Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Bargain Basement Clear-Out Puerh at Awazon

After loading up on mainly semiaged Lincang puerh from Shuangjiang Mengku Factory purchased at Yunnan Sourcing (here, here, and here).  I turned my attention to an often overlooked puerh tea vendor that I have never ordered from before, Awazon (not to be confused with Amazon).  At first I was quite surprised at what I had found there.  I noticed that there were some obvious deals to be had with some of their factory puerh offerings.

I did a bit of internet research and found out that there are very few reviews of Awazon puerh.  Most of what can be found is on TeaChat and Steepster and is not very favorable for the teas but the service and shipping were heavily praised.  This understandably turned many away from this vendor in the past.

However upon looking through Awazon’s selection of puerh I noticed a few cheap factory bings that were given positive reviews by some of the old school puerh bloggers years and years ago.  Also I noticed that they have a large selection of 2004-2008 sheng puerh, just what I’m searching for!

So I place an order of these cakes, a few others that are obvious deals, and a few others that I am just curious about.  It turns out that out of the seven puerh tea cakes I ordered, 4 are the last cakes or sell out within a day or so after ordering (I can’t tell because they don’t show how many are in stock), 2 are not very drinkable right now, and 1 I enjoy and reorder.

Because the first order went surprisingly well I order 5 more different sampler cakes in the reorder. Three out of those 5 are seeming the last ones.

At that point, I feel like something strange is happening here.  It feels a lot like Awazon is simply clearing out their inventory.  7 out of 13 puerh that I ordered are last cakes.  It seems like they are maybe selling off their own last cakes that they were holding on to or maybe it is just a coincidence and their inventory was not that deep to begin with but it is really really odd.  And the price of the puerh seems at the low end of the puerh’s actual value.  Have you ever been to a clearance sale that is just filled with last items that the seller just marks down to get rid of them (or in this case just doesn’t raise the price in years)?  It sort of feels like this is what is happening at Awazon.

It looks like Awazon is long past its prime and has little stock left.  It seems like a business of just selling off remaining stock without engaging too much in restocking new young puerh.  I think the increase of puerh prices throughout the years may have impacted the business model of Awazon which is focused mainly on affordable puerh.  Its just a guess but its plausible given my ordering history with them.

The puerh tea for sale at Awazon is a real mind field to navigate, probably another reason it isn’t frequented by Westerners.  First you have to watch out for all the autumn pressings, there are tons of that stuff on Awazon.  Almost all of their cakes are Autumn and some them say they are spring but are actually Autumn as well!  Also because many of the cakes are simply priced so low and are still available you have to expect that these are not the cream of the crop- those ones are long gone.  Check expectations reasonably.  But even worse is the fact that you just know that there will be some cakes in there that are just undrinkable.  So the whole exercise of buying some of these Awazon cakes is a gamble at best.

But when you have very little puerh in stock and you are just looking for some everyday drinkers the risk seems calculated.  So far I think I have done quite well in this gambling act which has left me with an interesting selection of decent, dry Kunming stored, affordable, everyday drinkers.

Expect a thorough reporting in the coming weeks and months.  Who knows there might even be some goodies left for you when I’m done?


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