Five (+1) More Things I Like & Dislike. People Complaining About Price Hikes, Community Group Buys…

Five more things I like & dislike..

People Complaining & Resenting Vendors About Pu’erh Price Increases

I dislike this. If there is a tea you want and like at a certain price, you should just buy it. It should be accepted that if you wait for a year or more, the price will very likely go up or the tea will sell out. This is pu’erh and vendors funds are tied up in holding stock or storing the tea, a price raise with no announcement is perfectly justified..

Sometimes they have to restock and the price has risen. Maocha prices and young tea prices have consistently risen, we’d expect the price of older alternatives to edge up as well. You are not entitled to the same price now and two years from now.. Quit dilly dallying and buy the tea if you want to own it. If you do wait and it rises in price it is your fault, not the vendors. As someone who has spent substantial amounts of money on a dime’s notice for spontaneous group buys, I’m increasingly unsympathetic to people complaining that a tea that has been on sale for 3 years has gone up.

On a semi-related note, people also have terrible memories of what teas used to cost. I’ve seen tea people cite phantom price rises half a dozen times where people incorrectly quote the price as lower than it ever was. Maybe I’m the only one crazy enough to use the Way Back Machine to verify they are wrong!! If you like the tea and the price it is offered, don’t wait. Buy it! And if you wait, please don’t call the vendor greedy.

Vendor’s may want to take note at this one. People seriously resent price increases and interpret it as vendor greed. I don’t have a good solution.. Your price rising might be as predictable as 15-20% yearly in March as Yunnan Sourcing does, but people still act shocked and pissed.

LiquidProust & Emmett & Nug/Alex & Other Folks Removing Barrier to Entry

I’ve covered this in the past but I’ll give them all a shout… Emmett and LP have teamed up together, and individually. You could have varying opinions on either of them or their taste in tea, but in my opinion they’ve both done the tea community a huge service. Both are offering a lot of teas that more traditional western vendors do not, all at sample sizes with minimal markup (lower than serious vendor).

As someone who dislikes packaging and sending out a single package, I think it should be acknowledged that this is hard and oftentimes thankless work. Don’t take them for granted and if the teas pique your interest, I wholeheartedly recommend buying from them. These operations don’t last forever as it is a lot of work and energy to keep going. Go take advantage of what they’re offering them while you can.

See Dead Leaves Club for more group buys.

Home Storage Parameters

Home Storage.

“I Don’t Like XX Type of Tea”. A Lack of Access & Reference Points in the Western Market

While the western market has grown, the diversity of teas offered hasn’t necessarily.. I’ve seen people comment that they don’t like a certain sort of tea (typically semi-aged, traditionally stored/aged pu’erh, or maybe even pu’erh in general). In my opinion, this comment can say a lot more about your access and experience than your actual preference.

As an individual case… Let’s say I were only restricted to buying teas from White2Tea, a vendor with a lot of young tea but not so much aged tea, I’d probably come to the conclusion I prefer young raw over aged. Expanding my access and trying teas from different sources, has taught me otherwise. My advice? Get a lot of reference points from different sources before you start making blanket statements on specific sub-categories of tea or your own preferences. We all roll our eyes when someone says they don’t like pu’erh and their sole experience has been trying Chinatown pu’erh that costs $0.02/g.. Let’s not make the same mistake for ourselves by reading too much into a session or two.

Autumn Tea

I am not one to partake in much young pu’erh, but if you are a real value hunter it may not be a bad idea to look at autumn pu’erh. I think  this tea is often underrated in quality compared with spring, with many just choosing to ignore autumn tea altogether. Sure it probably doesn’t have quite the upside as spring tea, but most of us aren’t buying the best of the best anyways. Spring tea has gone up a lot in price, and I think autumn has risen but lagged a bit more. If you are a young pu person that hates the ever-rising prices, it may be worth taking a flyer or a sampler of some autumn teas.

To those worrying about the aging prospects.. It’s important to remember that specifying season is something that wasn’t really done until the 2000s. It probably wasn’t always just spring tea going into these cakes and many of them have aged very well.

Breaking Up Iron Cakes

I’m 99% certain this fits into one of the layers of hell. Either that or it is one of the chambers of Shaolin. Good luck to the person breaking up an iron cake for a group buy. I want no part of your job.

Storage Arguments

For me this is a clear like. The past one of these ignited some controversy due to some storage opinions. Overall I think discussion and disagreement is a healthy thing.

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7 Responses to Five (+1) More Things I Like & Dislike. People Complaining About Price Hikes, Community Group Buys…

  1. Karl says:

    James,

    I can’t agree more about making the decision to buy the teas you like now rather than complain about the cost increase tomorrow. Early on I tried many Puer types ( Aged, semi aged, new, ripe and raw). I found I liked the teas with age on them the most. After reading a post on some tea site several years ago ( can’t remember where anymore ) I decided to buy as much high quality tea as I could (to the best of my financial ability and my wife’s tolerance). I now have a sigificant stash of good quality aged and semi aged Puer teas that were I to try and buy them or a close substitute today would result in my wife divorcing me. Now I can focus on just 1 or 2 cakes a year of really good tea to supplement my collection and expand into other tea areas. As they say; “Happy wife, happy life” (it’s really true).

  2. Nick says:

    I genuinely can’t imagine why anyone would have a negative opinion of LP and/or Emmett. I suppose someone may have their reasons…. but what they are offering to tea drinkers in the west is really amazing and should be highly appreciated!

    • James says:

      Hi Nick,

      LP is a unique dude, but I agree what he’s doing for the west is a huge service. I can’t even imagine breaking up and shipping a fraction of the boxes that he does. That is annoying and unfun work for 99.9% of people. We are lucky to have him.

      Cheers,
      -James

  3. Alex says:

    Thanks for the shout-out dude!

    Re the iron-cake thing (or pu picks in general), this is all anyone needs to know:

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01N2JTVMF/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o07_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    Not too long to control, a fat ass on it to distribute pressure, nice taper, and made from proper tool-steel. Without it the group-buy splitting would have had me in tears.

  4. Jonny山内 says:

    Ha! Breaking up iron Cakes! My favourite “grumble” so far. Having a quite a few of these I can only suggest keep practicing the Shaolin meditation techniques and one day you may be able to break them with your mind alone ( if that doesn’t work hit hard against the side of the head (repeat if necessary)).
    I feel your pain!

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