Wednesday, May 19, 2021

COVID-19 Heralds in the Renaissance of Puerh In the West

 With nowhere to go, no one to see, and with the result of an ever growing savings (for those benefiting) during the COVID-19 Pandemic, puerh tea has experienced a natural resurgence in the West.  Drinking puerh is an activity that can be easily (or most frequently) done alone and at home by most Westerners who savour the puerh experience. During the isolation of the pandemic people are looking for beautiful experiences which puerh naturally and effortlessly offers us.  The recent renaissance is driven by many new comers, a number of people returning, some veterans and bloggers that have had more time to publish about their drinking, and supported by surging sales by up and coming as well as well established vendors.  The recent interest in puerh makes me strangely happy!

New comers to puerh during the pandemic are many and are driving the interest and growth.  It is known that the purchase of consumptive luxury products have exploded during these COVID-19 times. Older puerh drinkers may already have a lifetime of puerh so it’s the newer drinkers that are realizing the true beauty of puerh and are the main consumers and drivers of both more sales and new information on puerh.  But even those with very little money to spend can easily indulge in a bit of this beauty too.  It’s a luxury and beauty that we can all enjoy together- that is a wonderful thing!

Some of my older Blogger friends have been putting out some excellent thought provoking blogs in the last few months that stimulate interesting debate and present interesting topics and ways to view and understand puerh.  As the in-person world becomes more isolated and restricted, I find myself feeling more fondly and maybe even closer towards those puerh bloggers whom I have known through our common writing interests in puerh for many years.  To be a friend is to support but also challenge to be better and I feel the bloggers listed below do that for me and hopefully I do that for them.  To be a friend also means being there for them in times of need and I hope my posts and comments fulfil some of this as well.  I suppose, if they reached out to me I would do my best to help them.  This is a friend to someone who is basically a tea hermit... hahaha....

So what have my tea Blogger friends been up to....

Marshaln of A Tea Addicts Journal has put out a few more posts on his pots, on 7542, and a super interesting interview with Glen of Crimson Lotus which encompasses many of the issues of the old school.  Any post by the Grandfather is always a gift even if it is just a teapot inventory!

Cwyn N of Death By Tea, who is widely believed to be the best puerh writer, has gotten back into the rhythm of blogging over the last half year.  It’s great to read her posts which have started to use a connoisseur lens to look at puerh and has been offering other practical and thought provoking articles on her blog.  Always a great puerh read!

Marco of Late Steeps has recently taken a run at addressing some gaps of published knowledge in the Yang Qing Hao catalogue as well as attempting to look at how these cakes are aging.  I also have really enjoyed his experimenting with the video, and charts on his blog!

Shah8’s weekly post on the Badger and Blade Sheng of the Day forum has often been one of my puerh highlights of the week.  I really enjoy his detailed review of Sheng puerh.  To me he is one of the first to dive the deepest into gushu puerh in the West.  He is one of the only English writers to regularly offer very detailed notes and comparisons of Sheng puerh.

Thank you my friends! Your articles bring me much joy and a much needed point of provoking thought and good puerh debate!

The vendors have supplied the demand brilliantly too!  I think 2020 will go down as their best years to date for some of the veteran puerh vendors.  2021 could even be bigger!  It was also a year that allowed for relatively new vendors to really expand and explode forward like the following vendors that I had purchased from last year...

Liquid Proust significantly expanded their puerh offerings this year to a point where I would recommend sampling heavily for the new comer.  He went from having only a small handful of puerh at a time to many handfuls just in one year.

Tea Encounter expanded their own brand and offered more Zheng Si Long but sold out of many after Black Friday.  They started to bring in more affordable single estate Autumn offerings including some pressed from their own brand.

TeasWeLike really turned a corner going from a few well know cakes to many many interesting other options some are found in their archives now.  They started doing a lot more interesting quarter cake sample packs and even a collaboration with Marshaln.

The way that these vendors pivoted at this time made puerh more accessible for those new to puerh and to those on a tighter budget.

As the city I live experienced surge of variant COVID cases in the 3rd wave here (the highest per capita in Canada in March), and as the city started to lock down again, I once again found solace in puerh.



marco said...

Thanks for a good summary post Matt, I’m always interested in what you’re thinking about. Be careful out there, and take care of yourself. It has been a difficult time and it’s not yet over... hoping to have tea in person one day!

shah8 said...

Eh, I don't think that puerh discussion online has declined all that much, it's just highly dispersed compared to what it used to be, particularly the photo dominated sites like instagram and its antecedents. Gotta remember, for most of Western puerh blogging history, everything effectively radiated out of a couple of key sites, such as Teachat forums, Puerhtea livejournal, badgerandblade, and a few of the key blogs like A TeaAddict's Journal or The HalfDipper.

The oldsters have life happen, like getting married, having kids, and not having time for the hobby, or they move onto a different phase of life that doesn't involve puerh, like Mike Petro, etc, etc. The youngsters are all pretty much just instagraming this. Moreover, the focus of newer tea drinker has been overweight on the cheaper and fake-ier side of things, so what they're into is boring to the vets.

Matt said...


You as well. We will have tea in person one day. Until then ... Cheers.


Matt said...


I suppose your comment is as much a general statement about the state of puerh blogging... but I personally love the company I keep.


Matt said...


Your assessment is right on.

I think there is also a subset of new puerh drinkers that are focused on the higher end with the financial means to do so but lacking knowledge and experience.