Thursday, August 31, 2017

2006 Shuangjiang Mengku MangBo

I picked up a cake of this tea in my first order from Awazon with a bunch of others in hopes of finding a good, cheap, around 10 years agedpuerh from which to re-order.   I paid $25.80 for this 400g cake ($0.06/gram).  From the scant writings about this tea on the internet I have learned the following about this 2006 Mengku …

This was the first year that the Shuangjiang Mengku Tea Company offered this cake from the MangBo Mountain.  They offered cakes from Mangbo for a few years before discontinuing them, some of them were “Gong Ting” cakes where as others were these ones- two completely different puerh from the same producing region.  The manufacture’s information states that this is a Qingming (before rains) early spring cake from Mangbo Mountain located in the Mengku, Shuangjiang county of Lincang.  The leaves are apparently all from a single, high mountain tea grove of “ancient tea trees”.

This puerh producing area is no doubt famous for completely knocking off the Adidas logo.  In Western tea circles this is pretty much known as Adidas puerh… hahaha.  Despite having this tormented reputation, I could find very little written about these Mangbo cakes.  The only info I found in English about this cake was a glowing review by Dignitea on Steepster.  Sounds promising enough…

Unwrapping the cake my eyes and fingers tell me that this is a wrapper from long ago.  One of those super thin, see through, easily damaged, plain budget brownish wrappers that you don’t see much any more.  I appreciate this unpractical esthetic from a long time ago.  I unwrap the cake gently to have a look at it and the leaves are barely tinged redish with larger, chunky, aged hairy leaves covering the cake, I enjoy this experience.  I press my nose close to these leaves but very little odour is drawn out.  I’m obviously not as excited about this aspect but maybe they will come alive with all but a rinse?

Sit with me this early morning in the veranda of my old house and meditate as we drink this tea will you?

The first infusion delivers a light creamy sweet tasting wave.  It’s very smooth in the mouth with nice cooling aftertaste and sweet finish in the mouth.  The mouthfeel is nice with a full coating on the tongue.

The second infusion delivers much the same with a fruity sweetness starting to entrench itself.  There are some roasted nut edges that start to develop here.  The cool aftertaste is notable.

The third infusion starts out smooth and slightly sweet and builds on the tongue to finish with a slight roasted hazelnut taste with edges of apricot fruit.  The qi of this tea is nicely relaxing on the mind with a lightness in the arms and shoulders.

The fourth has a juicy viscus sweet and creamy, if not slightly watery, initial taste which turns into a roasted nut flavor.  It opens in the throat into layers of sweetness.  The aftertaste is a nice longer cool and sweet fruit taste.

The fifth infusion delivers a nice evolving profile of initial viscus caramel sweetness to a deeper roasted hazelnut to a cool finish with an almost apricot fruit aftertaste.  The tea has a nice viscus feel initially in the mouth which then turns a bit chalky and tight then nicely opens even the mid throat to finish.

The sixth is much the same with some berry fruit notes appearing in the initial taste now.

The seventh infusion develops more of a vibrant burst of fruit and also finishes with a long fruity taste in the mouth.  The base of this tea is a nutty roasted taste.  The mouthfeel continues to thicken and now slightly grips the throat.

The eighth the roasted nut taste blends more into the background where the fruit taste become more prominent.  There are tastes of apricot and tropical fruit such as mango in here.  The thicker tongue coating and throat stimulation knit these tastes together.

The ninth is much the same with woody notes now appearing more prominently then roasted nut notes in comprising the base taste.  The sweet notes start to slow down here.

In the tenth the roasted nut notes seem to be dominant with sweeter tastes supporting the main nutty flavor.  The hazelnut taste sneaks into the aftertaste in this infusion.

The eleventh is more woody and starting to get more bland again.  The next few infusion steep out with woody, nutty tastes with sweet edges with a solid coolness in the aftertaste.

This puerh is interesting in that you can really get very different results with different amount of leaf, steep time, steeping method.  Each method can really emphasize either the fruity taste or the nutty taste depends how you play with these parameters.  The fruit taste also can change and evolve differently as well.  This, along with a solid mouthfeel and long and stable returning coolness, makes this inexpensive puerh quite good.

