Speaking of silly prices, here’s one.
This is a tea that I have been holding on to for the past few years. Tim of the Mandarin’s Tea Room visited me, or perhaps I visited him, and somehow I ended up with half a cake of this (Tim, you want it back?). I think he wrote about this somewhere on his blog, although I can’t find it for the life of me. The tea has been consumed a number of times by the time I got it. I haven’t really tried it since.
Relatively tight compression, but otherwise an unremarkable big factory looking cake. The Taobao price now hovers somewhere in the ballpark of 3000 RMB. Notice there are fakes out there, but either way, I doubt many are dying to buy a 3000 RMB cake without first having tasted it. In any case, it seems like none of the Taobao vendors have sold any recently.
The reason I say silly prices is because when I tried it, well, the tea’s fine. It’s got a bit of smokey notes in there. It is relatively full bodied, distinctly Menghai factory tasting, still somewhat bitter, and generally similar to many other Menghai products from around this time. They differ in degree, not in kind. Yet the prices of the teas cannot be more different. For $500 USD I can buy something like 50 250g tuos of the same year from Menghai that doesn’t taste much inferior, if at all. There is no real reason why anyone should buy this tea.
So why do they charge such a high price for it? Well, I don’t know. I think one reason is because this is something easily identifiable, and in small supply, so people can ID it and say “oh, this is from this year”. Whereas the CNNP wrapped teas are hard to pinpoint in year and make, this is not the case here. I also suspect that somewhere along the line, someone did a speculative job with this tea – and drove the prices up. So, those who are left holding the bag are, well, still holding it. At some point I suppose it will meet the price that is being asked, but really, at 3000 RMB a cake for a 10 years old tea that is still a bit too young to drink, there really are a lot of better choices out there. I seem to remember Tim has more of these cakes. If I were him, and if these cakes can be sold back to Mainland dealers for, say, 2000 RMB a piece, I’d totally sell them and use the money to buy something else. Anyway, this one goes back to the storage and sit.