Saturday, June 9, 2018
You Need Experience: Authenticating a Stack of 1970s Zhongcha Guang Yun Gong Bings
First, I must say, it is not super easy to confirm this puerh’s authenticity. There are a few reasons for this. But on a personal level, I have never ever tried this famous production before. I have had a sizable amount of puerh from the 70s as well as some cakes of my own to base my judgement but have never tried this unique series before. This immediately puts me at a disadvantage in authenticating the vintage of this “1970s Zhongcha Guang Yun Gong Bing”.
Personal experience with old tea, lots of experience, is very important in validating the presumed age of any aged puerh you might encounter. This is why people who drink puerh will always recommend sampling a wide amount of puerh- anything from old stuff to new stuff to puerh with different storage and shu and sheng. If you have a wide experience with lots of puerh, you are more confident in drawing your own educated conclusions about the information the vendor supplies about a given tea.
If you have no experience with old, aged puerh then how will you even know what it is? You won’t. You will be at the whims of what others tell you it is, which, in the world of puerh, is a dangerous place to be. And there is no way you would even be able to find a treasure like these. You never know… that 1970s puerh could be at your corner store or in your local Chinatown and you wouldn’t even know it!
The first step in validating an old puerh is to rely on your own past experiences with puerh of that production and age and storage. As I stated before, I have no experience with the famous Guang Yun Gong Bing series. I have only enough experience to visually identify one, that’s it. This tea does look like a 1970s Guang Yun Gong. Well, at least that’s a starting point.
If you don’t have the experience, don’t worry. You may be able to acquire some tea of a similar vintage for comparison. You can do this by going to trusted vendors who have samples of the same production, age, storage. Or you can even send a free sample of the tea in question (please contact me) to or swap with someone who claims to have a similar tea. I think a lot of people who have extensive knowledge of aged puerh will have a lot of experience with the famous Guang Yun Gong production. David of Essence of Tea, Varat of The Guide to Puerh Tea, and Phil Sheng are some people that, I imagine, have some significant experience with the Guang Yun Gong Bing series.
If you don’t have extensive experience with a certain aged puerh you can always do some serious research online or go back to the vendor to acquire as much information as you can on the tea. This is what I had to do. The next posts will explore what I have found for online research on this tea, as well as my experience going back to the vendor to gather as much information as I could on this tea. Of course I will be posting extensive tasting notes as well…. Hahaha.
For this “1970s Guang Yun Gong Bing”, my experience with aged teas tells me that it looks old, smells old, tastes old, and feels old. So the question really is how old? 70s? 80s? or 90s? That’s the real question with this tea.