I ended up clearing out the last 3 cakes of this one at Awazon in my next order so currently they are currently out of stock.  It ended up being the only cake out of the 7 tester bings in my first order from Awazon which I re-ordered (the two 2006 6FTM Banzhangs were last cakes, the two 2006 LMBF cakes sold out days after ordering, and the two GuanZiZai were too harsh for my liking).

I am quite happy to have 4 of these cakes and feel they are quite a good value for what I paid for them.  Currently King Tea Mall has this cake for $99.99 which I believe is closer to the actual value of this cake than the $25.80 I paid.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Not Alchemy Just Daily Drinkers: 2006 6FTM Yesheng Banzhang and 2006 6FTM Organic Banzhang Raw

These two Six Famous Tea Mountain puerh arrived in my first order from Awazon.   I remember seeing lots of 6FTM cakes in the puerh tea shops in Korea in the mid-2000.  I know that I have tried many 6FTM puerh before at these tea tables but I have no memory or recollection of how they tasted.  This seems to be a theme of the literature online about 6FTM- unmemorable.

But it wasn’t always like that.  Even the western online vendors used to be full of these cakes.  Six Famous Tea Mountain puerh factory offered puerh that was very different than the factory puerh that was mainstream at the time.  It was a response to the overly bitter and strong cakes produced by Menghai and other tea factories which were the most popular at that time.

A few years ago Hobbes of the Half-Dipper re-discovered 6FTM cakes and many are reviewed on his blog at this time.  These two were either discussed positively in the comment section or favorably reviewed by Hobbes.  However, because of differences in the names of these teas, tasting notes, differing wrappers, coming from different vendors, I am unsure if these are the same positively reviewed teas.  This is what makes purchasing puerh online in the West such a gamble.

2006 6FMT Yesheng Banzhang

There is a bit of ambiguity on the Half-Dipper whether this cake is undrinkable or excellent value.  It is possible that it is even the exact same cake wrapper with one cake being a fake and other real or perhaps it is the same cake but one with off storage.  Only one way to know which one this is similar to…

Dry leaves smells of sweat sugar cane and faint plumb.

In the first infusion flatter vegetal notes comes first with a nice leathery taste.  A soft cresting malty caramel sweetness ensues finished by a tobacco taste which stays in the mouth.  The mouthfeel is decent and feels full enough to carry the aftertastes forward.  The mouthfeel has a mild stickiness to it as well.

The second carries more sweet notes of slight plumb in the mix of leathery tobacco.  There are only suggestions of cool menthol on the breath.  This tea tastes is very much good, if not very typical puerh tea.  It has a mild thickness and viscous feel to it in the mouth and carries these standard puerh tastes nicely in the mouth.  The bubbles formed in the liquor stick stubbornly to the cups and pots. The sensation of this tea doesn’t make it into the throat limiting the depth of taste but what it has, it does quite good with.

Third you can really start feeling the qi of this tea- again a very classic puerh tea feel.  The body feels energized and refreshed while the mind feels relaxed and clear.   The sweeter plumb notes are more developed in this infusion and taste nice with leather and tobacco.  There is a very slight sour note indicating its age.  The sweet tastes are the dominant now and the flatter vegetal note is all but gone.

This tea is through and through good, typical, unpretentious big factory tea.  There is nothing amazing about this tea but there is also nothing negative about it either. Its strength is in its better than average mouthfeeling which make simple tastes stick and is limited by not really touching the throat.

The fourth shows signs of starting to level off with less of the evolving layers and gravitating to more of a nice singular note.  There is a nice cohesive leathery and creamy malty date fruit sweetness to the tea here.

The fifth shows more of the mild barely fruity sweat note riding itself into the aftertaste over leathery and even slightly woody notes.  There is some menthol returning in the mouth.  A very stable tea.  For the cheap price this tea, it is very drinkable and I am happy with it for what it is.

The sixth is much the same and I am still not adding any steeping time to the infusions just the 20 second pour of the pot.  Simple, yummy, puerh tastes are delivered.  A soft smokiness is detected in this infusion.

