Have you tried King Tea Mall? UPD: Bad experience

128 Replies
opilgrim said

I’ve recently purchased teas from King Tea Mall tea and it was a disappointment.

I bought a bunch of Dayi puerh classics from 2000s. Three ripe puerhs turned out to be fake, raws were authentic, though. All three ripes had no aroma and a very plain, weak taste that resembled teas you would get in dumpling restaurants. Not fishy, but definitely not smooth, medium/full bodied and complex.

King Tea Mall sent a refund for the fakes. It wasn’t required by vendor, but I wanted to get vendor’s perspective and paid out of the pocket to return them. King Tea never admitted that they were fake.

Moreover, my account got deleted without any explanation which was really unpleasant (perhaps, even more unpleasant than getting fake teas).

I’ve heard positive reviews, but also words of caution (some coming from prominent tea vlogers) about King Tea Mall. Now based on my personal experience, I would not recommend buying from King Tea Mall.

If you want to experience great raw and ripe puerhs from various regions, try W2T, Bana or YS.

If you are like me and want to explore large factory teas, go to YS, berylleb. stay away from untrustworthy vendors. This will limit your scope, but it will prevent from getting in situations like this.

mrmopar said

Which Dayi cakes did you order? I have been mainly picking up sheng from them. I did a couple of shou but it was younger stuff.
I do know he did a website revamp and I lost my prior account as well. Had to create a new one.

Sqt said

Ditto on loosing my account, they had some technical issues.

Would love to know which Dayi cakes were questionable, and photos if you have them.

opilgrim said

These were the ripes:
2009 DaYi HongYunYuanCha Cake
2007 DaYi HongZhuang Cake
2008 Dayi V93

It is somewhat easier to purchase raw puerhs. Based on my experience, aged/semi-aged Dayi ripes are more likely to be faked than raws.

mrmopar said

I you ever buy Dayi message me before you commit. I have spent a good deal of time learning from some good sources of what they have done to fake the tea. I have gotten much better at picking them out.

I do have the V-93 and the Dayi Hong Yun if you are up to sampling what I have versus what you got.

Have you had the teas before, is that why you think they’re fake?

opilgrim said

I’ve asked about the missing account, but never heard back.

mrmopar: I will definitely reach out, thank you

Sqt & Shine Magical:
I tried 200x Dayi ripes before, not exactly these years, though. In comparison, the taste was weak even when pushed hard, lacking any complexity, hardly sweet, dry leaf didn’t have aroma, empty cup had a very light smell.
Should have taken more photos, I have only one or two: 2007 Menghai “Adorned in Red” Hong Zhuang: https://imgur.com/GpcDFcj

mrmopar said

Doesn’t look like a Dayi. Center is too far off from the middle.

opilgrim said

mrmopar – Agree, it doesn’t taste like Dayi either…

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Do you have any pictures of the cakes you think are fake?

opilgrim said

Should have taken more photos, I have only one or two: 2007 Menghai “Adorned in Red” Hong Zhuang: https://imgur.com/GpcDFcj

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boychik said

How soon did you sample them after arrival opilgrim? You probably know they need some time to acclimate after travel. I used to try teas too soon and later they tasted like 2 different teas…

mrmopar said

Who taught you that trick?

boychik said
mrmopar there is one very good friend of mine shared some tea wisdom with me ;)
mrmopar said

As you shared with me.

opilgrim said

The order arrived quickly. I was travelling at that point, so the teas had around 3 weeks to acclimate. Otherwise, I would have no patience to wait! ;)

mrmopar said

Was it out of the plastic wrap? Or still in the box wrapped up?

opilgrim said

It was in the box for about 2 weeks, about a week unwrapped

Dustin said

How do you acclimate them? Do they need certain conditions to settle in?

AllanK said

There are as many different theories on this as there are puerh drinkers ordering from China. But I think the general consensus is the need about two weeks in open storage to acclimate. Some theories are that the microbes in the tea need to come back to life, etc. Others that they simply need to adjust after a long journey. Still others think this process is not required.

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meowster said

Damn it. I placed an order with them last week for 2 shou cakes…

2011 DaYi XinHeBaiNian Revoluntional Memorial Cake 357g YunNan Menghai Puerh Ripe Tea Cooked Shou Cha

2016 DaYi JinGuo Golden Fruit Cake 357g YunNan Menghai Puerh Ripe Tea Cooked Shou Cha

Is there any way I can tell if they’re fake or not? I’m pretty new to the pu erh world and chose these two after reading reviews…

Sqt said

I wouldn’t worry just yet. I’ve placed around 9-10 orders from there and always been satisified.

