Aged Puerh Purchase
Hi Tea Family,
I am looking for a good source that might carry Puerh teas from the early 70’s. I have gotten samples from Essence of Tea and Stephane Erler that I am letting relax after their long journey’s to the US, but I am looking to explore a few other options before committing to a long term relationship. Any suggestions would be much appreciated.
have you tried yunnan sourcing? they may have some older stuff. i have a couple of sellers on ebay that might be able to help. you can also check mandala or the puerh shop stateside.
This is difficult outside of China, HongKong and Taiwan. I would contact Yunnan sourcing (like mrmopar said) or some other vendors who live in China
I agree that this is difficult. The growing wealth (and growing demand) in Mainland China is really increasing scarcity and prices of some of these older teas. If you’re looking for 70s cake tea, yellow label (huangyin) is probably going to be not a bad bet. However, some 70s yellow label can be a little bitter. Visiting Taiwan or HK in person would probably make this process a little easier, especially in terms of building some relationships where people know you’re interested in the long term. If you just want to try samples of things, expect to pay more for the privilege, because most sellers can find buyers for cakes, or even tongs, of these teas in that region.
YSLLC is great, but mostly for newer stuff. They definitely don’t carry any stuff that old (even if you contact them directly), and most of the stuff they do carry that’s a bit aged is very, very dry stored.
These days there is a dearth of vendors based in, or catering to, the Western market, who sell well-stored, reliable aged tea. Hou De doesn’t sell much anymore.
I will provisionally recommend sampletea.com (based in Malaysia).
Pros: responsive, fast shipping, sells in sample sizes, some teas are fairly good. May be able to obtain teas not listed on the site.
Cons: I am not totally convinced of many of their age claims etc. Don’t think they have anything quite as old as you’re looking for, but some of the alleged 80s / 90s stuff is quite good.
Sunsing, based in HK, will do mail order, and their teas should be pretty reliable. However, you will pay for it. For older teas, you will probably need to contact them.
Lau Yu Fat in HK may be able to get 70s cakes like the ‘simplified characters’ cakes. However, the price for this will be very, very high, and I don’t think they will do samples. Trustworthy, but expensive. You would have to email them for information about what older stuff they have and pricing.
The Canada branch of HK’s Best Tea House has some online shopping, and has access to other teas which aren’t listed on the site. But it will cost you. [Sensing a theme here yet?]
I would call them on the phone, rather than email if you’re interested in whether it’s possible to order small quantities of something, or whether they have something that’s not listed on the site.
Wistaria Teahouse in Taipei has a lot of old tea available to them. It is possible to do mail order, but logistically, it would be difficult unless you know exactly what you want.
Bana teas, based here in Southern California, does have one brick sold as 1970s (I cannot endorse that claim one way or another specifically), which I think is pretty nice. It has had some traditional storage, and is large leaf material. The tea is not overly complex, but is very smooth. I think for the price, the tea is quite good, and it’s available as a sample, so you can try before investing in a whole piece.
Disclaimer: the owner is a friend.
If you are serious about looking for these teas, and are able to pay the market price for a tea like this, which is going to be $2-3k US at a minimum (possibly more – I inquired about some 70s huangyin recently through a seller on a Chinese teapot forum, and the price was unbelievable), I can put you in touch with some folks who might be able to help if you PM me on here.
Sometimes loose or already broken up tea can be an option that’s both more affordable and available in smaller quantities than compressed tea.
I agree with Grace Yunnan sourcing is a fab location to locate older tea and reputable.
Sorry, but I have never heard of them selling any “older” tea in the sense that the OP is talking about. Scott is very helpful, and I think is honest and straightforward in his dealings. Great source for young teas, and also for adolescent ones if you like very dry stored tea, but not a good place to find anything from the 1980s or before.
One reason for this is that he’s located in Yunnan, and while pu’er is produced there, it’s typically been exported and stored other places — you may occasionally find some older tea that’s been stored in Yunnan, but I don’t think you’ll find it in large quantities.
Thanks so much Will, there is a lot of great information in that post. I have found some samples from essense of tea in the uk but they seem to have only one type of toucha available as a whole piece, the rest is broken or loose. I don’t know many people or tea shops that have 70’s puerh on the menu, so I haven’t had the luxury of tasting a quality example to have a bearing as to specifics, so I am looking for a trusted curator with good taste. I have been lucky enough to sample some amazing early 80’s sheng Mao Cha so I do have a hint of what fine aged puerh can become.
I think it will take some time to build trust with a seller, before I would commit to a $3-4k purchase as their are plenty of counterfeits out there. I am enjoying the hunt though, and again, thanks so much to you and everyone else for providing such useful info.
just remembered a couple of favorite sellers on ebay, berylleb and cctv system. they both have been able to get things i could not find anywhere else. i will put a couple of item links up and you can use the contact seller option and see if they can help. cctv system(cindy) item link 181030527227. berylleb item link 221145381896. don’t be shy about asking. both great ebayers and you can check their seller profiles out. berylleb is one of the most professional ebayers out there. i get a lot from them. you can tell them i sent you, jrs416cars is my ebay id they with both know me. good luck!
Thanks so much for your responses, they are really helpful. I will give these a shot and see what happens, the search is half the fun… hope you had a wonderful holiday!!
I could help you, depending on what you need. Follow/message me.
you are welcome. let me know if i can help you in the pu-erh field.