Last December, I finally ran out of new samples. After that, I began drinking from my stash exclusively. Being an unabashed data nerd I decided to also record my own tea consumption. This is interesting because it is essentially a speed test and can be helpful and informative for my own buying. My uninterrupted drinking was halted in mid January when a whole sleuth of samples arrived creating the obvious caveat of a small data size. Nevertheless, here’s a quick look at the data.
What Do I Drink the Most?
As I strongly suspected I drink semi-aged raw pu’erh the most. This isn’t to say that I prefer drinking it over quality older tea.. It’s more that it hits the right combination of quality base material, variety of storage (older dry-stored teas tend to be $$), overall value, and age (prefer it over the young stuff). I’ve also purchased most of my tea in the last three years which means that my stash hasn’t really aged much. Semi-aged pu’erh also constitutes the majority of my more “serious” sessions. Within this category, I consume mainly from Xishuangbanna with a leaning towards Yiwu. This is somewhat because of what I bought but also my preference. I do own enough northern tea (north of Xishuangbanna) for regular drinking, but I tend not to turn to it very much.
Things I Barely Every Want to Drink…
Young pu’erh.. Young pu’erh surrounds anyone who frequents western-facing online pu’erh stores. Given decent and other options, I just don’t want to drink it. My own stomach has held up fine through multiple young sheng binges, and I am absolutely capable of enjoying it. I just never want to reach for it and certainly not when cost is put into consideration.
I also don’t really consume fresher oolongs, greens or whites but you probably already knew that.
HK Stored Tea & Ripe + Aged Oolongs
I tend to like darker tea and I have always been OK with fermented teas. This predisposes me to HK-stored type tea. I knew this, and these teas do very well on my own speed test. I enjoy drinking them and they’re great to session throughout a workday. A sidenote is that I am also more forgiving than many people towards storage on the humid side.
A bigger surprise was the ripe consumption. I’d always suspected ripe would fall by the wayside along with young raw. Not quite.. While I run the risk of jumping to pre-mature conclusions off just a few sessions, I feel that I’m actually pretty alright with doing a quick session of ripe, especially after doing a longer, session with a long-steeping, semi-aged raw pu’erh. Even with occasional consumption, I have enough ripe to last me for five or so years.
Aged oolong was another mild surprise. Through Origin Tea and my own buying I’ve accumulated a moderate sized amount of this tea, always suspecting it was one of my favorites. I’m now second-guessing that notion. I enjoy drinking the tea, but I haven’t put nearly as much of a dent in it as I thought.
My consumption rate hovers around 6.5-12g a day, probably averaging out to around 10g. In caffeine contents that’s around 2-3 cups of coffee a day. On the higher-end for a smallish person, but nothing superhuman.
In terms of monetary value consumed, it’s an amount that I’m OK with spending averaging out to ~$2USD/daily. You can easily argue that is a lot or a little but for someone who spends so much time thinking, reading, and writing about tea I think it’s not too much. The bigger issue has been moderating the amount spent by buying less tea, as I have spent above $2USD/daily on tea in the past couple years. I can only consume so much, and hoarding is something I hope to avoid. Another reminder, that I should be buying less in quantity and focusing on buying/drinking higher-quality tea.