Sqt said

I wouldn’t worry too much. I’ve ordered about 20+ cakes from them so far and all have been good, including that 2011 Shou you ordered.

opilgrim said

You can purchase samples from YS and then A/B test it. Good luck!

opilgrim said
mrmopar said

Meowster, I don’t think you will have any problems. I will be glad to look at anything you get. I can tell by the seals and how it is wrapped. You can also use a black light to light up the security seals. Aged raw Dayi is probably 99% of the stuff that is faked in the market. Dayi goes to great lengths to make sure we can spot the differences. I think since about 2007 they have gotten real serious about it and standardized a lot of things making it easier to spot.

meowster said

Awesome. I was just worried because the price of the centennial cake was about half as much as where I found on other sites… which seemed too good to be true lol

mrmopar said

The good think about King is the markup isn’t as high. I don’t think the margins are what the other sellers run. Volume at good pricing will beat the slow sales on high margin stuff. I have gotten Dayi, XiaGuan and Chen Sheng Hao with no issues from any.

AllanK said

I have also placed around eight or ten orders counting when they were on Aliexpress. I have always been pretty happy with what I got. Nothing ever seemed fake to me. I still have a few I bought more than a year ago that I have not even opened but I am not worried at all because I have always got good tea. Got a ripe Dayi Lao Cha Tou nugget that was if I remember from 1996. It was really good. With this particular product the only way to determine if it was a fake was by taste and it passed with flying colors.

John Hou said

Hi meowster
Please don’t worry about the authenticity and storage condition of these tea. I am here and have full responsibility to these teas sold by me.
Kind regards
John

meowster said

ironically this thread (before the updated negative experience) is actually what led me to discover KingTeaMall and pull the trigger on purchasing lol.

My initial thoughts were actually quite impressed with the customer service. I was not expecting pictures of my products (in addition to two samples I think?) being included in the shipping email.

I look forward to getting my cakes!

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John Hou said
Message deleted by author.
opilgrim said

I have no doubts in your honesty that you will send samples from the cake I’ve returned..

You did send me two low res photos of the teas (120kn and 70kb), I did not include them here because you can’t see the details.

I didn’t notice significant issues with the wraps, I mostly drank samples or got parts of cakes of those Dayi ripes.

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John Hou said
Message deleted by author.
opilgrim said

Thanks for the refund.

I’ve sent you an email about the missing account, but never heard back.

AllanK said

I have gotten a lot of good ripe from you even once coming back for a tong.

John Hou said

Allan
I am grateful. Thank you.
John

mrmopar said

I have purchased from you since you were on Aliexpress. I know I have bought a bunch with no issues on either site you have operated.

John Hou said

Mrmopar
A “Thanks” can’t fully express my feeling now.
John

P.S. To all of you guys like Mrmopar, please let me say “Thank you”

opilgrim said

John Hou – No need to restore the account. I have recreated the list of teas for purchase and already bought them from a different vendor.

You confirmed here that you simply ignored my email about the deleted Tea Mall account. The tone and the questions you asked about restoring my account are quite telling too.

It’s all good, that’s exactly the point of this thread — provide info to those who decide on vendors to purchase tea from.

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John Hou said

I won’t let us make any customer disappoint because of our bad products or bad service and any friends be humiliated because they trust us or introduced even recommended us to any one.
That is my word.

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John Hou said
Message deleted by author.
opilgrim said

They are all here

mrmopar said

Steepster has been down a few days. Your posts should be up.

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qingshuini said

Honestly from the pictures John posted on IG they look legit to me though obviously I can’t taste them. The fact that he is posting pictures of the cakes plus offering samples to anyone to try says a lot about his belief in the legitimacy of these teas. I also think it’s a bit harsh to throw the “fake” word out there so easily and so publicly when all you have to base your assumptions on are similar but unrelated cakes. Not every cake is going to live up to or give you the same experience of another tea even of the same year. I’ll be interested to hear others thoughts when they look at the photos and sample the teas themselves. Hopefully someone with much experience with these teas will shed much more light. Also the fact he refunded right away says a lot of his integrity too. There are no perfect tea vendors but honestly hope you’re wrong in your assessment opilgrim.

opilgrim said

To reiterate — I was not after “the same experience”, I was after amazing Dayi ripe taste (or pallets of tastes to be precise) that I like so much. I drank these teas from different years and also tried other aged Dayi ripes. Three ripes in my order were way off in terms of the taste and smell (more on that above).