The seventh is extended another 10 seconds but remains simple yummy tea.  The nice part here is the nice simple plumb fruit note.  The aftertaste carries this note for a while.

The eighth and ninth infusions become much flatter with a gummy slight fruit and wood note.  A very mild cool fruit aftertaste is apparent.

2006 6FTM Banzhang Organic Raw

I paid $36.20 for this 357g bing ($0.10/gram).  It was also the last in stock at Awazon and is no longer listed.  There seems to be two different wrappers of the 2006 Banzhang Organic, one has a the Chinese organic certification labelclearly displayed on the wrapper like this one still available for purchase atThe Chinese Tea Shop, and another without such labeling that was for sale at Awazon.  I imagine they are different teas.

Dry leaves are of smoky, almost salty, with a suggestion of pungent deep creamy florals.

The first infusion boasts creamy sweet and more fragrant than expected floral tastes with a nice thin creamy mouthfeel.  There is a significant smokiness to this first infusion that coats the mouth if steeped quickly.  A slightly sweet floral creamy coolness is left in the throat.  The profile of this tea is over a light mild base of creamy, sweet, slightly medicinal tastes.  The smokiness dominates this first infusion.

In the second infusion the same flavours become more bold especially the sweet, creamy, medicinal base holding them together.  There is a soft but noticeable bitter astringency to this tea when steeped with more leaf.  The sweet cooling in the throat lasts longer and is more noticeable now.  Even very soft smoky notes linger in the mouth.

In the third infusion the mouthfeel becomes stronger and the taste develops a soft wood base note along with the sweet medicinal note.  The initial taste is of mild creamy sweet florals. Another note that reveals itself is a mushroom taste as well.  This infusion loses a bit to the higher notes as deeper, aged tastes emerge.  The smokiness is still apparent.  The qi of this tea is weak and gives off a quite unnoticeable and very standard mild alertness.

The fourth the light sweet flavours start to fade and the base notes start to take over.  The mushroom taste is now more prominent.  The cooling aftertaste now has more of a light woody suggestion.  The throat feel improves a bit as a glob of saliva is pulled into the throat expanding on simple flavours.

The fifth becomes more monotone in its initial taste- a sweet woody barely mushroom taste.  The cooling returning sweetness is somewhat more enjoyable and more pronounced here.  A smokiness lingers in the aftertaste.

The sixth is pushed harder but still offers very little in the initial taste with still some enjoyable aftertastes to be enjoyed.  A monotone wood taste now gently cloaks the whole profile of this tea when pushed like this.  A faint flat floral and slight melon taste can still barely be grasped.

In the seventh and eighth this tea is a bit tapped out with mainly a monotone dry wood with barely suggestions of melon and floral over a still smoky base.

The ninth, tenth and eleventh holds these tastes nicely.  It is mild but still has some enjoyable flavor.  Long steeps push out much the same.

It is interesting what the name of a tea does to your mind.  It is possible that this tea could have at least some Banzhang or Nannuo material inside.  But if this was a blind sample and someone asked me to guess where this is tea from I would probably never guess the Banzhang area.  Interesting, how the brain works.

Overall, I am happy with these two 6FTM cakes.  These cakes were both the very last cakes at Awazon which is really too bad.  Out of the two, I wouldn’t hesitate at purchasing a few more cakes, maybe even a tong, of the Yesheng for that price.  It really displays a character and feel in what I look for and love in factory puerh.  The Organic Banzhang is too mild with very little depth.  However, it still has something enjoyable in it and I can see why some people have enjoyed this one as a daily drinker for years now.  Overall, I’m not expecting alchemy with these 6FTM cakes just solid everyday drinkers which is fair value for what I paid.


Saturday, August 12, 2017

Enjoying Puerh That is Not Good- 2005 Guanzizai YiWu #30 and 2007 Guanzizai “Nanlahe” YiWu

I really enjoy this A Tea Addict’s Journal article fromyears ago about what exactly makes a tea bad.  A tea can be poor for many different reasons- too weak, too strong, no stamina, off taste, off storage, bad Qi, no mouthfeel, harsh dryness, ect… these are just some of the reasons a tea is not a good tea.  You are lucky if a tea is just weak because you can simply add more tea to the pot to usually improve it but for the others you are out of luck and stuck with something sub-par maybe, at worst, undrinkable.

