Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Energy of Old Teas

The dark colors of this 30 year old loose puerh tea displays the sign of age but hidden from sight lies a deeper and more profound transformation. The energy of old tea is soft and nurturing whilst being expansive and powerful.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Tea and Consent


The Thames Valley Police (UK) recently uploaded this creative animated video to tackle the issue of sexual consent by comparing it to the well known British pastime of drinking tea. The video is cleverly made, being entertaining and both funny and clear in its message.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

A Word of Caution – Tea Samples

In the previous entry “It's Good to Sample” I touched on the benefits of tea samples. To ensure that both sides are covered and a more complete picture is presented, in this entry I will offer some of the drawbacks and the negative aspect of samples.

Some of the really bad tea samples I have encountered have been quite horrendous. Tea can easily absorb odors and I have encountered foreign smells of plastic, chemicals and a variety of unpleasantness in the dried leaves. I have stopped getting surprised by what I find in my tea samples. The list including insects, hair, cigarette butts have all made their appearances. – This is not to say these problems won’t surface when placing a larger order of teacakes and tongs but it should be noted that many shops have separate first and secondary storage. The higher risk associated with samples is that some shops can be rather careless when it comes to their secondary storage of tea and this can compromise their tea samples.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

It's Good to Sample

 
A collection of samples from a time when I was exploring some online offerings.

Samples can be used to serve many purposes with the most common function being to judge the quality of a tea for determining a purchase. To take this further, for puerh enthusiasts who are interested in the study and exploration of puerh tea sampling provides a cost effective and logistically astute way to widen your experiences and scout the vast puerh landscape. Sampling allows the avid tea drinker to probe the different categories of puerh tea and survey how the landscape can change over time without having to allocate substantial investment to acquire tea in a larger quantity.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Food Pairings – Lotus Seed Mooncake w/ Shui Hsien Tea

The packaging of Chinese mooncake gets more surreal with each passing year as the business becomes more and more competitive and each brand competes to standout. The above is from the Shangri La Restaurant, a remaining pack from last month’s Mooncake Festival.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Natural Fermentation – Amla in a Tea Brine Solution Part 2

 
Cured meat with pickled Amla and some crackers.

I am happy and relieved to report that the outcome of the pickled Amla did not go down the drain. The process of natural fermentation progressed very smoothly without any UFOs (unidentified floating objects) appearing and igniting my imagination for the worst. The jarringly sour, bitter and astringent character present in the fresh fruit has been totally transformed. These little pickled fruits remind me a lot of traditional salted olives and this is how I have been eating them.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

A Comparative Pictorial of Multi-Year EOT Bulang (2009-2012) - Part 2/2

Measuring out 2g of tea in preparation for a comparative tasting. From left to right EOT Bulangs 2012, 2011, 2010 and 2009. The teas are arranged from the youngest to the oldest so that the tastings can best capture the journey of age.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

A Comparative Pictorial of Multi-Year EOT Bulang (2009-2012) - Part 1/2

The range of EOT Bulangs from 2009 to 2012. From left to right is a progression of the oldest to the youngest teacake.

Taking the opportunity to reconnect with a few Essence of Tea (EOT) teacakes in my collection, the popular range of EOT Bulang from 2009 to 2012 needs little introduction for the seasoned tea drinker. The annual pressing of EOT Bulang is perhaps the most discussed and reviewed tea on the Internet to come out from this premium vendor. A lot have been written about the EOT Bulang from multi years and for those looking to dig deeper I will leave you in the good hands of Google.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

2009 Essence of Tea Bulang (Repost)

Looking back over your previous notes before proceeding to revisit a tea allows you to make a more comprehensive comparison. It is an approach that I personally find has helped me advance my education on the development and journey of puerh tea as it evolves. Coincidentally the last time I enjoyed a session with the 2009 Essence of Tea (EOT) Bulang also happened to be at a time I posted my experience on Teachat. Below is an entry I dug up from Teachat at the beginning of the year for a repost. I share my notes here as a prelude to the next entry on “A Comparative Pictorial of Multi-Year Essence of Tea Bulang”.

