Zhuni

There’s a lot of discussion, everywhere, of what is zhuni and what is not. It’s quite easy to tell what isn’t, especially if you’ve seen enough of them, but what is, is harder to say. I think I am reasonably confident, however, in saying that this pot I bought not too long ago is, indeed, zhuni.

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The walls of this pot is quite thin, and it is a nice build. It’s slightly large for one person use, but I think its shape and size works well for oolongs. A Taiwanese oolong should do quite well in it, and I am quite excited to try it out.

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There are little problems – like the little chip in the base that you see here. Can’t complain though, as perfect condition ones these days are astronomical in price. These days Chinese buyers are hoovering up everything, from pots to tea to supporting teaware. It’s getting harder and harder to buy things now, and until the China bubble bursts (if it ever does) I think high prices are here to stay.


Comments

Zhuni — 19 Comments

  1. Nice pot! I think the little chip at the base is just fine. It doesn’t affect function at all and adds character to the teapot. Besides, I feel today’s Chinese *new* affluent people have this “perfectionism” when they buy things. They only want things that have no defects. Then things without defects could be a lot more expensive than better things with a little defection. In this sense, having a little chip is a good thing :-)

    • Seems very Japanese, or emulation of the Japanese, doesn’t it?
      I read once that whole appliances in perfectly working order are routinely tossed out in Japan because of the insistence on “new” and “fresh.”
      Then there was the $300 mango behind a glass case in the Roppongi hills department store my friend who visited Tokyo told me about..

  2. WOW, nice pot, may I ask how much did you buy the pot for? I got a whole set of smaller sized same “孟臣” pots hanging about in my display cabinet, it was passed down by my grandfather and it’s made from “Zhu Ni”, hopefully I’ll try to use it for “oolong” but unfortunately they’re very fragile and cannot withstand HOT boiling water from my “tetsubin” so I had to switch to my silver pot as it’s water isn’t so “raging”. Wish I could post the photo for you to see… let us know more of your discovery of this pot~ I would love to know more about the history as I know squat!

    • Mengchen pots are a dime a dozen, although it depends on the mark and what not, as well as style and clay. Got pictures? If the water’s too hot, you need to warm it up before using it, otherwise it’ll crack and your pot is finished. Sounds like you’ve had firsthand experience of that tragedy.

  3. I was in Vancouver and paid a visit to the aptly named, “The Chinese Tea Shop.” Good place, they have some nice old cakes there, far out of my budget. I was talking with the owner about pots and he said, “I never pay any attention to any markings of any kind anymore, too easy to fake, I just buy what I think is good.”

    • I’ve been there, and I wouldn’t call their old cakes nice. As for signatures on pots, yeah, by themselves they’re useless as indicator of anything, really

      • *grin* Ah, the great MarshalN, I bow before your expertise and irreverence.
        Can you elaborate? There’s very little I tasted there; I didn’t dare ask to taste their $400/$500 80s orange marks and that sort of thing, but I did taste this one and would have bought a whole cake if I could have afforded it right now: http://store.thechineseteashop.com/Pu_Erh_Tea_Cake_Iron_Mold_Import_Export_Corporatio_p/pugc-90.htm
        What are your thoughts?
        Ended up buying some samples of a couple cheaper options.

        • Well, what they have are somewhat aged, badly stored stuff. The few things I’ve tasted are…. very run of the mill, and what I saw at the store were no better, so “nice” is a bit of a stretch.

          • So, we are talking in generalities–could you tell me exactly what you tried that gave you that impression, if you remember?
            On my part, I suppose me saying that such cakes are “nice,” is an assumption, since I rarely see such examples of puer available in N. America, and the owner struck me as neither a fool nor a crook, so I assumed some level of quality and depth based on my (limited) experience with such 25+ year old puers, even though I did not get to try those specific ones I am referring to. But you are right, I shouldn’t assume such a thing.
            When I was in the store, I tried an aged tieguanyin that was just ok (but priced accordingly), and the wet stored version of that cake I linked to, that was also, just ok, (but again, priced accordingly, $80 I think). That, dry-stored version of it I linked too, however, gave me an immediate feeling of excellence by any metric I could put it to, and a friend with me, who as a tea novice, got the same obvious “this is good,” sense from it, despite not knowing much about tea.
            The two samples I bought to try, a 2003 YiWu and a blend of ’92 and ’98 menghai, I believe, are just OK. I don’t think I would buy them again or invest in a large amount of either.
            So I suppose my measure of any credence in the store is based solely on that one sample I linked to, which I stand behind.

            This might be a project in itself, but if you could point out examples of particularly well stored or particularly poorly stored puer from any online vendors those of us not in Asia are likely to rely on or pass through at some point (e.g. Yunnan sourcing), I’d imagine it might be pretty interesting and instructive, even if it were a short list.
            And/or if you were to make this your next (hypothetical) “tasting” project (assuming the first one didn’t burn you out), I imagine it would be much appreciated, since it is very difficult for most of us not in a place like HK to attain the proper context and experience on this point.

          • I can’t remember which one it is anymore, but the few samples I’ve had…. they’re at best in the “ok” category.

            Storage condition is indeed something that can be interesting, although the problem, as always, is that unless you have two teas that are identical to start with, it’s quite difficult to show changes through storage condition alone.

  4. The orange mark is the only decent aged cake if on the wet side. that I have had from the chinese tea shop. Everything else is off funky or wierd.

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