2016 sheng, 7542?
I am new here and I guess my tea log wil show you that I am still finding my way into tea. I have started to seriously taking up tea in order to reduce my (sugared) coffee consumption, and so far so good! I have learned that I like greens, buttery oolongs and shengpu, and for the latter I clearly am in the factory tea discovery phase.
I came in just too late to follow the year 2016 in pu, but where to many 2016 was “the year of the weird elections”, for me it was primarily the year in which my daughter was born. So I suppose you can guess it from here: I would not mind aging a decent classic sheng alongside her :D just to find out in a year or 20 who of us will actually still dare to drink whatever comes out.
I would consider a 7542 as the most classic option. However, it seems like all the more reliable shops do stock 2015 and 2017, but not 2016 anymore. So, what happened to the 2016 stock? Anywhere I can still find some?
Or, can you recommend a nice (modern) alternative? There’s lots out there with cute little monkeys on the wrapper (year of the monkey), which totally suits my daughter at least presently :D But of course wrappers alone do not a good pu make.
I just so happen to have easy access to some Xiaguan fancy-name beengs and a Wuguling from 2016, likely all imported from eBay / Taobao, but I have trouble judging any of these. (I don’t suppose they’re fake, but I simply cannot judge their value as an original.) So all in all: advice and discussions are welcome!
I’m in Europe BTW, the Netherlands.
Budget permitting, you could go for one of these, instead of a factory cake:
I think a tong or raw 7542 is around $200… I’ll look it up when I get home and send you the info.
Congrats on the daughter as well. May she bring you many blessings!
A 7542 is a good one to age. I wouldn’t just limit it to that one. A 7532 is another one that can age well and if you think a shou cake in there a 7632 is a great ripe as well. If you like coffee that one or some lao cha will fill the bill as a replacement.
I would also check out a specialized vendor as well. There are lots of sellers with teas that will be as good as or better than some factory teas. I would sample and try some of the others so you can gain some taste profiles of your own. The tea harvests the last 2 years have had some tough weather to get through. Harvests were down for the last two years. That may explain the scarcity of some productions.
As LP said, a tong is an easy split.
here is a 2016 listing.
I just realized something I forgot when posting: that I need not hasten to buy anything now that will still be in stock (for a fair price) after I have gained some more experience.
For the 7542 I feared that they might already be scarce, but it my also just be a coincidence in what the stores decide to stock? For instance, I see that Kingteamall has 7542 in stock for all recent years except 2015, but then Yunnansourcing does (but in turn has no 2016). So maybe I need not fear yet, but just keep a good eye on the sellers that you pointed out; thanks for that.
Still, I’m intrigued by the comments on the harvest conditions. What do you guys expect / observe in general of the year 2016 in Pu? Do you ever discuss vintages like that here? I had half expected it, but missed out on these discussions so far :D
As for buying ouside of 7542: I guess a good tactic would be to get acquainted with some already-aged flavour profiles first, and then get some 2016 representations of anything I like. Now that’s a burden of a quest to take on! :)
Could you guys explain what you mean in this context by splitting a tong? Like, buy it together with other folks from Europe? I’m also not completely sure what source Liquid Proust is quoting. Still new here :)
A lot of the specialty vendors that are popular on Steepster (W2T, Tea Urchin, Yunnan Sourcing, et. al.) that produce their own brand of cakes often sell out within a year or two of introduction. This should be less of a problem with Dayi or Xiaguan, since they have so much more production. It is possible that sampling those vendors could lead to frustration.
A tong is 7 cakes wrapped in bamboo. Feel free to message me about details : )
I just didn’t know if you were looking to store a few or have just one; either way, I have lots of ways to get what you’re looking for & you can trust mrmopar on most things too : )
You do not really have to wait before your purchase in order to gain experience on various puerh. A standard recipe from a standard factory is a safe bet, so you can purchase a full cake of what andresito linked right now, and then spend the next few years building your experience with samples before buying further cakes.
Vintages in tea are not as refined as in wine. So you may find talk of the change in quality post the puerh boom which caused over-picking or the changes after a factory went through a major overhaul and so on. The quality of factory recipes however tend to remain relatively uniform over the years. Within a particular year, you may prefer to purchase a spring production instead of summer or autumn ones. The first production of the year is often more preferred and priced higher. If you look at the wrapper of the cake in kingteamall, below the recipe number, it says 1601 – which I believe means the first production of the year 2016 – that is the vintage you should be looking for.
Have you heard of Teamania? They have some good offerings in their private line up. Swiss based I think.
Just out of curiosity, with numbered factory cakes like the 7542, how big is the difference in quality between batch 1601 and batch 1602?
I’m not experienced or knowledgeable enough to comment on this, try asking in other forums like Teachat or Facebook puerh group.
Similar but different. Treat them as different teas. Generally speaking, for example it may be rainy one day so the drying process may need a fire (more smoke) or an oven. Whereas the previous batch was completely sun dried. Or some batches may have tea from a previous year, or other differences between batches. I’ve heard the difference in price is not worth the difference in quality if you’re just looking to drink not collect/resell. But I’m not sure it’s safe to view batch 2 is like getting batch 1 at bargain price either. best to sample first if you know what to look for.
If one wishes to study the different possibilities in taste of the same tea leaves (same year/terroir/processing) across different seasons, then having something like the different flushes of Darjeeling would be the way to go about it.