Hopefully, your tea at least is drinkable and there is something to enjoy in it!  Cultivating a mindset of seeing and enjoying the positive aspects of any tea can help with enjoyment of all tea even not so good puerh.  However, we have to be critical of the teas we purchase least we continue to enjoy mediocre tea and fail to get the most for the money we spend on the tea we love.  It is impossible for all teas to be good but yet we should still appreciate the good elements in not so good tea and not just toss them immediately.

The following are two of three GuanZiZai Yiwu raw puerh that Awazon currently has available on their website.  The GuanZiZai I chose not to order is an Autumnal puerh and is the only one of the three that has been somewhat favorably reviewed online.  Yunnan Sourcing still orders new cakes to this day from this smaller and affordable YiWun factory apparently ran by the older brother of the owner of Yong Pin Hao puerh factory.  There is a wonderful blog post here about the deep meaning of GuanZiZai that I also recommend.

Okay lets get to it…

I was really excited about this puerh and it was the first cake I tired on my first order from Awazon  that arrived a month or two ago.  The dry cake just looks and smells like my kind of puerh and I have always wanted to try some of the Guanzizai brand.

The barely redish, fat, dry leaf smells of deep, rich and very sweet smelling.  They develop a meat like sweetness as they are put into warm yixing.  I really pack them in good to push this aged tea hard.

The first is a meaty, smokey, salty tasting tea with a slow to develop mouthfeel that slowly and softly creeps to the throat.  It finishes slightly smokey with a base of slight soft sour bitterness.  The mouthfeel is quite full and the mouth develops a slight chock-like feel, the tongue a slight dryness.  It is immediately apparent that this tea has strength as my stomach cringes, slightly uncomfortable under the power of this tea.  My mind is immediately ultra aware and sharp… meditate.

The second pushes out rounder tastes but the smokiness of this tea is definitely its main note.  No high notes can be found in these first infusions this is a deep, rough, strong tea.  Wait there it is minutes after swallowing there is a very slight coolness with suggestions of sweetness, barely.

The third infusion brings us a slower to evolve, trying to be softer, taste but is overwhelmed by this teas harsh smokey character.  The mouthfeel is very full and coats the whole mouth but lacks a thickness to it.  I think I was a little over zealous with the amount of leaf and remove about half from the pot in an attempt to curb the strength of this tea.

The weaker fourth infusion has slight suggestions of sugar cane over harsh stronger smokey bitterness.  This Kunming dry stored 12 year tea is far removed from any resemblance of YiWu with a bitterness of a much younger Bulang tea.  This tea is not ready to drink and hard to enjoy.  On the other hand, there is no off tastes to this tea either it is simply a strong smokey deep tea with very little high notes to balance its strength.  I decide to end the session here and banish this tea for another 10 years.  Removing the leaves from the pot, a strong menthol odour lingers in the air.

I have second thoughts and give this tea another chance a few days later using much less leaf this time but pretty much got the same inevitable outcome- a strong, rough, harshness in taste and feel.

Never has an older brother been so harsh.  At $88.00 for 400g ($0.22/gram), it seems even harsher.  When you have a tea that is too harsh the hope is always that whether its 5 years or 20 years, at some point the tea has to mellow right?  With my dry storage, I’m of the belief it might stay quite undrinkably strong for ever or a very very long time.

Let’s go on to the less imposing of the two…

First, a little recycling of knowledge.  “Nanlehe” or “Nanla” River is located in Mengla Xishuangbanna.  I have never had a puerh from this puerh producing area before.

These dry leaves smell more promising.  They carry a somewhat sweet, subtle perfume sweetness in their long, still hairy, leaves.  At $29.99 for 400g ($0.07/ gram), my expectations are lowered.

When rinsing a sweet “rou gui” (cinnamon) odour is emitted from the pot.

The first infusion is surprisingly light with soft notes of floral sweetness and a very mild returning sweetness.  The mouthfeel is full but thin.  This tea is a gentle one and rewards the mouth with a soft returning sweetness.  The qi of this tea is immediately sedating and relaxing.

