How Much is Your Vendor Marking Up Your Pu’erh?

No one wants to pay for unnecessary things, but even so very few of us know the actual cost of goods, or actual item cost that the vendor bought the tea for. We’re often left clueless about what their markup might be. There are inevitable costs of running a business that we as consumers don’t really think about. Certainly not often. Storefronts, sourcing, marketing, sample costs, a living wage. The money you pay for the tea will go towards not just your tea but as presumably some amount of profit for the vendor.. Are you paying for fancy boxes, marketing material, padding the vendors pockets or is your $$ going to the actual tea. Pu’erh has the advantage of being sold as a labeled cake, which makes it easier to cross-check prices against the Chinese market and help to determine if we are paying a fair and reasonable price.

A few tales of (IMO) egregious markup..

  • A Minnesota/now China-based vendor marks up standard factory tea by nearly 1000%.
  • A very popular teashop in Canada sells a 1998 Yiwu Brick for approximately 800% the actual cost of material when acquired at the retail price in Taiwan.
  • An Austin vendor selling purportedly gushu tea for $200 and an eventual retail price of $300 or $35/oz.. The tea is actually a commonly available factory tea sold on taobao for $30 or Yunnan Sourcing for $60.
  • Santa Cruz-based vendor sells a 2007 7572 (ripe pu’erh) for $300USD when the official Dayi production sells for under $30.

Buying a Case or Two

Whether you are a vendor or a consumer and are buying a tea in bulk it’s reasonable to look for a discount. Because vendors will tend to buy in some amount of quantity it’s an area which they can help to cut costs by getting a better deal on the tea. This helps to keep the cost of goods down and is an advantage of bigger vendors with deeper pockets who can sit on a case or two for a while. 

Generic Zhongcha.

Generic Zhongcha Wrapper & Fancy Dayi Peacock Cake.

Free Shipping Ain’t Free…

When a vendor is setting their prices and shipping policies, they need to make sure they earn money.. When they offer free shipping, the item cost as well as shipping cost are always worked into the pricing. The same applies for “buy $X amount and get free shipping”. Assuming the vendor isn’t clueless, they will figure out how much they want to make and apply that to the minimum case (i.e. spending exactly $100).

  • This means for vendors that offer free shipping on all items, the % markup will nearly always be higher per item.. It also means that the markup becomes disproportionately higher for large orders. This can really be highlighted when put against a vendor that offers lower item prices but higher shipping. Individual item free shipping is often not a very good idea, but it becomes an increasingly terrible idea as the order gets big. See below.
  • Pet Peeve: I find people that cling to free shipping as a requirement, exceedingly frustrating to convince/deal with… ARGGHH.

Alright. So What is a Normal Vendor Markup?

A friend that used to run an online tea business told me that a customer found out his markup was 50% on a particular item (i.e. the tea cost $100 for the vendor to acquire and he sold it for for $150). The customer was put off thinking my vendor friend was literally making a killing .. Alas, that’s an extremely misguided thought.. 50% is not only a very low markup, it’s abnormally low and rare for our specialized tea niche. Running a business costs money and the proprietor expects to cover their costs and make a profit. A markup at around 100% markup is on the low-end and is perfectly acceptable. Something a bit higher is also certainly not highway robbery. That also doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try to get the best price. Here’s a couple scenarios.

Case #1: The cheapest 2005 Xiaguan 8653 cake..

  • Sold by a reliable taobao vendor in China for 161RMB (item) or $24.60.
  • Sold by a reliable ebay vendor in China for $64.99 (item), a markup of 165%. Even if you paid $20 for fees and shipping just a single cake from taobao, the taobao listing would still be ~$20 cheaper. This is a very, very common example.

Case #2: 2007 Mengku tips cake.. An LP group buy favorite.

  • Sold by a reliable taobao vendor in China for 58RMB (item) or $8.88.
  • Sold by two ebay vendors. An international vendor for $28, (a markup of 215%) and an domestic one for $68 (a markup of 665%). Hey, at least shipping is free! Knowing the actual item cost, makes the cake sold for $28 looks an awful lot more expensive, not to mention the one sold for $68. This should also make you think twice about insisting on domestic only vendors with free shipping.