Repost from Teachat (January 2015)

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Introduction to Puerh Tea

With much general information on puerh tea already available on the Internet it does not motivate me to provide more repetitive content. However seeing that my humble blog attracts newcomers as well as the seasoned drinker, I realized that a short introduction is in order. At the very least my dear readers who have started to look upon a puerh teacake with new eyes whilst licking their lips deserve to know what they are getting themselves into. >> Introduction

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Natural Fermentation – Amla in a Tea Brine Solution Part I

Embarking on a new adventure can bring new thrills and excitement. This is how I feel about this particular fermentation project. It is the first time that I will be attempting to use freshly brewed tea to naturally ferment food and perhaps create a healthy probiotic tonic as a bonus. Unlike kombucha I will be attempting to ferment freshly brewed tea with only salt combined with a vegetable or fruit. If you have done something similar I would dearly love to hear from you. It is not only to share in the experience but to have the comfort of knowing that there are others perfectly sane, normal and intuitive people who commonly carry out this activity :)

Amla packs a strong punch in taste. The fruit is jarringly sour, bitter and astringent to the point of bringing puckered faces to the newly initiated.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Chinese Dim Sum w/ 2011 Jingmai Maocha

In my opinion Chefman is one of the top dim sum restaurants in Bangkok. They use quality ingredients, provide great service (although this can sometimes be inconsistent) and are most accommodating towards customers who wish to bring their own stash of dry leaves for enjoyment.

Chinese dim sum (or yum cha in Cantonese) consists of small dishes of mainly bite size steamed dumplings and buns, bake pastries and deep fried snacks made with an assortment of savory meats, seafood and sweet fillings. It is a delightful and creative presentation of food that focuses the enjoyment on both the taste and texture of food. A traditional dim sum meal cannot be complete without a steaming pot of Chinese tea. It is a classic match.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Revisiting the 2007 Puerh Market Crash

 

2007 was a turbulent year for those involved in puerh tea, especially tea businesses that were heavily invested. After a decade of escalating prices the momentum driving the value of puerh tea would peak during the spring of 2007. However the high prices could not hold and as the price for puerh tea tumbled, the first crash of the modern day puerh market was at hand. Fueled by heavy speculation and in part the wave of euphoria generated by the Chinese national media the price of puerh tea was at an all time high and was no longer sustainable without a significant correction. Furthermore the realization that the quality of puerh tea was increasingly being compromised for bigger profits by producers had begun to greatly dampen the euphoria of puerh tea leading up to 2007. A lack of confidence in new products whereby quality was sacrificed for quantity increasingly deterred buyers and investments. By mid-2007 the puerh tea market had crashed. As prices plunged to deeper depths for the reminder of the year many tea businesses that had gambled on escalating prices would be forced to close their doors.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Bomb Blast in Bangkok, Thailand

Front page, Thai newspaper Daily News

A sad beginning to the week as a bomb exploded late Monday evening at 1900pm (local time) on 17 August 2015 in front of the Erawan Shrine at Ratchaprasong intersection. The blast left at least 20 dead and more than 125 injured.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Natural Fermentation – The Pickled Cucumber

For many people I know including myself at times “maintaining health” is one of the most overlooked aspects in everyday life. We live in a fast paced world, the demands are many and the distractions are endless. We are simply too busy that good health is habitually taken for granted and undervalued. It is only when under painful or extreme adversity caused by terrible illness that the true value of good health emerges. It is during those dark days that all the wealth in the world will appear insignificant by comparison to simply alleviating relief and regaining the freedom of our physical and mental normalcy. Good health allows us to better appreciate all the things around us including the tea we drink. Good health provides us with the capacity to live a fuller life adding color and joy to our journey through life. With more research pointing to the importance of maintaining a healthy gut flora (Ref 80% of our immune system is in our gastrointestinal (GI) tract), this is where I will begin with the humble pickled cucumber.

In my books what you see before you is a superfood awaiting transformation (... think Clark Kent and Superman). The above picture show freshly prepared cucumbers  (w/ dill and red peppers) immersed in a salt brine solution awaiting natural fermentation to take place. By selecting the most natural ingredients available, you create an environment for natural bacteria and beneficial microbes to thrive. Natural fermentation does not require heating or pasteurization and is kept free from artificial preservatives in order to maximize the benefits. In this case only salt, water and fresh cucumbers make up the essential ingredients.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Food Pairings – Stewed Duck w/ 2001 Xiaguan Toucha

 
Don Wai riverside market offers great food and a wonderful ambiance. One of the oldest and most popular raft restaurant situated by the river is Ped Palo Nai Nub which translates to "Mr Nub's Stewed Duck with Chinese Blended Spices".

