Tea (rec.drink.tea) Discussion relating to tea, the world's second most consumed beverage (after water), made by infusing or boiling the leaves of the tea plant (C. sinensis or close relatives) in water.

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Old 29-06-2005, 06:24 PM
Mydnight
 
Posts: n/a
Default Was "Treasure". I don't mean to hijack.

#3 getting an itchy thing in the back of my soft palette, kind of like when
you eat cheap chocolate


Excellent description, btw.

I have noticed that when pu'er is stored improperly or it has been wet
to make it look older, I will get this scratchy feeling in the back of
my throat instead of the smooth feeling. From my understanding, it was
the style to use wet storage in the past, but people began to realize
how much damage it was doing to the original leaf so people realized
that dry storage is better. Anybody else notice the scratchy feeling
besides me in relating to wet vs. dry storage techniques?

What I mean by "wet" is sometimes the bosses will use a spray bottle
and wet down the tea and let it dry and then repeat...after doing this
a few times, the tea will look older and taste a bit aged. When buying
bing or tuo, look in the hole to see if the tea appears to be a little
"muddy," for lack of a better explanation, and there's a pretty good
chance it's been wet. The bosses will sell these wet teas for much
higher than the dry teas and try to pass them off as being "5-20"
years.

I also noticed that you get the "Se" (bitter sort of acidy aftertaste)
much quicker when drinking wet tea. I think the vendors noticed that
you can get a decently smooth brew for the first 3 or 4 steeps but
after that it gets increasingly bad...if you're ever in a shop and a
vendor refuses to extend the brewing for no reason...it's wet!

As an aside, I hung out in Fangcun Tea Market all day today and came
across a bunch of horrid shops. These young (but pretty) girls were
peddling their pu'er so badly; "this tea is 20 years old"..."it costs
800 yuan"...etc.etc. I wouldn't worry about the American business guys
at all when it came to the rating of tea, I doubt the Chinese business
dudes would even be honest enough to give them anything more than 3rd
grade tea anyway, but that's just my opinion.

"Bo Nay",


And...I think this one may be Fujian dialect, but correct me if I'm
wrong; I know Po Lay is Cantonese. The dude I dealt with today was
from Fujian and I think I heard him say this a few times when bantering
with his wife about tea in their local dialect.

Mydnight from the frontlines, signing off...


  #2 (permalink)   Report Post  
Old 30-06-2005, 02:35 PM
Space Cowboy
 
Posts: n/a
Default

You mean there is a thieves market where everyone wants to buy aged
pu'rh but can't because of the fraud. Why does it even exist if
everybody knows that. If you aren't shopping with the locals then you
are in the wrong place. I know it is a market and not retail. Price
gouging is the norm but that is just the starting point. I just don't
completely buy the story that the Chinese rip each other off because at
some point the seller needs the buyer and vice versa. I suspect that
the real problem with aged puer is that there is no market just
speculation. If nobody thought a tea worth drinking so many years ago
then only a fool would buy it today at higher prices. I see it in the
cheap periodic refried oolongs presented as a better taste and more
expensive. I'm fortunate to have a low humidity walkout basement that
stays 67 spring,summer,fall,winter. Simply when tea is properly stored
it holds up well in the long run. I haven't seen any that get better
with age. I've got commercial tins of Poo Nih that are at least 30
years old. Yeah I remembered the 20 year old tuo but forgot about the
Cantonese ones till a recent post. If memory serves me right I thought
they tasted like medicine back then and a recent sample the same. It
is just a fact I tend to hoard teas and the very first ones from way
back when are still drinkable. At best the taste doesn't change with
age. If you want the good stuff, buy a recent crop, save your money
and let someone else invest in a lifetime warranty humidity controled
George Foreman rotisserie grill where the only change in taste comes
from the aged buds in your mouth. If you like teas by the kilo then
pu'rh is a good bargain. It is a great way to decorate your house.
Like any compressed teas I'll concede that the exterior protects the
interior but no real change in taste. I have teas that can't be
replaced and have a short eulogy when they're gone but that doesn't
make them expensive. I've got dozens of 200g US Twinings tins before
they downsized to 100g before they closed their Greensboro packing
plant. A while back you could get them for a buck each in the discount
stores if you could find them. I wished the speculators would show up
so I can retire. Pretty girls can sell anything even bad food. I
enjoy your field reports.

Jim

Mydnight wrote:
#3 getting an itchy thing in the back of my soft palette, kind of like when
you eat cheap chocolate


Excellent description, btw.