However in the case of standard factory recipes of puerh, as andresito says, I expect they will be mostly similar, with inevitable differences due to the various factors mentioned.
Generally speaking for collector value one wants the earliest 01 pressing rather than the 02 or 03. Taetea 7542 01 is the puerh market benchmark tea for the quality of the year in general for the puerh market in China. The price and quality of this recipe each year is a puerh tea headline on puercn industry news, and watched carefully by producers and factories alike.
Wow, now I’m suddenly confused about the eBay seller by the name of lovepuerhtea — I see they have some pre-2000 CNNP pu that I totally can’t decipher but looks rather impressive for 30-50 usd. Is that price explainable, or is it an alarm bell?
Alarm bell. You cannot find tea that old for that price. The market is loaded with fakes and pasted brands. This time is before all the security seals and such that we have now. Here is an article on some eBay stuff and I concur with what is said in this post.
The younger cake from Dayi is legit. Pictures are correct with seal paper folding and seal placement. The older one you linked is an entirely different matter. The older stuff was easy to fake but the newer stuff is usually easy to spot. The 7542 they have is legit. I wouldn’t vouch for the other. Lots of sellers have the real stuff as well as the fake in their storefronts. You just have to learn what to look for.
I feel there’s a few life lessons for me in your observation, so please allow me to be picky a bit more:
- Why do you trust the seller to deliver what the pictures show? E.g. because of previous experiences or eBay rating?
- How is it that the the fakes don’t bother you? E.g. because you think the seller doesn’t know or care much, or because they might actually be decent pasted-label cakes?
- Do you trust the descriptions for these tiepai’s on their own merit? For instance, one has a whole description about India storage and camphor.
- Is them offering the cheapest 7542 not an alarm bell in its own right?
Thank you for your patience :) I think the lessons may be more important at this point than the actual buy that will follow.
(I think I will eventually get a 2016 and a ~2008 in, one for aging and one for drinking, and get a broader focus on any next buy.)
I have the same cake I linked to you purchased from them. It passed all the three security merits in wrapping , correct seal placement and the fluorescent test. That was why I linked that one as the cheapest option I knew of. Ebay does hold their feet to the fire in a way if the product isn’t as described or same as pictured.
Fakes really don’t bother me too much as I have gotten my share of them as I learned as well. Some were ok and others, you can guess file 13. I do buy stuff sometimes that looks good and take a chance. Albeit I don’t do it as often a I once did. I am currently trying to obtain the real stuff. There are a plenty out there and even among respected sellers.
Correct Dayi seal and wrapping on back of cake.
Incorrect wrapping. Wouldn’t touch it with a 10 foot pole.
Sellers description, caveat emptor. Best piece of advice is to get to know and work with a seller you trust.
On the price my personal thought would be a marketing loss leader. Simply sold at or under cost to build feedback. It is a common practice that new sellers do. I can and do take advantage of these things as I can be a bit frugal.
I will also never buy a Dayi cake that doesn’t have a picture of the back of the cake. Too much re-wrapping going on. Dayi tea is counterfeited more in China than the currency is.
Older doesn’t always mean more expensive though. Some vendors don’t take care of good storage and end up with unsellable cakes. It might be the real thing, but it isn’t good anymore. I find pu erh cakes between 1996-2007 especially hard to curate.
I agree about storage. Some of it isn’t done right at all. I agree about the 2007 prior teas. It has become much easier with the security seals and such now.
Btw, I’ve purchased Dayi from an indirect source with the label and decent wrapping. But then I looked closely at the label and it seemed a bit off. Especially the silver line in the Dayi label is apparently hard to imitate.
Thanks all for the help, and mrmopar for the patience as well. I ordered the commemorative plaque through the eBay vendor. Maybe I’ll add some more sophisticated stuff to the heap when the hobby sticks and I get more knowledgeable.
For that, I’m planning to put an order of broad samples in from either w2t or ys. Like shopping online for candy… :)
No bother at all. One day you will be asked the same probably so it is just a learning process. I am still learning as well as I think it takes a lifetime to learn…
I am going to link a couple on here that exceed the dollar amount when I bought them. I think they punch above a 7542 in terms of oomph and taste.
1601 7542 is a great tea to buy now; I’d be wary of smaller productions for aging as you never know how they will age!
We’re building up stock in the Netherlands during this year, and will probably start selling this to European customers later this year. Feel free to contact us if you’re looking for good pu erh :)
Small world :) I previously ordered with you. When I happened to run into some customs trouble, I found you quick and thorough in your responses, but to my surprise also in Dutch. (Anyone can set up a .nl mirror site, so I was pleased to find out you had done more than just that. Don’t forget to advertise your strong points!)
In fact, I may just have started this discussion due to your announcement that you started stocking the 2017’s because the 2016’s had become pricier with Dayi.
I’m spending today watching after the little girl as she is feverish (teething hopefully), so naturally I already ended up ordering samples from all over the shop at Yunnan Sourcing, but I’m also still looking for an excuse to order with you in any next budget round. I happened upon some Yixing ware (which I might later report on separately) which took your Wuyi sampler to a great leap. I’m still gathering my tasting notes for all 8 types though, that may take a while :)
So yeah, I keep a close eye on your catalogue and would of course encourage your initiative to come living next door!