A few generalizations and estimations. A low markup vendor (i.e.White2Tea, Yunnan Sourcing), will usually be around 100% of the CN item retail cost + a little bit. Other generally respected vendors markups can vary anywhere between 100%-350% of the CN item retail cost. If you’re curious, do some taobao plug and play with babelcarp. These markups might sound surprisingly high, but are typical.. It’s also good to have some idea of the Chinese market and the actual goods sold to avoid situations like the ones above.. Judging from just the price and a couple pictures, it can be hard to tell if a $100 cake cost the vendor $50 to acquire or just $5.. And of course… If there’s an alternative to get your tea at a lower price, it’s usually a good idea to do so..

So what about these taobao vendors that we’re using as a price baseline? They didn’t make the tea.. Aren’t they just resellers too? Yes in most cases.. Some of these operations have some sort of deal with the larger entity, such as Xiaguan or Menghai to acquire very large quantities of teas at some sort of discount. As the market expands, I’d optimistically hope that operations like these become increasingly easy to navigate and buy directly from in the future.

  • I would also be extraordinarily cautious with your neighborhood teashops and pu’erh. I’ve heard of tales of some truly awful ripoffs (i.e. $1000 for 10 year old factory stuff) at some of these places.
  • As a final note. Many have remarked it’s much easier to get away with marking up a pile of rolled up leaves, aka oolong. This is absolutely true.. With pu’erh we at least have the advantage of being able to cross-check the wrapper with what other vendors are allegedly selling the tea for.
  • More reading: Thoughts by Cwyn on shipping.
Pu'erh Tong.

From the depths of the pu’erh cave.

This entry was posted in Aged Pu'erh, Article, Raw Pu'erh, Ripe Pu'erh, Tea Learning, Tea Musings. Bookmark the permalink.

66 Responses to How Much is Your Vendor Marking Up Your Pu’erh?

  1. Charlie in Richmond says:

    Interesting article… thanks James! From the few experiences I’ve had to look at the numbers of US retailers, it is very common to have 300% mark-ups if they have store front. For example, I once saw that a pool and spa store was paying $500 for deck furniture and selling it for $1,500. Also in the vitamin world, they will often pay $3.33 for a bottle which they will sell for $9.99. I would assume or hope on-line businesses would need less of a mark-up.

    Great point about free shipping!… not so free.

  2. Cwyn says:

    Having sold quite a bit online myself, the time involve with photographing, listing, packaging and shipping, as well as travel to postal outlets and dealing with customer issues, my hourly wage for a $9.99 item is, you guessed it, well below minimum wage. While the profit for that item might be 800% or higher, you aren’t making much of a living. At least one vendor complains online about customers ordering only samples or a single cake, all the above time-related activities are part of the reason why. After over a decade of selling stuff online, I won’t even bother selling any item under $20. As I get older, my time is worth more to me.

    House productions have other costs, transportation and factory time, paying factory workers to press cakes. Wrappers and printing are small costs by comparison but designing a label and getting the printing done is yet more time. Bottom line, the dealer of puerh tea is not getting rich, they are doing what they do for the love of tea.

    • Toby says:

      damn right!

    • Deven says:

      Great topic

      In today’s market even little girls are ruthless, I don’t care if this is to pay for your lake camping trip, you can’t haggle or bargain down a price! It’s infuriating, they have a monopoly. Which is illegal!!! They know how much I love Thin Mints and by golly I’ll pay for them. But you know the product before you buy it. It’s quality assured (they don’t even offer samples), and refundable if not satisfactory. If say Oreo put another companies label on the box with not the same tea..ehem sorry I meant cookie, or changed the formula/taste of those synthetic flavor bombs into duds. It’s not my fault Master Sage Lu trained a bunch of monkeys to pick the tea from the top of the tree. What’s wrong with the bottom or the sides of the tree? Why not get a ladder and maybe some people to do the picking? Frankly it sounds like it’s either Very expensive or just made up. But it seems tea vendors only know mystical monkey tree picking prices. Good thing too because how else are we going to afford $60 gaiwans from the world’s most expensive goods manufacturing country.

