; Cwyn's Death By Tea: 2016 Spring Puerh News ;

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Monday, July 4, 2016

2016 Spring Puerh News

Spring tea continues to dribble in slowly to online vendors. I recently got a couple of samples of early spring offerings by Chawangshop along with an order of other teas. Chawangshop put a warning on their Instagram about a month ago, telling followers to “stop asking” about spring teas, that they would be released later in the summer. I surmise that the few new teas on offer thus far are not representative of the rest of the collection yet to come.

I’m feeling a bit less enthusiasm this year for diving into Chawangshop’s spring collection, and not because of the teas themselves. In fact, I found last year’s offerings quite lovely, especially the 2015 Hekai cake and the bitter age-r Mengsong. Chawangshop straddles the low/middle price point extremely well for unpretentious daily drinker teas, especially when each tea is really unique from the others, and often single origin. But their social media comments are a real turn-off lately. Along with the exasperated-sounding comment on IG telling people to stop asking about spring tea release dates, Chawangshop posted a bit of a scold on Facebook to people for drinking their teas now rather than storing them. A year ago a comment appeared on a blogger site from the same vendor criticizing western buyers for purchasing samples rather than whole tongs, and for judging teas from samples rather than drinking a full cake. Okay, then why send samples? Does the vendor not want people to try and buy? Maybe the comments are not meant as critical as they sound, especially if one credits the speaker whose English may be a second language. But still, if you are peddling huang pian, I wonder how much a vendor can afford to insult the customer, when it is nobody’s business what someone does with their purchase.

Spring Tea samples by Chawangshop
This first offering is a 2016 Manzhuan “gushu” huang pian, on sale now. I do like Manzhuan tea, which tends to have a sweetish Yiwu profile, but with a bit more bitter strength. Notably, white2tea’s 2014 Manzhuan is a prized tea in my collection, and I’m currently failing at my effort to store and save this tea. I keep dipping into it a couple times a year. So I’m inclined to view Manzhuan huang pian a bit more favorably. Because these 2016 teas are still rather new and wet, I took only 3g from my sample to try now, and will try the remaining tea later in the year.

At left, Manzhuan "gushu huangpian, on right, Myanmar Jingdong
This tea requires fairly lengthy steep times to get started. The leaves are greener than expected, and of course I don’t see any buds or small leaves as this is not premium leaf. I used 40-50ml of water and still got a fairly light cup. Again, the tea is rather fresh and may not be as concentrated now as might be in another six months. The profile is floral and fruity, a bit of teeth cleaning astringency and very lightly bitter. Pleasant enough tea that lingers in the mouth, died out in about 6 steeps. I noticed a bit of buzzing in my face from this tea, and it is worth revisiting later in the year, especially at $15 for a 200g cake, might be worth tossing one into my cart along with some heicha.

Fourth steep of the Manzhuan huangpian. I spilled the third on my chest.
Next up 3g of 2016 Myanmar Jingdong Xiao Bing Cha. Not rightly to be called puerh, this is a border tea from just outside Yunnan. I think most of us are aware that tea trees do not know borders, but of course tea from outside Yunnan will not claim the same high price. This tea brews up a much stronger cup than the previous huangpian, because we have the full range of leaf here. The tea is lightly bitter and astringent, with fruity qualities, a bit of minty-ness. Lingers much less in the mouth than the Manzhuan, and this tea is also very green. Right now this tea is literally just green tea, and has not yet coalesced into an enzymatic puerh-like tea cake. Like its partner above, this tea deserves another try later in the year, and at $12 a cake not much of a sacrifice on the wallet.

Third steep, Myanmar Jingdong brews up greenish because it's new
The tea surely grabbing the most attention right now from puerh heads is the new 2016 collection from White2Tea. You’d have to be living under a rock to not have noted the new teas. I’ve ordered a few already and will try and cover them soon. And I got a chance to ask TwoDog about the controversial “Storytelling” cake selling at $369 for only 200g.

“I don’t care if I sell it,” said TwoDog. “Anybody who buys this tea will either understand it, or aspire to understand it…It’s a tea that if nobody bought one gram, and I had the rest to myself until I shuffle off this mortal coil, I wouldn’t care one fucking bit.”

You can obsess over that now…

But the real headlines this week must also include the new tea store opened by longtime blogger Wilson, http://adventureineverycup.com. I about fainted dead away when I saw Wilson’s announcement today, what a shock when a puerh hoarder opens a shop to sell his stash! And many of his prices are on the low-ish side. Wilson’s tea travels are puerporn at its best, because he goes to the actual factories to buy his tea on vacation jaunts. He lives in Singapore, so his tea is stored in a hot and humid climate, and I can be sure that his teas are well taken care of. Offerings include aged CNNP and pre-2011 Dayi. He is even selling excess tea ware, including an unused 1980s Factory 1 Yixing pot with the sticker AND the box! So this means you better get over there. Quick.


Cwyn

10 comments:

  1. Cwyn, your voice has always been extremely refreshing when other well known and read tea personalities are too pessimistic and/or pretentious. Thank you!

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    1. Well thanks. And point me in the direction if I'm missing out. I read a few blogs, but am always discovering new ones I need to read.

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  2. Wilson's shop lists 2006 Langhe 9579 Ripe cake for $60. It's available from Langhe on Taobao for 168 RMB.

    http://detail.tmall.com/item.htm?id=38942886145

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    1. Unfortunately for people in the west to buy on Taobao, one must hire an agent with fees on top of shipping. A $20 purchase on Taobao a few years ago cost me $70 with shipping and agent fees. The shipping is so much higher because the agent put the shipping box in a larger box and then ships EMS.

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    2. Dear Cwyn, for a sheng student with a small collection which of Wilson's cakes would you recommend? I have no factory cakes at all, till now only W2T, YQH and Wistaria

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    3. Marco, I haven't tried any of the teas that Wilson is currently selling. I noticed today that several had already sold out. All I can suggest is that the storage is likely to be good, Wilson takes care of his teas and he lives in Singapore which is warm and humid. As with any new seller, start with a small purchase and see what you think. The $10 flat rate shipping is certainly reasonable.

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  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  4. Great article Cwyn. Any chance you remember where you purchased the white teapot in the photos? Looks like it might fit my needs.

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  5. Thank you for shearing Buy tea online Great article and very helpful keep continuous.....

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