mrmopar said

@qingshuini, any chance to follow me so we can message?

qingshuini said

@mrmopar done.

qingshuini said

Not every Dayi ripe is going to have that taste profile you’re expecting even from different vendors. When that happens will you consider those fakes as well? Also only one of those three teas would be worth faking, (the only one over $50), and even then doubtful given how low cost they all are. Folks who sell fakes want to make money and they can’t do that if the cake isn’t in huge demand. Also you’ve been offered samples by mrmopar but sadly there are even flaws with this because anything sent will already be better in your mind in comparison to what you’ve settled on as fakes. That and storage will be different most likely. Only true way to compare would be tasting the new tea all blindly side by side with the tea you returned and only if storage conditions were similar. On another note, I have no idea of your depth of experience with Dayi or pu’er in general as you haven’t provided that information so adequately judging your accuracy in deeming something fake makes it harder to do especially since your account seems new. Also it would help if when mentioning folks who’ve had critique of a vendor as a means to validate you probably should give links to those people such as the prominent vloggers you mention. Anyway my two cents…

opilgrim said

qingshuini:

“anything sent will already be better in your mind”

You are making way too many assumptions about my tasting process.

“I have no idea of your depth of experience with Dayi or pu’er in general as you haven’t provided that information so adequately judging your accuracy in deeming something fake makes it harder to do especially since your account seems new.”

I’m not asking to check my tea credentials or validate my Dayi expertise. Although I know that there are always forum folks out there who mistakenly see themselves as “validators” (not to be confused with critical thinking).

I shared my negative experience and I hope it will help those who are making their purchasing decisions.

Storage and one/two year difference in age will have some impact on the taste and smell of the same recipe Dayi ripes that are less than 10 years old. However, the difference will not be very significant. Your point that one has to compare exactly same age and storage ripes is not convincing.

qingshuini said

“Storage and one/two year difference in age will have some impact on the taste and smell of the same recipe Dayi ripes that are less than 10 years old. However, the difference will not be very significant.”

Actually even one to two years of storage difference can make a huge difference in taste especially when dealing with Hong Kong or Malaysian storage vs a place like Kunming. Also there can also be a great difference in recipe from year to year which is why some years are in more demand than others.

On one last note do you realize the time, energy and money it would take to not only fake the wrapper but also the box for a tea that only costs $12.64 US? The labor and printing etc just wouldn’t be worth it. Again these teas aren’t of high enough value or demand to be worth faking.

You’ll also see from the many posts that your negative experience with this vendor hasn’t been shared in fact most stating how much success they’ve had in purchasing from him. That is why so many have asked you about acclimation, your steeping parameters and other details because it seems so unlikely your assessment is valid.

Anyway, best of luck with your future purchases from your alternate vendors.

opilgrim said

qingshuini:

The fact that there are positive reviews shared by other members of this forum doesn’t make my negative review less valid.

I think you are operating under a false assumption that everyone has to have the same experience.

Here’s an example of fake Menghai 7572 901 ripe cakes purchased in 2010 – https://www.teachat.com/viewtopic.php?t=12141

meowster said

so did the cakes have the fake features discussed on that thread?

qingshuini said

“I think you are operating under a false assumption that everyone has to have the same experience.”

Not at all. I know that many have a different tea experience than others do. That comes across in the hundreds of tea reviews posted regularly here and on other media. However what I am saying is that you seem to be the only one I’ve ever seen claiming fakes from this vendor. I’ve not seen that claim here or on any other tea forums or on any social media. Even the TeaChat link you provided was regarding a fake purchased from a physical tea market. Even according to your initial email to John you were unsure it was fake or a storage condition. Anyway we could go back and forth forever but we’d be wasting each other’s time. We both have our own opinions. I hope you find what you’re looking for as far as taste profiles from other vendors. All the best…

AllanK said

I do know one thing about this seller from experience. When he gets your order in to his warehouse he checks it over thoroughly. At least one time he found the product lacking and didn’t send it. If I remember correctly he suggested another product that was similar but quite a bit more expensive. However he did not charge me the difference but the original, cheaper price.

mrmopar said

@meowster, it is pretty easy to tell from that thread. The seals on the back and the wrapping were dead giveaways from that thread. Also the inner Neifei wasn’t placed or looked like it should have. Haven’t had a closeup of the others yet.

@mrmopar, I think meowster wanted to know if the cakes of opilgrim had those characteristics.

mrmopar said

Woops my bad. Post edited.

meowster said

yup.

I also think it’s quite interesting that OP hasn’t responded to my question…

opilgrim said

meowster – have you actually read the whole thread and my replies in particular?

meowster said

yes, and other than the off taste and the off center beeng, it doesn’t seem like there are other indicators that they’re fake. Since you linked that post, I was wondering if there are other signs (like the darker colored wrapper or the hidden neifei).

AllanK said

You mention you were after “that amazing Dayi ripe taste”. I have had Dayi ripes that had that taste and some that didn’t. They can be real and not have "that amazing Dayi ripe taste.

opilgrim said

Two things caught my attention on the 2007 ripe, but unlike the taste and smell these were just suspicions: neifei was hardly obscured by the leafs (1 or 2 leafs usually there’s more), “S” sign on the wrapper was positioned slightly differently than on photos from YS and other websites. I don’t see it as an evidence, just something to explore further.

Good luck with your order.

qingshuini said

The difference between the position of the QS symbol has to do with the difference in grams of the cakes. The 400g cake had the symbol closer to the left edge, (YS cake), whereas the 500g cake, (Kingtea), has it further inside to the right. You can see the differences on the sites or referenced here on TeaDB: https://teadb.org/puproject/teas/hong-zhuang/1567

As for the neifel being only partially covered by leaf, that happens regularly with DaYi and if you were to look at various pictures of different DaYi cakes on the YS site you’d find some with only a couple leaves covering.

Nothing out of the ordinary with either of those scenarios posted by opilgrim.

opilgrim said

AllanK – Yes. I figured it out by drinking Dayi ripes 2004 – 2010. To me that Dayi ripe taste/aroma pallet is amazing. Did you think I was expecting certain taste, smell and look from all ripes?..

I will stop here and will rather go enjoy another great Dayi ripe.

qingshuini said

“You mention you were after “that amazing Dayi ripe taste”. I have had Dayi ripes that had that taste and some that didn’t. They can be real and not have "that amazing Dayi ripe taste.”

Exactly Allan and you would know this well given all your purchases. Grin.

AllanK said

My experience with King Tea Mall is he sells good tea. I have put in eight or ten orders from him, mostly ripe teas but from a variety of manufacturers. I have always gotten good tea from him. Not always what I would call phenomenal but good at the very least. You seem to be the only person who has had a bad experience with King Tea Mall so far as I know.

opilgrim said

I’m not after good tea, Allan, I’m after authentic tea.There’s a difference.
I shared my experience. If more people share the same sentiment here that doesn’t make it more or less real.
Not sure what’s the value of repeating the same argument all over again on the same thread. SEO? JK.

qingshuini said

At this point it’s useless to debate the subject with the OP as they have made up their mind that it’s fake tea. Even after people have established the authenticity of the wrappers/packaging, etc and the look of the actual leaf it will be still regarded as inauthentic. I’d imagine after several people have drank samples of the actual tea the OP had and confirm its authenticity they may still claim fake tea. 99 out of a 100 people could praise kingtea and the products or the actual tea in question and it would probably still be in question. There have been folks with much experience in identifying DaYi cakes that have spoken so far but still here we are. It’s obvious the OP isn’t familiar with the cakes as others are just by the comments on the QS symbol and neifel. Also believing there is a certain “Dayi ripe taste/aroma pallet” with every DaYi ripe is ridiculous. Like Allan has stated there are going to be some duds you get that won’t be amazing or even that good. It happens. I seriously think an official factory representative could come on to this thread and stamp their seal of approval on the tea in question and still be dismissed. I think it’s time we just end the discussion. It’s hard to believe anyone will come to the same conclusion as the OP in this matter unless they know little of the tea and/or brand in question. Most who have been in the pu’er community for some time have already dismissed this claim here, on Facebook, on Instagram, on different Tea communities and privately. It’s just a shame the vendor had to deal with this issue at all. Anyway I’m sure opilgrim will chime in now. I’m done.

opilgrim said

qingshuini;
“Even after people have established the authenticity of the wrappers/packaging, etc and the look of the actual leaf it will be still regarded as inauthentic. ”

I see you like to imagine things and put words into others mouth. I’m glad you are done.

I will continue interacting with other forum members who are constructive in their critique or support.

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AllanK said

I think taste alone is not the best way to tell a fake. I know sometimes a perfectly good tea doesn’t taste that good to me and it is usually my taste buds inability to get the more complex notes, or I just brewed the tea wrong. I am not saying they were not fakes but that you should go on more than taste. When I am in a rut teas may not taste good to me for days.

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