One of the most frequent email questions we receive is from customers asking for recommendations of special teas. For the newcomer and experienced drinker alike looking at our selection for the first time, it might seem a little overwhelming. I thought I’d write a few posts giving some insights into our offerings & some recommendations based on some common scenarios…
Give me the best of the best…
This is a pretty common scenario. When putting together an order, it can be hard to filter out the real gems. Here’s a few thoughts…
2014 Essence of Tea – Guafengzhai
This had previously ‘sold out’, but we had a few extra cakes stashed away. I figured if I was going to write this article there was no point in recommending a tea that was sold out, so here you go… a few more cakes of our flagship tea available again for sale.
2008 Mr Feng Selected Trees
This was the tea that first made us sit up and take notice of Mr. Feng. It’s thick in the mouth and incredibly active, still ‘fizzing’ with energy in the mouth when being drunk.
We really don’t often come across tea of this quality.
2004 Chang Yu Hao Yiwu
Our favourite from Malaysian brand ‘Chang Yu Hao’ .
This is great quality old tree Yiwu tea from a time when few teas of this purity were available. The storage has been impeccable and should give you a good idea of the direction that great old tree cakes can take.
… ok, I really do want high quality tea, but those above are a little expensive.
This is the area that we tend to focus on with our offerings. Often the very top level teas attract a premium. They’re from areas that are sought after and famous, or the material they’re made from is exceptional in some way or another. Just below that are teas made from pure ancient tree material that don’t have the same financial premium attached. These can be very close in quality to the ones listed above.
2014 Essence of Tea – ‘Yun Yun’
This tea very much surprised me when we first tasted it. There was a little smoke from the processing, but the raw material was of an astounding quality.
Now, a year on, the smoke has pretty much vanished, and what’s left is a thick and powerful ancient tree puerh. I’m very happy we pressed this tea.
2008 Bulang Ancient Tree Puerh
Oily, thick, smooth & powerful. What’s not to like.
This unassuming cake could easily slip under the radar, in favour of cakes with more appealing looking wrappers, but the quality of the leaves speaks for itself. From the point of view of my recommendations, this is definitely worth checking out.
2000 Kai Yuan Green Stamp
Another of our Malaysian finds. This is really a very good aged tea. The base material is good, old tree, with plenty of strength & it has been stored well in Malaysia, giving good aged flavours with a purity that’s difficult to find in teas of this age.
I’m on a budget… I want something I can drink regularly without having to think about the price
Price is quite a personal matter. To some, these teas may still seem expensive. Unfortunately in the developed puerh tea market of the present day, to buy teas of a certain quality takes a little money. For this section, I’ve tried to select my picks of teas that we sell around or under the 20p/gram mark. Hopefully this will still offer tea sessions at a reasonable price.
2014 Essence of Tea “Long Lan Xu”
In terms of quality vs price, this was really my pick of the teas we pressed last year. The old tree origins of the material and the vibrancy of the tea liquid is close in quality to teas several times it’s price.
As the cheapest tea we pressed last year, I think this is sometimes overlooked, but from my point of view, it’s the hidden gem amongst those pressings.
2007 Essence of Tea “Qi Sheng Gu”
Next up, is our bargain pressing from the previous year. This was from a farmer who’d been holding onto this tea, waiting for the price to rise. In 2013 we were offered this for sale, at the same price as fresh 2013 tea, but the quality was much better and the tea had already been aged for 6 years.
Now, a couple of years after pressing, it’s better than ever. Smooth, rich, and also affordable.
1992 Da Ye loose puerh tea
Loose leaf puerh tea is often where the bargains are in aged puerh tea. They don’t come with wrappers, or a background, so it’s important to be able to taste the tea and judge the quality for itself.
This one is good though. A blend of a few different teas, it offers a very nice aged tea, displaying the signs of coming from old trees.
…but can you recommend something even cheaper?
2010 Essence of Tea Nannuo
400g of good quality puerh tea really doesn’t come much cheaper than this. This is the bargain of bargains in our selection & still reaches the standards we require for the tea we sell.
There’s not many of these cakes left.
For those of you who have tried some or all of these cakes, what do you think? Are there others you think would have been better recommendations for this list?