  3. Callum says:

    It’s not clear what you mean about YS or W2T being 100% of CN retail + a little bit. Do you mean they are selling at CN retail with a slight markup? Or do you mean the markup is a little more than 100% of CN retail?

    I have compared YS prices against Taobao/Tmall quite a few times and can say that sometimes the price for a cake is a few dollars more and sometimes a few dollars less than CN retail. Sometimes YS is even significantly cheaper than buying from the factory store on Tmall.

    Overall my impression of YS pricing is that they are selling at fair market value for China retail.

    • James says:

      Yep. 2x+some is what I mean.

      YS pricing and markup is very much fair in my opinion.. It is on the very low-end after all. There is nothing wrong at all with marking a market 2x up from its retail price.

      I’ve found this to be fairly consistent for what I’ve found for YS against more wholesale type deals (i.e. Donghe for Dayi or XG on taobao). Of course you can also find those same items for about the same price YS sells, but that’s rarely the lowest item price.

      • MarshalN says:

        Remember that Taobao is also marked up, sometimes with quite a big margin. When I buy direct from taobao and especially more than a couple cakes it’s pretty common to get a small discount, but that won’t happen if you use an agent

    • Honza says:

      Tmall is more controled in prices by official shop prices, on taobao can find better deal and yes, also more fakes

  4. John Adams says:

    considering White2Tea doesn’t tell you much about their tea to begin with, and looking at their prices, I would put them at the 300-500% markup range. They’ve got great marketing, and good tea, but that doesn’t mean they’re not overcharging.

    • Bef says:

      Right on. Considering I really have no idea about the products they’re selling to begin with, I would put them in the 573% markup range. Makes sense.

      • James says:

        I’d say more like a 432% markup.

        • Eli says:

          I’d say at least 2x or 14x that, at least.

          • John Adams says:

            The White2Tea fanboys are worse than videogame fanboys.

            Thanks guys, for making my point. You don’t know what you’re buying, so you don’t know how bad you’re being overcharged.

            If you don’t know the region, the age of the trees, etc, then you can’t tell me that a blend of various raw puerh that may or may not include old arbor leaves is worth $370 for a 200g bing.

            Again, brilliant marketing, probably very tasty tea, but if we’re discussing markups, transparency, and the like, then there is definitely room for objective criticism of White2Tea on this issue.

          • Grill says:

            You’re missing the point. You pay for quality, not for where the tea is coming from. Right now W2T is making better tea than any other western facing vendor and not by just a small amount either. Based on the couple teas I’ve had this year and in previous years you are paying a very fair price for what you get

          • John Adams says:

            “Based on the couple teas I’ve had this year and in previous years you are paying a very fair price for what you get”

            I’m glad you’re happy with your purchase! Marketing, brand loyalty, and choice-supportive bias are wonderful things.

            I’m curious how you determined ‘fair’ if you are comparing taste vs price. Can you blindly tell the difference between W2T’s $200/bing and $500/bing 2016 teas? Can you be sure that your $200/bing tea isn’t the same stuff being sold for $50/bing in Hong Kong?

            Your argument is the equivalent of paying $300 for a pair of socks on 5th Ave, when you could find socks of the same style, shape, and fabric at Walmart for $10, and justifying it because they feel ‘really soft’.

            The question here is not _value_ – value is totally subjective and based on individual tastes. The question is actual cost of tea and retail markup percentage.

            There’s nothing wrong with supporting a favorite vendor, there’s nothing wrong with paying whatever price you feel is a fair value for your tea. Perhaps your tea taste ability and market knowledge is at the upper echelons – the 1% of tea drinkers, and you really can determine the base cost of various teas just by taste alone.

            Personally, I can’t place a fair value on tea based a cool wrapper and a witty name. Once I taste it, I can say it’s good tea, or bad tea, (or whether or not I like it) but I still can’t place a fair value on it because I have no market information of any kind. And that’s my issue with W2T – their marketing/labeling is really a form of customer lock-in. Without knowing where/what you’re really getting, you can’t go shop around at other vendors looking for a lower cost/better value.