In the second infusion some stronger more astringent vegetal notes emerge in the front of the mouth while the subtle creamy sweetness is pushed into the back of the mouth and resides even more in the aftertaste.  The second infusion starts to contain some very familiar hints of its harsher 2005 production in the overall feel in the body.

The third infusion tastes of quite standard vegetal puerh tastes with an overall very thin mouthfeel.  The sweet notes have dropped off almost completely in the initial taste and now just linger in the thin aftertaste.  The mouthfeel has become slightly harsh and dry.

The fourth is even more watery.  This tea lacks strength and depth and is overall a very simple puerh tea and should be enjoyed as such.  The highlight of this tea is its deep-ish relaxing, nice qi.  The stomach doesn’t really love this tea though and is a touch harsh on the digestive system.

The fifth infusion is of barely sweet water with scant hints of fruit underneath.  There are almost unnoticeable hints of faint cinnamon that appear and disappear quickly.  This tea has very little stamina.  It is what its price suggests no more and no less...  and so I enjoy it like this for at least a few more infusions with a relaxed mind.

I wrap both of these teas up and vow to not open them up in many many years.  Each had similar and yet very different flaws.


Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Introducing Laomane Menghai Banzhang Factory: 2006 Laomane Menghai Banzhang Factory “Banzhang Wang” Banzhang Ancient Arbor and 2006 Laomane Menghai Banzhang Factory “Banzhang Wang” Laomane Ancient Arbour

Is there anyone out there reading this that has ever heard of Laomane Menghai Banzhang Factory? This factory has been around for a little while and is located in the puerh producing village of Laomane (aka Laomaner).  Location, location, location.  This factory has undoubtedly benefited from being located and by primarily pressing cakes from the Banzhang area.  Their selection of puerh includes lots from this trendy area.  It seems to include very factory/ plantation like productions as well as old arbour pressings from this area.  King Tea Mall has a wideselection to look at if anyone is interested.

I acquired these two cakes together in a recent order fromAwazon.  I paid $59.00 for 400g($0.15/gram) for the Banzhang and $21.95 for the 357g ($0.06/gram) Laomane.  A few days after ordering there was a big “Sold Out” marker on these two.

Let’s first try the 2006 LaomanE Menghai Factory “Banzhang Wang” Banzhang Ancient Arbour…

Large dry leaves have an airy soft and creamy floral smell to them with a very slight suggestion of smoke.

First, is a light slightly smokey, slightly creamy taste with nice soft mouthfeel in a sour soup.  The throat is opened but not overly activated by the liquor.  There are faint suggestions of cherry hidden in all of this.  This first infusion is a ghostly one.  The mouthfeel slowly layers itself on with each cup.  Very slight cherry tastes are left in the mouth along with barely floral suggestions.  The cha qi almost immediately sharpens the senses.

The second infusion has more vegetal notes as well as smoke in there.  The mouthfeel really stacks itself to the point where it is nicely thick.  It holds some tastes of barely sweet cherry and even more fleeting floral.  A very mild coolness develops in the throat.  There is a soft astringency and sourness that comes in as well.

The third infusion shows slights of slight, crisp juicy cherry tastes up front the slight smokiness is pushed to the middle and there is a faint fruity floral lingering in the breath.  The smokey taste is the dominant taste in this tea with the fruit and floral at the edges.  This infusion has a stronger perfume and fruity onset.

The cherry fruit and slightly floral taste slowly gains momentum in this tea.  In the fourth infusion it is more obvious still.  The cha qi is quite relaxing and focusing on the mind.  I can feel the energy gingerly sauntering around my body as well.

The fifth and sixth is much the same a nice crisp pop of fruity cherry slight florals then soft smoke then a slight returning fruit flavor.

The seventh infusion the smokiness is gone and the fruit and floral are left behind.  This tea is a nice slow moving tea that feels like it will last many many infusions with quick infusions.  Overall the taste and qi is not standoffish and is very unpretentious.  The leaves have lots of stamina. 

The eighth has some honey and florals in there now with less fruit.  The ninth has lots of honey floral tastes.  To me the long stamina and changing flavor of this tea confirms its arbour/ non plantation status.