I love the uniqueness and energy to be found at a local Thai market. Each market has its own personality that becomes all the more lively during peak hours when the buzz of activity from the interactions of excited shoppers, sellers and other market forces drum up to a crescendo. For diversity, excitement, unforeseen happenings and sheer entertainment the local market beats the standard uniformity of walking the straight and tidy aisles of a supermarket hands down.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Age Da Hong Pao


Da Hong Pao is a famous oolong tea that originates from the beautiful and scenic Wuyi Mountains in Fujian Province, China.

In the category of age tea, despite there being many different types of tea there exist similarities that define this unique group of tea. To understand the nature of age tea and how these teas develop with time a tea drinker must drink widely. Having covered age puerh and old versions of Liu An and Fu tea in this entry I present the first age oolong - Da Hong Pao. The heavy roast employed in the production of Da Hong Pao makes this tea a good candidate for aging. I find that time can enhance a young Da Hong Pao by softening the strong elements of the newly roasted tea. The fire elements, astringency and stiffness of the new tea will settle with time and the character of the tea will open up to greater complexity. An age Da Hong Pao can develop smoother and more rounded characters, increasing in sweetness and becoming more viscous when brewed.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Brewing Tea

 

Brewing tea is an art involving good coordination, precise timing and a keen sense of observation. For serious tea drinkers it is very important to know how to brew tea well. The reason is simple. You can have the best tea leaves and use the best water in the world and end up with the worst cup of tea. Each individual tea has its own ideal brewing parameters to bring out its best characteristics and personality.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Food Pairings - Banana Honey Toast w/ Yiwu Tea

 
i) Simply eye catching! The ebene vegetable activated carbon sourdough by Maison Jean Philippe. ii) Baked and ready to be served.

Maison Jean Philippe is arguably the best bread maker in Bangkok. The breads are of excellent quality and are known for having a hard crust whilst being soft and elastic on the inside. A chunky slice provides an excellent base for which to spread a thick layer of butter to be topped by bananas and followed by a generous drizzle of honey. Bake until the banana absorbs the butter and honey and takes on a custard consistency. The flavor of the cooked banana infused with butter and honey pairs very well with the signature toffee and caramel (ish) character of age Yiwu tea.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Mixed Drinks - Ripe Puerh Tea w/ Honey

Whilst I am a purist at heart, in life there are exceptions and the combination of ripe puerh tea and honey (+ milk is optional) is so delicious and comforting I will happily accept a cup to slowly sip and savor. If you have a sweet tooth and you enjoy ripe puerh tea I highly recommend giving this a try. Additionally it is a great way to introduce ripe puerh to new tea drinkers. The honey sweetness provides a familiar note that most people can relate to and makes ripe puerh tea much more approachable for the uninitiated.

Brewing a cup of ripe puerh tea from an age Gong Ting teacake. The pollen from the honey gives the tea an orange hue. Be sure to brew the tea stronger if you decide to add milk.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

A Comparative Pictorial of Age - Huang Pian

 
 L: 2001 Centuries Old Teacake from Longyuan Factory, R: 2013 Chawangpu Jingmai Gu Shu Huang Pian (200g)

Huang pian are tea leaves that are picked out during the processing of puerh tea. These consist of broken leaves, yellow leaves, leaves that are too big or were not processed properly. Huang pian are generally judged to be inferior leaves as they tend to be considerably less potent and complex when compared to the tender leaves that make up premium maocha. That said, huang pian can still offer a fine cup of tea and at an affordable price.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Food Pairings – Shellfish Omelet w/ Ripe Puerh Tea


The name of the Thai food stall Nai Mong Hoi Thod translates to "Mr Mong's Fried Shellfish". The signature dishes are the oyster omelet (middle) and the mussel omelet (right). For those with an eye for detail you may notice my blue thermo in the background. A hot steaming cup of ripe puerh tea together with Mr Mong's fried shellfish omelets is a match made in heaven!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Teapot Basics - Test your Clay

 This is my favorite teapot for age puerh tea. The wall of the teapot is thick giving it extra weight and a heaviness that is different from normal teapots. This teapot is excellent at maintaining high temperature when needed and the porous clay captures the tea fragrance little by little each time it is used. I have been using this teapot for around 5 years and it is my impression that the tea I brew with this teapot is softer and has a richer character than my other teapots.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Food Pairing – Fruits and Puerh Tea (Be Aware, Be Warned)

Thailand produces exceptional fruits. The above picture shows but a fraction of the bounty of local fruits that are available in a given year. These wonderful summer fruits are a pleasure to enjoy but I would advise not together with puerh tea.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Piecing Together The Big Picture


Like a jigsaw puzzle each tea is a puzzle waiting to be put together. Each piece may be formed from a memory or a moment of revelation that comes from a tea session, discussion or research. To complete your jigsaw puzzle you will need to collect all the pieces you seek and put them together.

