Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Trying to Lower Your Standards In Puerh Is Not Easy These Days

This year I essentially entered into an exercise of lowering my puerh tastes.  I needed to restock puerh which, I found out, has gotten quite expensive during the many years I was away from the puerh scene.  At first, I tried to just restock some of the cakes that I have consumed but they were either worth billions and zillions of dollars or were no longer on the market or turned out to be waning with age.  I managed to nab some nice puerh that I missed out on way back in 2006 but even that has managed to increase 30% in only 6 months!

Basically, I part consciously and part unwillingly, employed the following two techniques with the end goal of lowering my tastes.  First, I went in search of my old friends, semiaged factory puerh.  Secondly, I did that from those old sketchy western puerh vendors (here and here) that were remnants of a time when vendors would actually stock questionable puerh.

At first, I thought I did pretty good at lowering my standards but then a few things happened that kind of blew that up…

First, I noticed that some of that dingy, lowly, but so awesomely delicious, factory teas are giving me some sketchy pesticide symptoms that, although often super super subtle, I am finding them harder to ignore these days.  As a result, I only slum it once in a while with the most questionable cakes.

Secondly, my wife likes puerh, we drink together every morning, and she simply won’t drink puerh under a certain standard.  I may be able to lower my own standard, but my wife’s is totally out of my control!

Thirdly, I am getting more concerned about what factory quality puerh can do to one’s health.  This is especially true when my family is consuming it (my whole family prefers puerh).  My health is one thing, my family’s is another.

Fourthly, I am finding myself continuing to drink from my dwindling stash of puerh I had amassed from 10 years ago as a result.


In the end I am content with having even more daily drinkers around- they are what they are.  This much, I knew when I started my search.   Especially at work where 1- I often have little time to mindfully drink puerh the way I used to 2- I crave the vigor of factory qi especially as it seems to harmoniously pair with my bustling work environment and 3- I am not sharing with loved ones when in ones place of work.  This is where a lot of these factory purchases have ended up and I am enjoying them, a lot in this environment.

I hope to prepare a drinking report of these everyday drinkers which I have accumulated over the past year soon.

From sampling some of 2017, I would guess, from what I tired, that you are paying around 3-4 times more for the same level of quality you would get in 2007 and remember those prices were just before the puerh bubble burst.  If there are any long term puerh drinkers out there, would you say that estimate is about right?

With a bunch of factory puerh everyday drinkers accumulated, I hope to change gears a bit and focus more on some higher quality puerh.

I hope that you will join me in this direction on the blog in the coming year?

Much Peace


Peter said...

hello Matt,

Have you had a look at Kingteamall lately? I have bought quite a bit of tea from him and I am very impressed. His prices seem well below market and the dry Guangdong storage is perfect. He is also super nice and helpful. You can stock up on Xiaguan and Dayi and avoid the rough stuff.


Matt said...


I have been considering an order in the coming year. He really does have lots of inventory. Thanks for your recommendation and comments on storage. Good to know.


Anonymous said...

I had the 2010 xiaguan zodiac iron cake from him. And im not sure if it was real xiaguan. For a iron cake the compression was way to weak. And the tea was like tea~bag material.

Matt said...

Xiaguan whiskey,

I value your honest opinion on KingTeaMall because there are a lot of mixed reviews on this vendor out there. Also they have had some issues with their site as well over the last year. No one is arguing that he is super nice and helpful- everyone can agree on that. Until I try him out myself I will give him the benefit of the doubt.

Around 2009ish xiaguan started to produce some not as iron pressed as before bings.

See review here:


And here:


Possiably your cake is just one of these?


Anonymous said...

Might be possible. But i could break the iron cake apart with my fingers... i got a few non iron 8613 from 2005 that are alot harder compressed. 😅

Would like to dry some dayi Tea from him that is not available at YS

shah8 said...

I just tried a Kingmall version of An Xiang shu last night. It was severely damaged by storage. The qi and mouthfeel were as good as mine, but the flavor and aroma was much emptier than it should be.

And for Mattcha's general need, he really shouldn't be looking anywhere else other than TW auctions. So long as you're not doing Dayi or some other famous teas, you can get *very* reasonably prices, especially for drinkers. Some people are buying unwrapped '90's jincha for their basic aged tea drinkers, and it's like $30 or less. The big issue with TW auction is that shipping and handling is punitive in cost.

Matt said...

Xiaguan whisky,

Well, there is certainly lots and lots available to try. Feel free to let us know your evaluation if you put a Dayi order through.


Well, yeah, if these things are stored too humid that's what could be expected I suppose. I already know you understand the benefits of dry storage on something like aroma and especially higher notes.

I have never heard of these auctions until you cracked the lid on these things on TeaDB months back. I hope to try my first shot at them sometime this year. Many thanks for opening this door up to people who were in the dark about it (full on bow).


Matt said...


For those following the conversation...

Shah8 is referencing a very famous Menghai Factory production, the 2007 Dayi An Xiang Shu.

He is comparing the storage of the KingTeaMall version here:


See his initial assessment of this tea presumably from his own storage in the comment section (as well as Hobbes of Half-Dipper) here: