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Old 26-08-2005, 12:09 PM
Mike Petro
 
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On Fri, 26 Aug 2005 03:33:32 GMT, "Lara Burton"
wrote:

$100 is a large budget for a first time around. Why so much? Are you
looking for a selection?


$100 is a nice round number. I usually drop about $70 on a green tea order.
With the $100, those who think I need "a really good tea" can refer me to
one special cake, while others can refer me to several lower priced samples.
I am looking only to experience pu er. Variety of lower priced, single
higher priced, whatever. I want the experts to advise. I will consider all
the suggestions, weigh the issues, etc and finally purchase several samples
at my discrection.



Lara, the puerh genre covers a wide spectrum of teas and most of them
are very unique, especially when compared to the more common teas. I
fully concur with Danny and Lew in that I wouldn't recommend you blow
a bundle on 1 or 2 cakes, you might wind up with a bunch of tea you
despise.

You have a nice budget to start with so go for sample and taster
packages. Don't buy anything expensive yet, stay away from
significantly aged tea simply because it costs a lot and you don't
know what you like yet. You did like the black which is cool,
understand that green puerh is completely different. Sample sizes are
better for you right now but if you do go for whole pieces stay away
from the bingcha and stick with 100g tuocha or fangcha, less
investment and less tea to waste if you don't like it. Here are some
sample sized suggestions.

Email Jing Teashop (http://www.jingteashop.com/contact_us.cfm), as
they are good about filling unique requests. Ask them to put together
a sample package of as many tea as possible that represent the
"spectrum" of puerh. I would ask for 25g of each which is enough for
several pots. They have the knowledge to guide you down this path,
many other vendors don't.

Another good source for small samples is
http://www.houdeasianart.com/index.p...dex&cPath=1_27 as
they offer 1oz samples. The prices include shipping. Hopefully more
vendors will take their lead.
Some teas to think about from them would be:
http://www.houdeasianart.com/index.p...duc ts_id=214
http://www.houdeasianart.com/index.p...duc ts_id=207
http://www.houdeasianart.com/index.p...duc ts_id=263
http://www.houdeasianart.com/index.p...duc ts_id=241
http://www.houdeasianart.com/index.p...duc ts_id=201
http://www.houdeasianart.com/index.p...duc ts_id=137
Email Guang privately and he might also put together some other
samples for you that are not listed on his site. I wouldn't buy the
aged samples just yet, learn the genre first.

ITC offers a sampler
http://www.imperialtea.com/AB1002000...Category_ID=30
but it is mediocre IMHO.

Unfortunately not many people off sample sizes and even fewer offer
any kind of selection. Generation Tea used to offer a sampler but they
are out of stock on it right now. David Hoffman from Silk Road Tea
used to offer a fantastic sampler but he discontinued it.

There are a tremendous amount of loose leaf black puerhs. Don't spend
too much time dwelling on them as their pedigree is hard to determine,
which means it is hard to replicate if you decide you want more. Get
one or two, maybe a small leaf and a large leaf, but not any more
than that.

Stay away from the minis as most of them are only average at best,
there are a few exceptions but I don't think they are worth pursuing
just yet.

If you look at my Brewing page (http://www.pu-erh.net/howtobrew.html)
I have instructions for brewing puerh using your Inginuitea pot. There
are better methods of brewing but I don't recommend investing in any
new equipment just yet, make sure you like the genre enough before
investing more $.
Mike Petro
http://www.pu-erh.net
"In this work, when it shall be found that much is omitted, let it not be forgotten that much likewise is performed."
Samuel Johnson, 1775, upon finishing his dictionary.