I have noticed that when pu'er is stored improperly or it has been wet
to make it look older, I will get this scratchy feeling in the back of
my throat instead of the smooth feeling. From my understanding, it was
the style to use wet storage in the past, but people began to realize
how much damage it was doing to the original leaf so people realized
that dry storage is better. Anybody else notice the scratchy feeling
besides me in relating to wet vs. dry storage techniques?

What I mean by "wet" is sometimes the bosses will use a spray bottle
and wet down the tea and let it dry and then repeat...after doing this
a few times, the tea will look older and taste a bit aged. When buying
bing or tuo, look in the hole to see if the tea appears to be a little
"muddy," for lack of a better explanation, and there's a pretty good
chance it's been wet. The bosses will sell these wet teas for much
higher than the dry teas and try to pass them off as being "5-20"
years.

I also noticed that you get the "Se" (bitter sort of acidy aftertaste)
much quicker when drinking wet tea. I think the vendors noticed that
you can get a decently smooth brew for the first 3 or 4 steeps but
after that it gets increasingly bad...if you're ever in a shop and a
vendor refuses to extend the brewing for no reason...it's wet!

As an aside, I hung out in Fangcun Tea Market all day today and came
across a bunch of horrid shops. These young (but pretty) girls were
peddling their pu'er so badly; "this tea is 20 years old"..."it costs
800 yuan"...etc.etc. I wouldn't worry about the American business guys
at all when it came to the rating of tea, I doubt the Chinese business
dudes would even be honest enough to give them anything more than 3rd
grade tea anyway, but that's just my opinion.

"Bo Nay",


And...I think this one may be Fujian dialect, but correct me if I'm
wrong; I know Po Lay is Cantonese. The dude I dealt with today was
from Fujian and I think I heard him say this a few times when bantering
with his wife about tea in their local dialect.

Mydnight from the frontlines, signing off...


  #3 (permalink)   Report Post  
Old 30-06-2005, 04:09 PM
Mydnight
 
Posts: n/a
Default

You mean there is a thieves market where everyone wants to buy aged
pu'rh but can't because of the fraud. Why does it even exist if
everybody knows that. If you aren't shopping with the locals then you
are in the wrong place. I know it is a market and not retail. Price
gouging is the norm but that is just the starting point. I just don't
completely buy the story that the Chinese rip each other off because at
some point the seller needs the buyer and vice versa. I suspect that
the real problem with aged puer is that there is no market just
speculation. If nobody thought a tea worth drinking so many years ago
then only a fool would buy it today at higher prices.


See, but one can't assume that because someone is Chinese that they
know jack about tea. A good example of this is tonight I had a group
of my students come over to my house and drink tea (age ranges from
23-28). Five out of ten of them had never heard of pu'er and only one
of them had actually drank it before. I'm not exactly sure which
locals you're talking about. The Chinese do like to drink tea, yes,
but it's not as much in style as it is to eat at McDonalds around these
parts. In fact, I think many people here on RFDT have more knowledge
about tea, including yourself, than the average Chinese person that
even consumes it on a daily basis. It's just hard to explain.
Remember, this is a communist society so most shops have little
understanding as to how markets should work or how market competition
should work. You can go to 10 different shops, ask about a certain
tea, and get 10 competely different prices probably ranging from
somewhere near what the tea is supposed to be worth upwards to 500 or
600 yuan more expensive...if that makes sense. Unless you are buying
wholesale, you will get cheated if you don't know what you're doing.

Is there a market where people rip each other off....yes, that would be
Fangcun or any tea market or any teashop. I can only think of one
place around here where you can buy real aged pu'er and it's from a guy
that is a collector; probably 99 percent, and Seb will agree with me on
this one, of the pu'er on the market is not older than 2 or 3 years.
Basically, the only way you can keep from being ripped off is to have a
good knowledge about the tea that you want to buy; knowing the boss
also helps.

It's just so hard to explain...damnit, hop on a plane and hang out with
me for an afternoon or something and I'll show you! hehe.