          • Cwyn says:

            @John Adams:

            Can I tell the difference between W2T’s $100-200/beeng and their $430+ tea?

            Yeppers.

            Can I know for sure that tea isn’t in some shop in Hong Kong?

            Yep.

            Your argument works better at the $12-50/200g beengcha. Can I still pick out the W2T? Very likely but I wouldn’t necessarily bet on it. In this price range the other sellers become much more competitive. And in this price range, vendors may have the exact same source as one another for some teas.

            The difference for upper tier teas is absolutely every single trait we consider to be quality leaf, as well as superior processing.

            I’m not referring to large factory teas here, just small vendor house productions.

            A tea is worth what someone is willing to pay. I don’t believe w2t necessarily always prices to sell. But they don’t necessarily care if some teas sell. I have a unique oil painting. I stuck it up on EBay once, of course no one bought it. But it is the largest oil painting the artist ever produced, it was commissioned by my parents. I sold a lot of other stuff because the painting drew a lot of attention, and got people to consider my other items that they would not have looked at but for that insane painting.

            The opposite strategy is “loss leaders,” which other posters here are referring to. These are recognizable brand items sold at below regular retail to draw in buyers who will hopefully purchase house labels that are more profitable for the vendor. Most retailers use loss leaders strategies.

            Sak’s is not a good example as this is a merchantile for mass produced goods. Boutique is a better comparison for high tier puerh.

        • Grill says:

          I get what you’re saying in that cause you don’t know regions/tree age/etc you can’t judge value cause each one has a certain number of value attached to it. I don’t think you are really listening to the point trying to be made though. Believe no claims of region or tree age, I cannot stress this enough. Most of the time they aren’t true. In reality its no different than saying nothing at all on the label. In fact its even worse cause the tea will be marked up due to have gushu or bingdao or this or that on the label and you are paying for false claims. Another thing is that most tea is blended so it’ll be from a lot of different regions anyway, this goes for premium teas as often. You can only go on quality and if you can’t tell the difference that’s perfectly ok, go buy the cheapest option that makes you happy.

    • James says:

      Are you just throwing out random guesses? This isn’t quite like guessing how many jelly beans are in the jar.

      I have no idea how much TwoDog is marking up his young pu’erh, but for the factory productions/items I’m reasonably confident he’s selling those teas at about a 100% markup.

    • Sebastian says:

      From my perspective their marketing is very strange. I wouldn’t buy tea presented like this, but this is maybe a cultural thing. What do you think is their target audience?

  5. Honza says:

    Intersting article ! The problem with big factories like Dayi and Xiaguan on Taobao is, there is not control on prices so you can get tea for nearly wholesale price, there can be like for new tea for example, 1-2 yuan different betwen wholesale price in China and taobao price by crazy sellers who just fight for customers.

    Good for buyers but not easy to sell this tea with normal profit + Paypal tax + other taxes, workers etc, so 100% for big factory stuff is normal and fair profit.

    If buyer want to take larger quantity and know well some regular taobao seller, better go there to buy it. If order one or few pieces, and not sure about the autenticity, better go to regular shop run by west guys.

    The point why Taobao sellers do the price of Xiaguan and Dayi so cheap is, they sell their own brand very expensive, and so they can make great money from their brand and sell big factory for super cheap in very promotion prices (after they pay taxes and pay money to Taobao, the profit of these big factory products should me minus ,,,)

    • Toby says:

      Regular shop run by west (sic) guy?
      We are going there saying all Chinese guys are a cheat? Don’t forget West (sik) guys have average factory tea knowledge always just re tell customers what the Chinese guys told them.

      Literally Chinese whisper.

      Go to any WEst (sic ) guy’s online shop and look at the product write up of their 20-60USD factory stuff.

      • Honza says:

        Dear Toby,
        that was not my point, I dont said Chinese guys are a cheat and nothing like that. No , please…
        My point was – Taobao is cheapest choice , if you buy many of new stuff like 1 box of some Xiaguan, because the price is very nice and very near wholesale price.
        If buy one or two pieces, may be with taobao agent and shipping cost + risk of fake cant get the best deal and may be is better focus on online shop run in English (god…I just used wrong words before, my big apologize to all nice Chinese guys who sell tea and to you too Toby).

