Extended Episode, Taobao & 2005 Xiaguan FT8653-5 — TeaDB James InBetweenIsode Episode #105

An experimental extended episode that talks about shopping for teas on taobao, factory tea, and finally a tasting of the 2005 Xiaguan FT8653-5.


11 responses to “Extended Episode, Taobao & 2005 Xiaguan FT8653-5 — TeaDB James InBetweenIsode Episode #105”

  1. Great episode James. Very helpful. I would appreciate if you and/or the TeaDB community could provide a list of ‘trusted’ Taobao vendors. Also, will you please consider doing another episode walking us through the use of an agent to place the order.
    Thanks again

      • Hi Garrett
        Good question. I guess what I mean is vendors that do not misrepresent or make false claims about their tea and that have a good delivery record (sending the same tea they display, well packaged, arriving in a timely manner etc).

        • John,

          First of all I want to be up front: https://imgflip.com/i/1b71rh

          When I order I have tendency to get tea from multiple different vendors. I cannot garner a list for you because of this. For instance, I might get an errant aged Mensong cake from a vendor that specializes in overpriced fresh Lincang tea…a minicake from only a quad-diamond rated seller (a lower rated vendor). It’s difficult to recommend even a single vendor because in my experience every vendor carries a wide variety and the quality can vary.

          Now it doesn’t sound like you are talking about quality when you say “trust”. It sounds like you’re talking about vendors who deliver what they say they’re going to deliver. In my experience I have found most vendors have given me the tea I have ordered; they haven’t robbed me (nothing sent) or done a blatant switchero (an obviously different tea was sent).

          So I trust most of my experiences/vendors to an extent.

          And that is the extent I have done my research (like understanding the difference between two cakes of the seemingly same recipe/year). They deliver what they say they’re gonna deliver and yet I still have even gotten burned in the way James’ describes in the video…Buying without understanding the differences between the cheap and higher priced tea.



          • Very helpful Garrett. I appreciate you taking the time to respond. One key idea I am taking away is the importance of having some knowledge about the particular tea you are purchasing.

        • Hi John,

          I don’t have anywhere near a complete list of TB vendors but if you are looking for factory teas, MX is a good place to start. Their selection is huge so there’s quite a bit to explore.


  2. I really liked this episode; perhaps my favorite InBetweenIsode.

    It does make Taobao sound like a sea of “don’t cheap out” teas, and that assumes you are able to navigate through the crap. Which I guess is what you were already getting at in your Xiaguan report anyways.

  3. I also was a big fan of this; the more in depth breakdown of the large degree of variance in a relatively common recipe was sorely lacking, and you did a good job shining light on how different teas can be that it would be all too easy to assume were the same, even if storage is taken into account.

  4. Great episode especially the aspects about the challenges of ordering factory teas. Being rather new to the tea party one suggestion would be helpful to some of us is if you could include the Chinese charactars on the graphics on the headers of the episodes. It makes searching for the types of teas easier on line since I don’t have knowledge to know from the English what the Chinese would be.

    Thanks again for the great episode.


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