Dxniel said

Same cooked (ripe) puerh, but different year. Is there a difference?

I wanted to buy this puerh cake: http://www.dragonteahouse.biz/xia-guan-xiao-fa-tuo-cha-puer-tea-2011-100g-ripe/
I noticed that they also sell the same cake, but from the year 2006: http://www.dragonteahouse.biz/xia-guan-xiao-fa-tuo-cha-puer-tea-2006-100g-ripe/

Would there be any difference between the 2? I mean, puerh takes like 20 years to ripen, but when they’re ‘cooked’, does age still matter at all?
I was thinking of getting the 2006 one which costs twice as much as the 2011 one (2011 costs about 6 dollars, 2006 about 12 dollars). But if there is no quality difference I’d basically be paying twice as much for an irrelevant number.

Please let me know what you think.

20 Replies
Uniquity said

Odds are high they will taste really different. There is no guarantee as to which one you will prefer but they most likely won’t taste the same. Both seem very inexpensive (though I know that is relative!) If you can afford it, get one of each and compare them for yourself as a way to learn more about the changes from one year to the next, aging, etc. If not, try to find reviews and see what people say each tastes like then go for the one you’re more interested in.

Dxniel said

I couldn’t find reviews on both of these teas.
I might just order one of each and try them both out.

Thanks for your reply :).

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I love the idea of comparing the same pu-erh from different years to see how the aging process impacts the flavor and aroma.

I went ahead and ordered the two ripe teas you listed and I ordered two raw teas from different years as well (2012 and 2007):

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mrmopar said

The harvest with the seasonal changes can affect the tea. Variables like humidity, temperature and sunlight exposure can vary from year to year and the leaves will not be exactly the same. Major producers “blend” different types of leaves in a way that resembles us adding things to a cake or cookie batch. Try to add the same things to get the same result. Most major teas are blends with leaf from many different ares.

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Dr Jim said

Steepster has a tasting note available for the 2007:


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In looking at the same tea from this seller, one thing I don’t understand is the pricing structure. Perhaps it’s just this particular seller, but there does not seem to be a consistent and direct correlation between the age of the pu-erh and the price. Meaning, if we are looking at the same tea from different years, shouldn’t the price steadily go up as the tea gets older? I assume there may be some variation to this, but why is a 2007 tea cheaper than a 2014 tea? I am assuming there are other factors at work here, perhaps supply of a particular year, for example. Or, perhaps one year has a reputation for being a good year for that particular tea.

In the list below, I believe these are the same teas of the same size and same grade/quality, but from different years:

http://www.dragonteahouse.biz/xiaguan-jia-ji-tuo-cha-puer-tea-2014-raw/ ………………………$7.99
http://www.dragonteahouse.biz/xiaguan-jia-ji-tuo-cha-puer-tea-2013-raw-100g-3-5-oz/ ……..$7.99
http://www.dragonteahouse.biz/xiaguan-jia-ji-tuo-cha-puer-tea-2012-100g-3-5-oz-raw/ ……..$6.49
http://www.dragonteahouse.biz/xiaguan-jia-ji-tuo-cha-puer-tea-2011-100g-raw/ ……………….$7.49
http://www.dragonteahouse.biz/xiaguan-jia-ji-tuo-cha-puer-tea-2010-100g-raw/ ……………….$6.69
http://www.dragonteahouse.biz/xia-guan-jia-ji-tuo-cha-2009-100g-raw/ …………………………..$12.99
http://www.dragonteahouse.biz/xiaguan-jia-ji-tuo-cha-puer-tea-2007-100g-raw/ ……………….$7.49
http://www.dragonteahouse.biz/xiaguan-jia-ji-tuo-cha-puer-tea-2006-100g-raw/ ……………….$8.99
http://www.dragonteahouse.biz/xiaguan-jia-ji-tuo-cha-puer-tea-2001-100g-raw/ ………………..$59.99

My guess is some are more expensive because they come with the box (shipping is included in the price).

Does anyone have any speculation as to why some of the older teas are cheaper than the newer ones?

Dxniel said

Some of them come in paper, some in boxes. Perhaps that can explain at least some of it.
Some seem to have stamps or some kind of indentation while others don’t. Maybe they were re-branded? Just speculating.
The 2001 one is pretty close to being a naturally aged ripe puerh cake. I think that naturally ripened puerh is always more expensive than ‘cooked’ puerh.

Thanks, Dxniel.

Now that you mention it, I notice how some are ‘stamped’, or whatever you call it, and some are not; interesting.

I was surprised at how much more in price the 2001 is; the description also states “Excellent dry storage, rare.” Which makes me think storage may be one of the reasons some older ones are cheaper than the younger ones. That then makes me wonder, if some say they are stored well, and some don’t, does that mean the ones that don’t list anything about storage necessarily mean they weren’t stored well? I think that is an interesting question; and that is why the more information they provide about the tea, (including storage) the better. And, just because they state that the storage is excellent, or even good, doesn’t necessarily mean it is true; that is where trust in the vendor comes in.

Dxniel said

I just sent them a message asking them why some older puerh cakes are cheaper than some of the younger ones.

Awesome! I’d love to hear their response, and hopefully it’s not, ‘Ooops, we should be charging more for the older stuff’!

Dxniel said

The reason some of the younger ones are cheaper might be because there is a group of people that like to drink very young puerh teas as opposed to puerh that is a few years old. Maybe when the puerh is fresh it is relatively high in price, but the price decreases with time when the puerh is neither very young or old, but starts increasing again once it is starting to near it’s ripe stage.

I was also thinking that the reason might simply be a mistake. Maybe they had difficulty keeping track of price/age consistency.

I have seen some tea samples being sold for a relatively cheaper price than if you’d buy 100g of the tea. So you’d be better off buying 100g worth of samples than you would if you were to place an order for 100g of tea.
So it might just be a mistake.

We’ll see. I’ll let you know what Dragon Tea House’ has to say about this question once they send me a reply.

Dxniel said

By the way, I forgot to mention…
If you’re going to order from dragonteahouse.biz, you might want to consider creating an account. When you have an account, everything is a bit cheaper (probably by 10% or so). Like the 2001 puerh that costs $59.99 would only cost $53.99 when logged on an account.

Oh, that’s cool. : )

I already ordered, and I did create an account, but I didn’t get any discount.

I just tried adding something to my cart, while logged in, and even before the final process of checking out I didn’t see any discount. Is there a code or something you have to enter to get a discount with an account?

Dxniel said

You can compare the prices when you log on and off. You’ll see that the prices drop by about 10%. I don’t think they show you in the cart like you might expect. Things just simply cost less when signed in.
Try adding those items to your cart when you’re not signed on your account. It will probably cost more.

Dxniel said

I received their reply. They gave me a very short, straight-forward answer.
“Vintage is not the only factor that decide price. Market supply, storage, promotion will affect price too.”

Thanks for providing their reply.

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boychik said

i read that prices on mao cha went up so much(raw material they press cakes from), that young cakes are more expensive than older ones. Also it depends on a harvest. it doesnt mean that young is better than older one. just tea market prices

Thanks, boychik.

Interesting about the price increase on mao cha.

How do you know if a harvest is a good one or not?

boychik said

I dont ;)

But they do, probably based on sampling and reviews, and demand


I read the post and the replies; it was interesting and informative.

Thank you.

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