        I just tried from my experience wrote about this :
        “An Austin vendor selling purportedly gushu tea for $200 and an eventual retail price of $300 or $35/oz.. The tea is actually a commonly available factory tea sold on taobao for $30 or Yunnan Sourcing for $60.”

        which is not means Taobao seller still make profit – it´s promote non-profit price just to promote the Taobao shop.
        For an English online shop , after pay tax, workers etc, and get some profit, 100% price on cheap factory stuff compare with Taobao is normal , since you need calculate there must be some space for wholesale price+tax+profit…

        thats all…

        • Honza says:

          since all of us who run online shop have Chinese wife, hope you see my words was just wrote wrong and is simple misunderstanding….. 😀

          • Toby says:

            Mate, you don’t want misunderstanding please do not write things like(and yes, i said that because of your track record):
            “If order one or few pieces, and not sure about the autenticity, better go to regular shop run by west guys”

            And load your apology with “that was not my point, I dont said Chinese guys are a cheat and nothing like that. No , please…” makes the whole thing insincere.

            “since all of us who run online shop have Chinese wife” mmm….avoid this kinda talk too. It is like some rednecks with young Asian wives saying “how can I be racist, my wife is Chinese /Thai/Philippino” or hey i can’t be racist i have black friends.

          • Honza says:

            enjoy the trolling if you like it, I cant help you,

          • Cwyn says:

            Now gentlemen, between the two of you I spent a ridiculous amount of money within the past month.

            I might be trolling now, but it’s the truth. Let’s have some tea! 🙂

          • Toby says:

            Trolling?
            I beg your pardon, Honza?
            .
            You were upset that I pointed out what you said was racist?
            I politely pointed out you are giving me a loaded apology, whitesplaining and being hilarious (the “all of us who run online shop have Chinese wife” comment takes the cake) and you said I am trolling?

            PM me on Facebook if you want to talk in private.

          • Honza says:

            ok, let´s trolling in PM …this is too far from the main point I wrote about taobao/West sellers/prices and not need bother others here..

          • Toby says:

            Tea is an elegant thing and you (from what i read on Teachat and here) are opposite.

            I am not going to waste my time. If you feel that I (and other people before) hurted your feeling by calling you a racist, well, don’t be a racist.

            I am not going to waste my time on you since you called my attempt of constructive criticism “trolling”.

            This is the last communication we would ever have.

        • sebastian says:

          Are both of you running a shop?

          • Honza says:

            I do, I am in the tea for 13 years, first in some tea house in Czech , then some small private reselling, then moved to China 6+ years ago….do online shop togheter with my wife and an real store in Kunming, in the store mostly I sit there daily and my customers are 90% local Chinese, this real store we run for 2.5 years now.

            After I have chatted two days ago via PM with the person who had called me a racist, I do not have more to say about it.

  6. Richard Lin says:

    Now I know our markups are way too low. I own a 20 years old tea shop in Houston, Ten Yen Tea. All of our tea are straight from tea farmers and we also believe in selling premium tea at reasonable price because tea should be enjoyed with happy price, that is why even our customers keep telling us our tea are too cheap that we still don’t want to markup too much. Although from the article I realize our markup is low, I am happy to see our customers walking out of the door with sanctification.