  #4 (permalink)   Report Post  
Old 01-07-2005, 06:49 PM
Space Cowboy
 
Posts: n/a
Default

I can't really believe if I'm a tea drinker in China I have to go to
the market and get ripped off. From what I understand so far I'll save
money on airfare and spend it on shops in my Chinatown. I previously
mentioned a grocery that I thought went out of business but has been
completely remodeled with a grand opening soon. Now the store at the
other end of the commercial strip will have to do the same. Hopefully
it translates into more tea choices but more likely higher prices. I'm
watching a segment on CCTV last night about 'green cards'. Apparently
that is as close as you can come to being a citizen with all the rights
of a natural born citizen because they don't offer citizenship to
foreigners even if you are an expatriate returning. I guess they still
reserve the right to kick you out anytime for anything. I'm watching a
woman who I think was American and moved to China in 47 to join the
revolution at the behest of a wife of Chairman Mao before they closed
the border claim she was Chinese and not a 'laowai' (more than once)
and she had her green card to prove it. Another woman was a French
writer on Chinese culture with a green card drank her tea from the
spout of a clay teapot. The commentator said she knew more about tea
than most.

Jim

Mydnight wrote:
You mean there is a thieves market where everyone wants to buy aged
pu'rh but can't because of the fraud. Why does it even exist if
everybody knows that. If you aren't shopping with the locals then you
are in the wrong place. I know it is a market and not retail.

....I delete me...
See, but one can't assume that because someone is Chinese that they
know jack about tea.

....I delete you...
Is there a market where people rip each other off....yes, that would be
Fangcun or any tea market or any teashop.

....again...
It's just so hard to explain...damnit, hop on a plane and hang out with
me for an afternoon or something and I'll show you! hehe.


  #5 (permalink)   Report Post  
Old 02-07-2005, 04:59 AM
Mydnight
 
Posts: n/a
Default

I can't really believe if I'm a tea drinker in China I have to go to
the market and get ripped off.


I said, you don't have to, but you will if you don't know what you're
doing.



  #6 (permalink)   Report Post  
Old 02-07-2005, 03:14 PM
Space Cowboy
 
Posts: n/a
Default

You can't blame the market if there is a fool behind you willing to
part with his money. Still the seller recognizes repeat customers so
the price is adjusted irregardless of knowledge. Market places are the
same all over the world. The same applies to my local farmer's market.


Jim

Mydnight wrote:
I can't really believe if I'm a tea drinker in China I have to go to
the market and get ripped off.


I said, you don't have to, but you will if you don't know what you're
doing.


  #7 (permalink)   Report Post  
Old 02-07-2005, 06:53 PM
Marlene Wood
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Can we stop now before this turns into a flame war? I just wanted to know
what I had bought, and now I do.
Mydnight, you didn't hijack this thread, that was a perfect follow up
question after I posted my description of how my puer tasted.
So, back to the original question. "Anybody else notice the scratchy feeling
besides me in relating to wet vs. dry storage techniques?"
And remember, The nice thing about opinions is that everybody has one, and
they arn't all the same. Can you imagine how boring the world would be if we
all had the same opinon?
Marlene


  #8 (permalink)   Report Post  
Old 02-07-2005, 07:39 PM
Mydnight
 
Posts: n/a
Default

I say again, and I don't want to start a flame-war or whatever it's
called, the markets here are quite different than what you're used to
in the west. You WILL get cheated if you don't know what you're doing.
Ask anybody that's over here that has actually tried to buy tea at any
teashop, and you'll get the same answer. Most given shops at market
aren't interested in repeat customers anyway, they are interested in
wholesale purchasers.

See above about my description of Fangcun. In about 10 different
shops, we got different prices for the exact same tea; the tea being
low grade Bing Cha and nothing else.

  #9 (permalink)   Report Post  
Old 02-07-2005, 09:15 PM
samarkand
 
Posts: n/a
Default

[Danny]
The majority of chinese only know 3 types of tea: green, oolong, and
jasmine or floral tea. Pu'er came into the limelight about 15 years back,
and it has been mostly a tea chinese immigrants outside China know more
about than the mainland Chinese themselves.

Yet on the other hand, I've come across Chinese in mainland who knows what a
Na Tie (Latte) is but thinks oolong is a green tea. Just as the best pizza
may not be found in Italy, I think the situation is the same here. Most
Laowai are more enthralled with the culture of tea than the Chinese - one is
learning a new culture with the wide wondering eyes of a child, the other
has been steeped in it for so long it couldn't be bothered to embrace the
culture.




"Mydnight" wrote in message
oups.com...
You mean there is a thieves market where everyone wants to buy aged
pu'rh but can't because of the fraud. Why does it even exist if
everybody knows that. If you aren't shopping with the locals then you
are in the wrong place. I know it is a market and not retail. Price
gouging is the norm but that is just the starting point. I just don't
completely buy the story that the Chinese rip each other off because at
some point the seller needs the buyer and vice versa. I suspect that
the real problem with aged puer is that there is no market just
speculation. If nobody thought a tea worth drinking so many years ago
then only a fool would buy it today at higher prices.