Ten, eleven, twelve push out a nice floral taste in a decent soft mouthfeel with still a cooling throat feel.  This tea can be steeped a long time with nice floral taste in a soft and juicy mouthfeel with barely cooling in the throat.

Overall, this tea is believably Banzhang and possibly at least some arbour material.  Overall, I like the tea and it is different than any others I have ever had before.  I guess most people don’t get to test lots of 11 year Banzhang?  LaoBanzhang puerh was a rarity in Korea and most of what I’ve sampled in the past were great examplesof 1-5 years old LaoBanZhang.  I have never purchased any LaoBanzhang bings in the past so overall this is new territory for me.

Ok let’s change gears just a little and try some of the 2006 LaomanE Menghai Banzhang Factory “Banzhang Wang” LaomanE Ancient Arbour…

Dry leaves smell of strong, vibrant, pungent floral and sour fruit.

First infusion presents with a thick floral front with a sweet creamy sweet edge and nice harmonious coolness in the throat.  There are some juicier and watery edges to the taste that appear more as well.  The mouthfeel is slightly sticky and fairly full the sweet creamy florals stay on the breath.  An interaction of fruity notes on the breath minutes later.

In the second the initial floral notes are pronounced and plume and cloud on the breath with an underlying note of creamy fruity sweetness.  There is a barely noticeable bitter vegetal taste underneath.  It finishes with a solid coolness in the throat.

The third is much of the same strong floral display.  The mouthfeel of this tea has a nice chalky consistency.  The qi is somewhat strong in the mind pushing racing thoughts around, simulating, alerting, the body feels it too but is relaxed under the influence of the cha qi.  More of a malty, creamy sweet base starts to present itself now in the layers of chalky mouthfeel.

The fourth and fifth present with many fruit tastes of honeydew melon and honey along with the now secondary floral tastes that expand on the cool aftertaste.  The tea develops some more pronounced slight vegetal notes here that seem to add a further layer nuance to this tea.

The sixth and seventh has slight  flat wood and vegetal base to the mainly dominating floral and sweet honey fruit tastes.  The qi is more relaxing on the mind now- putting it at peace. 

The eighth has floral tastes almost fading away now and some sweetness is left in there too.  Long steeping pushes out mainly drier woody notes with slight bitterness- there doesn’t seem to be much left in the tea after eight infusions.

Overall, these teas could easily be priced 3-4x what I paid for it.  I feel like I got quite a deal from these two and am currently looking at exploring more from Laomane Menghai Banzhang Tea Factory from King Tea Mall in the future.  King Tea Mall lists the 2006 Banzhang at$289.00 per cake which is probably closer to the actual value of a cake of this namesake and age.  If you completely forget the name and just go on the actual taste and feel of this cake is probably closer to double what I paid- still a great deal.
Of the two I really preferred the LaomanE in the initial steepings but the BanZhang had much more stamina and tasted good for many many infusions.  Overall, both of these teas were on the mild end of the spectrum for BanZhang and LaoManE teas.  I think that the Laomane might have a harder time as it ages but the Banzhang has enough to last the long. 
It is my understanding that the LaomanE Menghai Banzhang Tea factory tends to produce puerh that tends to be less strong and more mellow than your typical LaoBanZhang and LaomanE.  It was interesting though to see how potentially BanZhang and LaomanE puerh age because there is not really that much out there for comparison.

It still showed that a tong of these two were available days after I placed my order.  I am left wondering who was that lucky puerh drinker that purchased a tong of these two just days after my purchase?  They really walked away with a deal!  For me I am happy I walked away with a cake of each, I'm not sure if I would have purchased a tong of it anyways.


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?


Thursday, August 3, 2017

"Puerh Tea Is The Black Hole of Tea"

I have a phrase when it comes to puerh that my tea drinking friends have all heard before...

"Puerh tea is the black hole of tea"

It is a true mystery.  It sucks you in slowly but surely.  If you really really love tea, it is only a matter of time before it sucks you in too.  Its complexity and mystery and evolving nature makes it hard to understand and comprehend.  But yet we try tirelessly to describe it and to predict what its going to do next.

Puerh tea is truly the black hole of all tea.