  7. So-Han Fan says:

    Not all pu er comes from factories. The most valuable and rare pu ers are single farm teas that cannot be cross-referenced. I can name one of them – my company, West China Tea Company, sells a single tee gushu cha for $35/oz. the author of this article is clearly confused about what gushu cha means – it is ancient tree tea from any ancient tree, older than 400 years. The gushu cha I sell is not the same as the “factory” gushu he is referring to or the same as what Yunnan sourcing sells. It is picked from one single 800-year old tree. I’m the only person in North America who sells it and it is very costly for me to obtain and for the farmers to pick – the tree only produces several pounds per year. Saying “I can get gushu cha for however much money” is like looking at a $600 bottle of champagne and saying “I can get a bottle of Andre for $10 at Safeway. What a markup!” This is assuming that the gushu cha that I’m selling I purchased from a tea shop or factory and am just gouging people on the price. This perspective demonstrates that the author clearly does not understand what gushu cha is – it’s not the name of a product that is the same wherever it is sold. It is a designation for tea from trees above a certain age. I understand when someone is marking up a factory tea with a known vintage and serial number that can be bought on Taobao. You definitely can’t get the single tree gushu cha that I sell for $35/oz on Taobao. Whether it is worth it or not is up to the consumer, but I’m not doing anything deceitful or unfair. It is worth noting that we also sell a 3-patch single farm gushu cha, also exclusive to West China Tea, for $15/oz. the author should understand what pu er tea is and how the industry works before casting aspersions and making assumptions about how much a vendor is marking up their tea.

    • Honza says:

      I just ,,,cant belive what I read but may I ask :

      How to know the single tree you are selling is 800years and no 200-300 years or less ? How to know the age ? By the words of farmer who selling the tea ? By the size of tree compare with others trees around ?

      • So-Han Fan says:

        Honza I haven’t taken core samples of the trees. Nannuo mountain is home to several trees with a known age and are part of a registry in Yunnan. These are famous trees that are tourist attractions. One with a verified (if the registration bodies are to be believed) age of 800 years can be found in Banpo village, down the mountain from the Duoyi patch. Banpo is paved, a tourist attraction, and easy to access. The 800+ year trees that my tea comes from I the Duoyi patch do not have plaques or registration numbers, but they are similar in size and other indicators (epiphyte growth on the bark, etc) to the “known” 800 year trees. The same can be said of my other experiences with allegedly-ancient trees in the neighboring Banzhang ancient tree arbor. Those trees are also registered, protected, and carefully guarded. In fact there is a sign as you enter the arbor saying that you will be fined something absurd like 10,000 RMB if you pick the leaves. Based on my experience with these trees of “known” age, and the fact that I trust my farmers, I base my assertion.

    • bef says:

      Not sure if this is just trolling?

  8. shah8 says:

    I am just rolling right now…

    Of course, the main problem is just how dysfunctional the puerh market is today.

  9. Double B says:

    I’m with you Shah, I figured the comments would blow up for this one. James – I’m impressed you even touched this topic with a ten foot pole – kudos, my friend.

  10. Pete says:

    Thanks for a great article and daring to write on a sensitive and contentious topic, James. I thought you made it pretty clear you were taking about factory tea, not private label offerings where no comparative pricing is available. Appreciate you keeping things interesting. Peace

  11. *troll* So-Han Fan Fan (fake) says:

    These Fools know nothing! When something is labeled “gushu” it means “ancient” and that is exactly what you get. Why would some one label something “gushu” if it isn’t. Make sense right? And the requirements for “gushu” is exactly 500 years or older, so don’t compare your peasants pot to the premium vendors (like West China) charging a fair price for the good stuff.

      • Brian says:

        Wow. that burn hurt all the way over here. oops. 😛

      • So-Han Fan says:

        James I didn’t know you were referring to this bing. I say in the post that I can’t vouch for the authenticity of the claims only that the tea is good, and that I know only what the vendor told me. I thought you were referring to a $35/oz single tree gushu cha that we carry. The Bing in those links is not something I still have or continue to sell, I only sold a few cakes as a one off while traveling. It is also not representative of the teas we sell – we specialize in farm direct tea and almost all of our pu er comes from a single farmer. I’d like to send you some samples to try, I don’t expect you to blog or review them but I’d like you to try them. If you’re interested please email me at fansohan@gmail.com

        • Cwyn says:

          Yeah, but did you see the last photo in the group? It shows Yunnan Sourcing sells your $325 beeng for around $60.

      • *troll* So-Han Fan Fan (fake) says:

        I don’t feel so good -_-*

        • So-Han Fan says:

          Again, not me. different guy

          • hgshepherd says:

            >> Again, not me. different guy

            So if the guy who said “I don’t feel so good” about being outed for ripping people off isn’t you, then you must be the guy who does feel good about selling $60 tea for $325. Glad we got that straightened out.