There is something special about drinking the same tea for over 10 years. It changes the way you look at tea. Such a journey provides a familiarity and time for reflection and thought that allows you to develop new dimensions, deeper perceptions and appreciation for the tea you have. Each tea session in the moment feels unique but over time becomes distant memories. The real treasure lays in the infinite wisdom accumulated at the end of the journey when you have piece by piece put together and created for yourself what I like to call - The Big Picture.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

A Comparative Pictorial of Age - 2004 Premium White Puerh Tea

This picture of the 2004 Premium White Puerh Tea was taken in 2007.

In the past few weeks I have been revisiting this interesting genre of white puerh tea. Having not brewed white puerh tea for some time it took me a few sessions to recalibrate the ideal temperature and brewing time to optimize the preparation of the brew to my satisfaction. I use boiling hot water that is left to cool for a few minutes together with a yixing teapot. 8g to approx 100ml with 1 rinse my brewing time varies from 20 to 40 seconds for initial steeps. Adjustments to higher temperatures and longer steeping times come after the initial 4 to 5 steeps.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

1990s Ying Kee (Old Tin Carton)

This tea was given to me by a friend over the weekend. It is an old tin carton containing loose leaf puerh tea from Ying Kee Tea House based in Hong Kong. The tea has been kept for what is believed to be well over 10 years… its history, original ownership, date of purchased, etc long forgotten with the passage of time. As my friend has a preference for other types of tea I became the fortunate recipient of this tea.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Food Pairings – Tinned Sardines in EVOO with White Puerh Tea

A simple man’s adaptation of the gastronomical delights of pairing fish and white wine. Here I humbly present tinned sardines and white puerh tea.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Influence of Weather on Tea – Dark Sky and Heavy Rain

A dark sky with clouds and the onset of a thunderstorm does not necessary have to be all doom and gloom. It can provide a perfect setting to enjoy aged and wet stored puerh tea.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Broadening Our Experiences with the Aging Process

The magical influence of time in connection to the aging process is a topic that has long captivated me. For those who share the same interest and have the passion and drive to willingly pursue information and knowledge I would suggest considering additional avenues to broaden your experiences. The process of aging and its benefits extend far beyond the subject of tea. It covers various items of food and drink that have become a part of human consumption for many centuries from cheese, to pickled vegetables, cured meats, vinegar, soy sauce and a great assortment of alcoholic beverages. The aging process forms an integral part of our relationship with food, satisfying a need within our bodies beyond fresh produce.

i) Cheddar from Hookscheese, aged for 20 years, ii) Jamón Ibérico Bellota Gran Reserva, aged for 64 months, iii) Famous Yuan soy sauce from Hong Kong, aged for 1 year. iv) Traditionally made kimchi ripened in clay jars buried in the earth

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

1980s Bamboo Wrapped Melon - NA


This well aged puerh melon is estimated to be from the 1980s. The tea comes in a simple bamboo tube consisting of 5 pieces, bare and unadorned by labels. For an unlabeled puerh tea there is no hype, no marketing and no brand premium. As a result such a tea can be good value, adding a little excitement and mystery to our tea sessions. However at the same time unlabeled puerh can be a risky proposition for buyers as the quality of the tea greatly varies and is an easy way to pass off fake tea by dishonest merchants. With no written information to clearly reveal the production and origins of the tea an unlabeled tea is judged solely on the quality of the tea leaves and our experience from drinking them.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

1997 Loose Leaf (Dry Storage)

This 1997 loose leaf is an intriguing puerh tea. What caught my attention was that this tea represents one of the few very clean dry stored puerh teas of the 1990s going against the trend of traditional (wet) storage which was the general norm at the time. The character of this tea reminds me of the famous Menghai 88 Qingbing dry stored teacake. It is my belief that the combination of dry storage and leaf material made to the standard of Menghai Tea Factory are key contributing factors to this resemblance.

