Sunday, February 23, 2020
New Puerh Buying Direction & Overview
Since my return to blogging in 2017, I have mainly had one mission- to handedly restock my puerh supply for the next 10 years and beyond. It’s actually a bit unique when you think of it because I don’t know any other active blogger who really outlines their puerh buying goals then shares publicly how they are fulfilling them like I’m doing here? No one with a long and diverse experience drinking puerh. Thanks for coming along for the ride…
Anyways, there have been mini-missions built into my puerh buying. Those following along closely will know what I’m talking about.
The first very broad mission was to purchase puerh in quanity from the puerh Trifecta as I called it - three of my favorite diverse puerh areas Menghai, Mengku, and Yiwu. I pretty much covered my bases by now. I stocked tones of Shuangjiang Mengku before the price correction on Mengku/Lincang hit. I mainly went with Yang Qing Hao to cover Yiwu, again before the price went up significantly. For Menghai I ended up buying this Zhongcha in volume from Tea Masters which sold for a price that can’t really be beaten, sadly now sold out. I hope that some of you readers took advantage of these before they sold out or went up substantially. I am pretty happy with these purchases and drink this stuff daily.
There has also been mini missions in my buying. One such mission was the search for semi-aged super cheap factory cakes (here and here) which was super fun and I still actually love drinking this cheap stuff. There is nothing wrong with admitting that. There were a few cakes that I unearthed that I still enjoy every once in a while, some stuff that I can’t keep my hands off, and a bunch of the Menghai factory cakes that I’ve completely drank through and really enjoyed but would never ever re-stock. There were just a few undrinkables that hit the compost bin… hahah… good fun!
I also attempted to test out and sample Western puerh brands that I’ve not tried before such as white2tea and one which I haven’t tired in many years Tea Urchin. White2tea is heavily marketed, post-modern tea art at its finest and is interesting in their execution of their very deliberate blended productions a few of which I have come to really enjoy (here and here). I have also enjoyed Tea Urchin in their pure single estate gushu style (still haven’t heavily published on Tea Urchin but hope to do so in the coming year). I have also tested out some of my old favorite Western vendors such as the Essence of Tea and Yunnan Sourcing (Shah8 recently did this with Yunnan Sourcing as well). I also extensively explored completely brand new vendors like I did in depth with Tea Encounter.
A year or so ago after acquiring many semi-aged cakes I went on a buying mission to find the best of the cheapest fresh puerh which cumulated in the winner being the now sold out 2018 Yunnan Sourcing Autumn NanPo Zhai which I had for $0.16/g. I was also left with KGs of other great runners up like the 2017 Yunnan Sourcing Impression and 2018 & 2019 Snoozefest cakes. These are all great drinkers for their price and I’m super excited to dry age them. I also went on a mission to buy higher priced young stuff and last year after stocking up on cheapos I even dipped my toe in that too. The price to value compared to semiaged had me restricting my purchases of these more expensive young puerh overall but was interesting to explore.
This next year I have a new buying mission- buy way less. I have mentioned recently that I’ve healthily stocked up and it will be the first year since I’ve came back to re-stock that I hope to take the 15 Cake Challenge… I already think that 20 will probably be my cut off but I will try. It’s a lofty goal, and if James can do it, so can I…. ahhahaha
I also hope to sample a bit more than purchase. Don't have as much need for full cake samples these days so I hope to be more selective with that. Apparently, I will also be sampling the bottom and some of the less popular mid-priced Yang Qing Hao in this manner. I have to congratulate Liquid Proust for offering this sampler of cheaper Yang Qing Hao stuff, none of which I’ve tired. It would be neat to see a Yang Qing Hao tuo only sampler and maybe a highest end sampler as well. Surprisingly I have only tried a handful of Yang Qing Hao. These cheaper Yang Qing Hao stuff I am a bit curious about but would never cake sample so maybe there might be a few cheaper Yang Qing Hao in there worth a purchase, who knows… Still haven’t even sampled most of the top stuff either yet…
With that being said, I also hope to continue to buy higher. Instead of young puerh, it will be semiaged stuff as well this year. Hopefully you will see a little more of this on the blog next year- I’ve already started reviewing these. Last year and a half I purchased very little semiaged or factory stuff and I’d like a bit more variety of those for my daily drinking.
Interestingly, I stated in this post from a few years ago, that my next mission would be to find some good semiaged Bu Lang area puerh. At that time I stated that I am drinking through my aged Bu Lang and need to restock. Over the last few years I’ve failed to re-stock any Bu Lang what so ever- fail! I think this in part is from a gradual focus away from the Bulang area by western vendors. These winter months generally get me craving and drinking aged Bu Lang.. I really have not much left. Stereotypical aged Bu Lang is like the expresso of puerh. A blast of energy and warmth in the lazy months with a thick rich and slight bitter taste. Nothing beats this stuff. I would be willing to compromise for a similarly satisfyingly strong tea and I am not completely hung up on it being Bu Lang but should have that general character. The stock is seriously dwindling so the time is now. Any suggestions?
I just received my first order from Teas We Like (started posting this stuff a few weeks ago) of proper cake samples expect some reviews in the coming weeks and months of this glorious stuff…