Once in a while, I get into a discussion with tea friends about how much tea you really need. Assuming I drink 10g a day, every day, for 50 years (let’s say I get to live 50 years from now). That’s about 182,500g of tea, or in puerh terms, about 73 tongs of tea. That is if I don’t drink anything else — no oolongs, no greens, blacks, whatever. That’s also assuming I don’t drink with friends, drink more than 10g a day, or give tea away. So let’s say those two things balance out (oolongs/greens/blacks vs gifting) which means that I need a total of about 6 jian of tea, if we go by 12 tong jians.
6 jians is not a lot. In fact, I know a lot of people who own more than that right now. That leaves a question — what can they do about all that tea? I don’t see an outlet for such things, other than the tea market — and the production volume of puerh in the past 10 years far exceeded anything we’ve seen in the 80s and 90s, which means that in years to come, there’s going to be a steady stream of aged puerh, of varying quality (storage and otherwise) that will show up. If I have reconfirmed anything this trip to HK, it is that storage is of utmost importance, and that not every place is going to be good for storing tea — dry places like Kunming just aren’t going to cut it. I had a number of “pure dry storage” teas recently, and most are, unfortunately, insipid and uninteresting. The best teas I’ve had are the slightly traditionally stored ones. You just need that moisture, and if your storage doesn’t have it, fix the problem now before it gets serious.
Or, you can just buy from the secondary market five years from now. I can’t see a puerh shortage coming any time soon, as long as you’re not in the market for pre-1995 teas.