20 years or so been far more available and known in the west than it was before, it will never be mainstream. To much effort is involved in preparation, purchasing and studying that it will get only a comparatvely small number of people interested.
Fortunately, otherwise good tea would be very soon unobtanium.

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Re: Do You Think Puerh Tea Will Catch On In The West?

by chrl42 » Aug 18th, '17, 09:45

theredbaron wrote:
chrl42 wrote:
Tea is quite like analogue, an old culture and that was the main reason for the fall of tea and rising of coffee in Japan and Korea..it takes time and patience..you can do anything with a smart phone..nothing is more painful than preparing tea..anything slow is an old-fashined now..like music, painting, transportation whatever..young people do like fast things..trendy.

Another factor is the price..1.3 billion Chinese started to know Puerh..and the price skyrocketed..and it scared the heck out of old-fashined Korean tea drinkers...Puerh craze in Korea had stopped.

I am really interested in Chinese' consuming trend of tea vs coffee though, one thing I do know is it's not fair to apply Korea/Japan's examples in China. Korea just followed Japan's steps..but China is a whole different country as I'm aware of.

One should not forget that a more serious pursuit of tea and tea culture is also not really mainstream in China and overseas Chinese populations. While far more widely known, naturally, that tea does not just come from tea bags, and that it indeed is a very cultured occupation - only a minority does indeed study tea.
So, yes, Chinese tea, including Pu Erh has over the last 20 years or so been far more available and known in the west than it was before, it will never be mainstream. To much effort is involved in preparation, purchasing and studying that it will get only a comparatvely small number of people interested.
Fortunately, otherwise good tea would be very soon unobtanium.
I don't think so, the demand for LBZ, Da Hong Pao and such teas is quite crazy here...go to Beijing Maliandao, Guangzhou Fangcun..you will see there are over a thousand tea shops here and there..how can you call that 'a minority'? :roll: I've felt only a minorilty myself while living in America and Korea as a tea drinker...never got that feeling in China, at all.

Coffee doesn't replace tea in China..young Chinese still think a cup of Starbucks to be darn pricey....but my co-workers know how to spend $$ for 50g of DHP (some think DHP is a black tea.. :mrgreen: )

My point is there are complicated issues and matters that make China not quite same as Japan/Korea...it's quite common to see rich young Chinese hanging around in fancy tea rooms, discussing about LBZ, Yixing, Indian red woods or kyara...you could say high-class, but not minority.

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