Mei Leaf / Chinalife - 1600 Year old Pu-erh

327 Replies

I think if we’re honest none of us have spent 20+ years sourcing tea from actual villages in Yunnan… I don’t know if you’ve ever googled some of the old trees forest my friends but they are huge!! I personally am confident that when I am buying tea from Mei Leaf I am getting what they say there giving me.. I would much rather have a ball park with actual verified claims from locals and government than what most sellers do and that is just tell us that they got it from reputable sellers… if any of you know other sellers that verify these claims then I WOULD LOVE TO SEE THE PROOF literally because I really love Gushu teas and want high quality verifiable product.

DongBei said

I facepalmed so hard my hand went through my face. Dude, it’s. Not. Real. If Don really does have 20 years experience sourcing in Yunnan then that makes this kind of bold faced deception all the worse. I thought we already went through this with the whole Verdant fiasco but apparently people have shorter memories or are more easily swindled than I thought.

Dongbei… There are posts all over the internet from credible news Channels that verify many of these ancient trees. They are absolutely out there and very old… Send me the link one more time and forgive me for my ignorance since I haven’t followed every one of Scott’s posts… Otherwise GIVE ME HARD EVIDENCE that it’s not possible to source tea from many of these ancient trees… That’s what people want…

DongBei said

Here it is: (scroll down for Scott’s response to see what the “ancient tree” situation is really like)

I think you’re misunderstanding where the burden of proof lies, my friend. How would you react if I said I was selling you Da Hong Pao from the mother bush for $2/gram? You’d probably ask for evidence, right? What if my response was, “Oh well GIVE ME HARD EVIDENCE that it’s not from the mother bush! I have plenty of online news articles talking about the mother bushes. Prove it’s not from there! I have tons of Chinese friends who told me it is and we’re friends so that makes it true.” I’m amazed by the credulity of some people, especially when it comes to someone making a profit off of you.

Based on what little Chinese I’ve heard Don speak in his videos and the fact that his sourcing videos feature a professional translator, I have to think that these “friends” of his are nothing more than business associates looking to make a quick buck off of a gullible laowai. I don’t mean to sound jaded, but living in China and knowing how business works here (even between Chinese people) I think I have a bit of an understanding that may go beyond people who have little experience here. That’s the good option. The other option is that Don is well aware of the situation and is intentionally ripping people off. The more you hype up his credentials the more you are forcing me to lean toward the latter option.

Also, sourcing herbs for Chinese medicine has nothing to do with sourcing puer, other than the fact that both industries are rife with people trying to make a quick buck. Tea farmers and villages whose cash crop is high-end puer are not usually also selling lots of herbs for Chinese medicine.

As a matter of fact you can easily look up Don from Mei Leafs father who was in the alternative Chinese medicine business for many years. They have had relationships with these farmers for essentially a lifetime… Don grew up learning the ins and outs of the business and started sourcing tea 15 years ago… Soooo how long have you been making trips to Yunnan again?

Grill said

No one with half a brain needs to visit yunnan to know that Donny Gushu isn’t getting 1600 year old tea tree material on the cheap. It’s straight up common sense. These farmers have been literally dirt poor for generation after generation. Now for the first time ever they have something of value and you think they are selling mass quantities (which doesn’t exist btw) on the cheap?! I guess they liked not having things like roads, electricity, running water, proper housing for their families, you know luxury shit. Even if he did have these great connections with the villagers they’d offer him a small amount as a gift and it would be hugely insulting to sell it for profit. There are some really hard working reputable vendors and its really sad that someone selling lies is getting all this attention and money instead….

Thanks for your response. I read through the long post (haha even when it’s started turning into an argument about politeness lol.) Those were some really solid points about sourcing Gushu… Im sure that Scott has a lot of credibility and so do some of the other individuals who came out against Verdant, but I haven’t had a huge history in this community and as much as they say that it’s impossible to get tea from old trees because their restricted by the government I don’t have any proof of that.. I just know there’s many claims by multiple sellers that they offer ancient tree Puer… So please anyone including Yunnan Sourcing I would love to have a clearer picture of the tea industry and I would very much appreciate if anyone can send me links to these claims that all these old trees are off limits by the Chinese government.. Does anyone know of other websites or authorities on this subject? Because honestly there seems to be a lot of speculation… Yunnan is huge and there are thousands of villages I have a hard time believing that every single village and Tea source is somehow connected to this perfect pricing system where they automatically get great prices because they have old trees… I’m obviously very new to this but I would love to understand further how this works and I think a lot of other people here would too.. Yunnan Sourcing I’m very impressed with your history in the tea industry would you help me to verify that these old trees are off limits accept to the very high echelon of society? Thank you anyone who is willing to further shed some light on this subject because there seems to be so much speculation about the ages of these trees and getting tea from them..

bef said

You wanna believe in Santa Claus? Ain’t nothing wrong with that.