 Earthenware containers are slightly porous and make great containers for storing and aging puerh tea.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

1990s Menghai Green Label

For a long time I drank tea rather indiscriminately without understanding how to optimize the benefits of this wonderful drink to match the lifestyle and constitution of my body. After encountering my own health challenges and improving my lifestyle I became very interested in health and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), often testing ideas by conducting self experimentations. I have become more in tune with my body since. I have learned to listen to my body through simple observations based on my body’s reactions throughout the day and especially during times when I am consuming food. As a tea enthusiast I enjoy drinking tea on a daily basis and I am always keen to observe how my body reacts to a certain tea under different conditions and environments. These observations have led me to conclude that I have a Yin constitution. Generally this means that I have a cold body type and I need to limit my consumptions of cold foods and eat more warm foods.

 The 1990s Menghai Green Label being both fermented (under mild wet storage conditions) and aged possess a warming nature.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

1990s Menghai Orange Label (HK Private Commission)

 

Hong Kong is known as one of the four Asian Tigers (the others being Taiwan, Singapore and South Korea). The rapid growth and wealth of this port city made Hong Kong one of the wealthiest Asian cities in the nineties and remains so to this day. This private tea production made for the Hong Kong market highlights the important role Hong Kong played as a consumer and trader of puerh tea. To satisfy the local taste and preference this batch of raw teacake was aged under HK traditional (wet) storage.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

1970s Fuzhuan Brick (People’s Unification Tea)

Under the reign of Chairman Mao Zedong and the Communist Party private ownership of tea factories became illegal. This hefty 1970s Fuzhuan tea (aka Fu brick tea) from Sichuan Province, Guanxi weighing 3kg represents a united co-operative of the people under a socialist economy. The socialist approach is based on production for use and to satisfy the basic demands and needs of the people for all the people. Unlike capitalism the basis of production is not for profit and therefore not to cater for special groups of consumers with the wealth to make purchases in order to accumulate capital. This tea is symbolic of the belief and idealism at the time and was produced by the people and for the people under the management of the Chinese government.

At the time the new and united nation of “The People’s Republic of China” under Chairman Mao would be marked by rapid changes and grandiose projects that would be pushed by strong idealism. The sense of togetherness and unity that was being projected by the government during this period of time was essential to spread and generate acceptance for government endeavors. The label for this Fuzhuan tea “People’s Unification Tea” represents one of many avenues that would be used by the government to communicate and impact social change and people’s thinking through propaganda.- Note the similar style and design of the tea label to the propaganda posters under Chairman Mao's Era here and here.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

1950s Liu An Sun Yishun

The story of Liu An tea is not well known. For this reason the amazing quality of older Liu An vintages have largely gone unnoticed until recently. The pre1950s era remains the pinnacle for Liu An appreciation when this little basket of tea leaves weighing approx. 600g was enjoyed by the Chinese upper class and considered amongst the top teas in China. 

This early 1950s Liu An Sun Yishun represents the last batches of Liu An tea from an old era that was almost permanently erased from history under the reforms of Communism. This tea is symbolic of the wealth, refinery and pursuit for excellence that the upper class in China enjoyed under the Nationalist Government and capitalism. The production of Liu An tea during this time period was catered mainly to the wealthy and as a result the quality of the tea was made to a very high standard. This resulted in a highly meticulous and labor intensive production that is evident today in the quality and elegance of the brew and the astonishing uniformity of the leaves in shape and size that are compressed in these baskets.

Friday, February 13, 2015

The Reign of Chairman Mao Zedong (1949-1976) - Part2/2

20th Century Chinese History - Article 2 >> go to Main Page

3) The Cultural Revolution (1966-76)
 Culture must serve workers, peasants and soldiers, must serve proletarian politics

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The Reign of Chairman Mao Zedong (1949-1976) - Part1/2

20th Century Chinese History - Article 2 >> go to Main Page

Chairman Mao Zedong aka Freedom Fighter, Great Leader, Visionary, Hero, Legend, God. Whilst all this is true the period that Chairman Mao reigned from 1949 to 1976 as the undisputed leader of China was a time of immense upheaval, turmoil, great suffering and an unprecedented loss of lives. The reign of Chairman Mao will perpetually be remembered under three key events; 1) Class Warfare, 2) The Great Leap Forward and the Great Famine, 3) The Cultural Revolution and this is where we will focus our attention.