See, but one can't assume that because someone is Chinese that they
know jack about tea. A good example of this is tonight I had a group
of my students come over to my house and drink tea (age ranges from
23-28). Five out of ten of them had never heard of pu'er and only one
of them had actually drank it before. I'm not exactly sure which
locals you're talking about. The Chinese do like to drink tea, yes,
but it's not as much in style as it is to eat at McDonalds around these
parts. In fact, I think many people here on RFDT have more knowledge
about tea, including yourself, than the average Chinese person that
even consumes it on a daily basis. It's just hard to explain.
Remember, this is a communist society so most shops have little
understanding as to how markets should work or how market competition
should work. You can go to 10 different shops, ask about a certain
tea, and get 10 competely different prices probably ranging from
somewhere near what the tea is supposed to be worth upwards to 500 or
600 yuan more expensive...if that makes sense. Unless you are buying
wholesale, you will get cheated if you don't know what you're doing.

Is there a market where people rip each other off....yes, that would be
Fangcun or any tea market or any teashop. I can only think of one
place around here where you can buy real aged pu'er and it's from a guy
that is a collector; probably 99 percent, and Seb will agree with me on
this one, of the pu'er on the market is not older than 2 or 3 years.
Basically, the only way you can keep from being ripped off is to have a
good knowledge about the tea that you want to buy; knowing the boss
also helps.

It's just so hard to explain...damnit, hop on a plane and hang out with
me for an afternoon or something and I'll show you! hehe.



  #10 (permalink)   Report Post  
Old 03-07-2005, 02:35 AM
Melinda
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Marlene, how do you yourself tell the difference (when you buy it) between
wet and dry storage puer? I know I've heard of some unscrupulous people
speeding up the aging of some puer by spraying it with water, but I don't
know how I would tell that on sight or taste. If I knew where to taste some
definitive wet storage puer then I'd be more able to address your question
but as it is, I don't know the difference.

Melinda


"Marlene Wood" wrote in message
...
Can we stop now before this turns into a flame war? I just wanted to know
what I had bought, and now I do.
Mydnight, you didn't hijack this thread, that was a perfect follow up
question after I posted my description of how my puer tasted.
So, back to the original question. "Anybody else notice the scratchy
feeling besides me in relating to wet vs. dry storage techniques?"
And remember, The nice thing about opinions is that everybody has one, and
they arn't all the same. Can you imagine how boring the world would be if
we all had the same opinon?
Marlene






  #11 (permalink)   Report Post  
Old 03-07-2005, 08:18 AM
Marlene Wood
 
Posts: n/a
Default

This was actually Mydnight's question. I've never had wet storage pu (or
have and didn't know it). Although samarkand says that this may very well be
wet storage.
Others are far more qualified to answer that.
Marlene

Marlene, how do you yourself tell the difference (when you buy it) between
wet and dry storage puer? I know I've heard of some unscrupulous people
speeding up the aging of some puer by spraying it with water, but I don't
know how I would tell that on sight or taste. If I knew where to taste
some definitive wet storage puer then I'd be more able to address your
question but as it is, I don't know the difference.

Melinda



  #12 (permalink)   Report Post  
Old 03-07-2005, 06:21 PM
Mike Petro
 
Posts: n/a
Default

I am not Marlene but here is my 2 cents worth. It is often very common
to smell a moldy or mildew like smell on these puers. Short of that
you would need to compare them side by side with an authentic one to
know the difference. The better tea shops dealing in aged puers will
allow you to bring your own tea and sample it side by side with the
tea you are intending to buy.

On Sat, 2 Jul 2005 18:35:16 -0700, "Melinda"
wrote:

Marlene, how do you yourself tell the difference (when you buy it) between
wet and dry storage puer?

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.
  #13 (permalink)   Report Post  
Old 04-07-2005, 03:38 AM
Mydnight
 
Posts: n/a
Default

One way to tell is if the outside of the brick, tuo has a muddied
appearance instead of a good pressed look. Also, when drinking the
tea, after about the 4th or 5th steep, you'll get a scratchy,
uncomfortable feeling in the back of your throat.

  #14 (permalink)   Report Post  
Old 04-07-2005, 03:42 AM
Mydnight
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Another way to tell, is when you are breaking off some of the tea, it
doesn't appear to be very crisp; it just sort of comes off in a huge
clump without much of a sound.



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