This is a cake of Yiwu tea, supposedly, that’s quite cheap and decent. It’s from 2007, right around the time of the craziest prices during the bubble, although in retrospect, the prices weren’t that crazy – it’s crazier now, believe it or not.
There’s not much that they told me about this tea, other than it’s from Yiwu, and that it’s some sort of arbor tree tea – not old tree, mind you. It’s only 250g, but it’s the price of a run of the mill cake. The thing is, this tea is pretty decent – better than a lot of stuff out there that’s 5 years old and selling for far more. So, why buy those?
Of course, this tea doesn’t have a fancy background. Nobody, as far as I know, has reviewed it and deemed it good, so no one’s chasing after it, making its likelihood of appreciation low. It is not exactly the most exciting thing out there in terms of taste, but that’s really not much of an indictment. A lot of teas that I’ve tasted recently that are from the past few years are positively awful – just not very good, especially when factoring in the price of such things. Unlike say five years ago, nowadays just finding something decent is difficult without needing to pay through the roof. Increasingly, I find it a better deal to look for something a bit aged, and among those, pick and choose the ones that are not as famous. Chances are, there are decent teas out there that can be had for not a lot of money. This cake is one of them.
I think this tea was perhaps stored in a slightly humid environment, but not quite a traditional storage – there isn’t a noticeable storage taste to the tea. It’s got decent throatiness, reasonable body and fragrance.
Yet chances are, cakes like this will languish in the stores that made them, and I can go back a few years later and it will still be priced at more or less the same price as it is now, maybe adding a bit of inflation, etc. I see cakes here that are being sold at the same price as they were four or five years ago, and for these non-famous cakes, I don’t see that changing anytime soon. So remember that for every cake out there that has gone through stratospheric increases in prices, there are probably a few dozens that have been sitting at the same level for ages. For those of us not in the business of speculating on puerh, these are the things we can buy to enjoy.