1) Class Warfare (Early 1950s)
The working class must rule everything

Friday, February 6, 2015

The Chinese Civil War (1927-1949)

20th Century Chinese History - Article 1 >> go to Main Page

The year 1927 was the start of the Chinese Civil War between the Nationalists Kuomintang (KMT) and the Communist Party of China (CPC). Each political party had different ideologies on which to govern the country but the two that most stood out were capitalism and communism as each party represented a different class of society. Early in the war the Kuomintang under Chiang Kai-shek was expected to crush the People's Liberation Army (PLA) under the Communist Party. At the time the Nationalists were the legal government of China and held superior advantages in numbers and resources with foreign aid coming from America. However plagued by bureaucratic inefficiency and corruption the war dragged on for decades and was interrupted by the Japanese invasion during World War II before resuming.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Chairman Mao & The Communist Party - A History Recorded by 2 Teas

i) Sailing the seas depends on the helmsman, waging revolution depends on Mao Zedong, ii) 1970s Fu Brick, People’s Unification Tea from the time of Chairman Mao’s Cultural Revolution, iii) 1950s Liu An Sun Yishun

A part of the allure of old teas is the period of time and history that they represent. Each tea has a story to tell and the 2 old teas that I will be reviewing this month are no different. Both teas come from a time of immense upheaval and unrest that coincides with the rise of Chairman Mao Zedong and the rule of the Communist Party of China. The contrasting qualities of the 2 old teas in many ways mirror the two prominent political parties (Kuomintang, KMT and Communist Party of China, CPC) at the time. The turn of events would cause each to take two very different paths.

Friday, January 30, 2015

The Tea Market Series (In China) – Article 3 Part 2/2

The Misrepresentation of Age in Puerh Tea - Old Tricks Become More Refined
The misrepresentation of age for puerh tea is a common occurrence. It is a scam initiated by dishonest merchants and spread by those who are unawares. The lack of information and labeling on older teas (especially individual teacakes) from pre 2005 productions makes it difficult for consumers to easily identify the real age of tea. All too frequently merchants are happy to come in and make up those numbers to their advantage by inflating the age of the tea.

During the first wave of the puerh boom in the early 2000s many inexperienced and naïve Chinese buyers came on to the scene. The Chinese people were attracted by the national euphoria that surrounded puerh tea. Puerh was widely promoted as a national heritage and often presented with connotations as being the best Chinese tea. Many people who had previously no interest in puerh tea became caught up in the hype and bought blindly. There was such little knowledge on the part of buyers that dishonest merchants could blatantly pass off a newly produced ripe puerh tea as a precious 30 year old aged raw tea. This simple scam worked amazingly well for a number of years such was the lack of knowledge amongst new buyers during those early years.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

2003 Chienyun Red Dayi Ripe (Menghai Tea Factory) - NA


The Menghai Tea Factory is the standard bearer for ripe puerh tea. Menghai is one of two factories that pioneered the production of ripe puerh and first introduced the tea to the market in the early 1970s. Over the decades Menghai Tea Factory have established a reputation for producing reliable to exceptional aged vintages of quality ripe puerh. Since the start of their operations Menghai remains the biggest and most reputable factory in China and internationally for ripe puerh tea.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Tea Market Series (In China) – Article 3 Part1/2

Tricks of the Trade 
Tea leaves harvested from ancient trees are multiple times more valuable than those picked from modern plantations. The price for the tea leaves are then further elevated based on which famous region they are sourced, Lao Banzhang and Yiwu make up some of the most in demand locations. Such teas command high prices and are attractive to scammers as they can bring in a lot of profits. It is this reason you will find a multitude of fake and fraudulent teas with associations of being big tree material and/or from Lao Banzhang or Yiwu.

When you visit China’s tea market it is important to realize that for a famous regional puerh tea like Lao Banzhang* the estimated annual spring production is 10 tons but roughly 5000 tons of tea is sold in China’s tea market under this description. Whether most of the tea sold is fake and/or heavily blended with cheaper raw materials from elsewhere this is a business practice that is rife throughout China. Big profits are made this way by both dishonest merchants and tea producers who apply this strategy to all teas that command a meaningful enough price.