Do you actually want “hard evidence” that he doesn’t exist anyway?

Haha I don’t think we need to go to the North Pole and verify if Santas there or not. I bet you anything the next few replies from you will be all about how I’m just so unintelligent because I don’t know that you can’t get Gushu cheap, but YOU WONT HAVE A SINGLE LINK WITH EVIDENCE THAT PROVES THAT ITS NOT POSSIBLE TO SOURCE THESE TEAS… How about instead of patronizing me for a legitimate question, you actually point me to some legitimate sources that back up all these claims that it’s impossible to source moderately priced Gushu.. It’s a fair question and I think many people would be incredibly interested to find the answer.

DongBei said

You were already provided with one. Here’s another one about the issue with Verdant: seems that Scott and others aren’t writing about this issue with MeiLeaf because it’s so obviously fake and most thinking tea drinkers who have researched the issue aren’t going to get sucked in a second time.

Also, again Philip, I think you fail to understand where the burden of proof here lies. Come to China and I’ll be happy to treat you to some tea, take you to a tea mall and watch people try to sell you (an unsuspecting foreigner who — I’m just assuming here — can’t speak Chinese well) all kinds of crazy things, then take you to a guy who won’t tell you anything about the tree’s age and instead invite you to actually enjoy the tea, not the story he made up about the tea.

After all I was under the impression Steepster was a place where like minded people who love tea could come together and share and learn about great teas…

DongBei said

It is, I guess many of us are frustrated with people ripping people off/being ripped off. If you ever come to northeast China (thus my name) I’ll treat you to some nice tea. Just don’t come in winter. Fair warning.

mrmopar said

It is where we share tea for sure. I think the big puerh boom in 2007 really popped the market. Prior to this Gushu was probably blended into a lot of products without any thought to it. The boom came and now villages like Lao Ban Zhang are locked up. The farmers were given a contract and 95% of them signed it. They were paid well and now tea pricing even for the young tea is outrageous.

The farmers see this in other areas. I think once they saw this and the competition for old tree harvests has wet up and even been faked. There is a whole lot more Lao Ban Zhang on the market each year than is ever harvested there. I am sure the people bring tea in from other ares to sell as such and such tea. A good example is Dayi products. It is the number one faked item in China. More than money. I think a lot of it starts in the mountains with people driving up and looking and asking for Gushu. It would be very easy to sell some Gushu to a visitor looking to buy some. There is probably some good tea bought this way. Some Gushu and some not. I would still say if it is good just sell it a good tea and leave it there. I see a lot of claims on tea I buy. I don’t buy it for what it is claimed to be but because I enjoy drinking it.

I don’t mean this to be an attack on anyone or any tea. It is just what I have learned on my end.

Thanks MRmopar! Very useful information some of the first that I’ve gotten! That makes a lot of sense actually I’ll have to further research that. I wouldn’t doubt it, I mean look at communism for instance the government got it into every square inch of China why couldn’t they regulate tea the same.. Very interesting. I hope you’ll chime in later when i get back on. Yours is the first kind educated approach I’ve gotten about the subject.

mrmopar said

You are quite welcome. I hope we can all find middle ground and agree to agree or disagree without tearing each other apart. I know there are lots of claims and hype sometimes but tea is a simple thing. Hot water and leaves if only life were so simple.

Ok great thanks I’ll take some time to look it over… It doesn’t just seem to be Mei Leaf or verdant etc who are making very strong claims and putting their business on the line for them, which leads me to believe that if it was that easy to prove that it’s impossible to source this Ancient Tree Puer then less people would be making these claims… SO therefore can you kindly also give me some links to scientific, governmental, local data etc that would help us to further understand why these trees are so off limits.. I’ll check your other link here first but I am very interested to see if anyone has websites that aren’t threads of tea companies arguing about who has real Gushu or not haha. You know what I mean? Is it that much of a niche market that there’s just no data or what?

bef said

I think you might be interested in this thread:

Thanks DongBei, that’s a kind offer. It’s been on my bucket list for a while to see the rainforest there in Yunnan and try the local teas.
This is such an interesting topic for me.. I love the idea of these old trees pulling minerality deep from within the soil, and giving a depth of flavor that other teas don’t always have and it’s kind of a bummer sometimes to here all these conflicting views about how this persons lying and this other persons honest…. where is all this is evidence for a logical mind to look at and say oh ok well that makes sense not just based on what a reputable tea seller says but based on actual evidence. It’s fascinating to me and want to make it a point to fully understand this.

DongBei said

Yeah, let’s see the actual evidence from MeiLeaf. He hasn’t presented any. In fact, seems like they admit in that link you posted that they actually don’t have any at all.

Brian said

this took a strange turn…

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