    • the sparrow says:

      Previously I didn’t know who you were because no name was given. However you posted and claimed it. In an earlier post you said, “the author of this article is clearly confused about what gushu cha means – it is ancient tree tea from any ancient tree, older than 400 years.” Your second post states 500 years.
      This is exactly why we need people like James to advocate for the consumer.
      BTW, a search engine shows: “Pardon our mess, our website got hacked and we’re having to rebuild it”
      How was it hacked, was/is any customer information at stake?
      Thank you for clarification on the latter.

      • So-Han Fan says:

        The hack was a redirect hack. It used our domain name to redirect clients to a pay site. All
        Our transactions were done through PayPal, which has its own powerful encryption algorithms. None of our customers credit card information was stored on the website.

      • So-Han Fan says:

        The sparrow I thought he was referring to a different tea. I have no problem with people advocating for the consumer I was under the impression that he was suggesting that a small farm gushu cha I have is overpriced based on how much gushu cha costs on taobao

      • So-Han Fan says:

        That second post wasn’t by me. Look closely at the name – it’s a troll. also look at the wording – it’s someone mocking me

    • bef says:

      @So-Han Fan, you are the most entertaining thing in the tea world since Misty Peak.

    • So-Han Fan says:

      I just want everyone to note that the above comment was not made by me – it was made by “So-Han Fan Fan”. I don’t know who it is or how to figure out who it is, but it’s some troll posing as me

    • So-Han Fan says:

      I wouldn’t call anyone fools. Just saying.

  12. kyarazen says:

    markups aside.. pu-erh’s always “bubbling”.

    so once a markup is done on a “bubble”… the consumer pays quite a fair bit more..

    i.e. $5 item becomes stirfried to $$50.. and businesses with storefront may need a 300% markup to stay afloat… = $300.. for a.. $5item..

  13. James says:

    I should’ve been more clear in the post, but my comparison isn’t for their private productions but for more easy things to tell, i.e. factory teas. Most of them are based off what I know as the market price for commonly available teas where there’s multiple sources on taobao, and wholesale prices for Dayi on Donghe.. I also tried to be clear that they’re estimations based off CN retail. They very well may get a case or bulk discount, which would of course would make their markup a little higher.

    Let me also be clear that I think a markup of 200-300% could be perfectly OK and normal.

    If I were to redo. I’d also better clarify markup is really more like % over CN retail or my best estimate of it.

  14. Fiona says:

    Wow this topic snowballed fast but nice to read some other thoughts about it As I read it this topic was more about knowing the general cost of the tea you ordered. For example I’ve bought a Menghai Dayi cake for about 78$ if I look on taobao I could have bought it for about 9 to 25$ but since I can not read the Chinese so fingering the cake I’ve actually have was hard for sure.

    This would mean a mark up between 300 till almost 900% if it is that much I would feel somewhat bad. Even so I would rather buy from a western vendor with whom I can communicate than on a site where I can not read anything without google translating it.

    Well with all the traveling I know my cake did it would not be strange to have a high mark up because it has been sold at least 2 times I’m guessing since my vendor reported that it was stored in Malaysia. Then there will be storing costs at my vendor, their working time to complete my order and all the cost that go with having a business.

    • Toby says:

      Totally! 🙂
      Also, vendors have to fork out the money to get stocks too. Opportunity cost and risk.
      Malaysia storage done right is awesome!

  15. kyarazen says:

    just for fun though, has anyone done an exact side by side comparison of the same cake from cheap to expensive sources to have found them exactly the same tea/quality? that is because there are a lot of fake wrappers and huge variation in storage conditions. are there anyone whom will be interested in a blind-taste experiment? that is you offer some sample of different teas you have procured from branded vendors etc for me to buy.. and then i organize a blind taste event to see if the consumers on my side/locality can discern which are the good/bad ones and which are of right value? 😀

    • Keith says:

      I’m not sure exactally what you are suggesting here, but when it comes to blind samples, I’m always interested :). I’d definitely pay the admission price to have a go at some blind samples, if that’s what you’re suggesting.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *