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17 August 2009 @ 09:23 am
How to be a smart Pu'erh purchaser  

Not only are occasional Pu'erh drinkers fooled, professionals can be fooled also. Whether Pu'erh novice or professional, one needs to utilize common sense and trust his or her natural instincts. When it comes to buying Pu'erh, the most important thing is taste it before you buy. Many tea shops offer free tasting and many on-line tea shops offer free samples or samplers for a nominal price. Take advantage of these offers.
Good Pu'erh, new or aged, should give you a comfortable sensation in your mouth and a sense of well-being after consumption. The flavor should be clean and brisk without any odd taste or odor. One of the most unique characteristics of quality Pu'erh is its lingering aftertaste, especially in aged Pu'erh. For newer raw Pu'erh, your may find it a bit bitter or grassy when your tongue first comes in contact with the tea. However, the bitterness should quickly dissipate and transform into a subtle sweetness that coats your mouth. If the bitterness lingers, it is likely that the tea is of lower quality. Low quality Pu'erh is also flat and lacks the body that quality Pu'erh offers. Additionally, the brew from good quality Pu'erh should be clean, bright and translucent, not dull or cloudy. Finally, the more specific information the tea vendor provides, such as a the exact vintage, harvesting season, region where the tea was produced, the higher the likelihood you are buying a good product. Vendors who want to make a quick profit usually do not care about tea and will not invest the time to gather the information for their customers. Pu'erh teas produced after 2006 are required to pass the inspection of the Yunnan Food Administration. A blue "S" logo and a certificate number should be printed on the wrapping which serves as verification that the product has passed the inspection for food safety.  

Submitted by,
Linda Louie
Owner, Bana Tea Company
jasonwitt on August 18th, 2009 09:26 am (UTC)
Some good tips here
It's interesting that it's advised here Puer should not have an odd taste. I imagine many people unfamiliar with Puer teas would consider them to be odd on first experiencing them. However, that should still be an indication of quality.
Linda Louiellouie on August 18th, 2009 09:20 pm (UTC)
Re: Some good tips here
Absolutely. Sometime ago, I let a friend of mine, who never had Pu'erh before, try the raw and the ripe Pu'erh. While she liked the raw Pu'erh, she hated the ripe mini-tuo cha I gave her. She told me she did not like ripe Pu'erh because "it tasted like compost." I told her before she gave up on ripe Pu'erh, she should try the 1999 Bada Mountain ripe cake. Her impression of the ripe Pu'erh immediately changed and the Bada Mountain has been her favorite tea ever since.

While certain flavor may be unfamiliar, it should not taste odd or unpleasant.
jasonwitt on August 18th, 2009 09:38 pm (UTC)
From hate to love? Cool.
I love success stories like the one you just told. I never hated Puer but I haven't tried enough kinds to know a lot of comparison. I expect I'll eventually enjoy some good ones.
Linda Louiellouie on August 23rd, 2009 11:09 pm (UTC)
Re: From hate to love? Cool.
There is such a huge variety of Pu'erh and the quality of the tea makes all the difference. It is difficult to try a lot of Pu'erh because most come in cakes and it is expensive to invest in cakes that you may or may not like. That's way I always suggest people to try before you buy. My tea company offer sampler set for a nominal price. If you would like, I can send you a few free samples to give you a good introduction.
jasonwitt on August 23rd, 2009 11:20 pm (UTC)
Re: From hate to love? Cool.
Yes, it would be lovely if you would send some free samples of Puer. And if you'd like me to review them anywhere online (I don't do my own tea blog but am willing to talk about tea I sample somewhere on the Internet) then let me know. Here is a link to my address: Contact Page on Jason Witt dot org
Linda Louiellouie on August 23rd, 2009 11:36 pm (UTC)
Re: From hate to love? Cool.
Sure. I will send you a good representative of various Pu'erh teas, including different vintages, ripe and raw, and those from different tea producing mountains. The majority of my teas are made from ancient tea trees. I will provide all the detailed information about each tea you sample. It would be great if can review them and let others know how you like them. I will send the samples to you tomorrow morning. Thanks.
jasonwitt on September 5th, 2009 01:03 pm (UTC)
I might prefer Raw Pu-erh
I'm trying to find out about the Pu-erh I've bought and from what I've gathered I like the raw green Pu-erh more than the cooked or black. I prefer the feeling it gave me though it was lower-priced than the cooked. I was a little on edge but was happier with that spike of excitement than with a more calming experience. I've thought maybe I like the crush of youth rather than the senescence of age, and it's totally expressed in my Pu-erh preference. But then again, the cooked Pu-erhs aren't necessarily genuinely mature, so that might be part of what bothers me. I'll see about some real good aged Pu-erh when I try the samples Linda graciously sent me. --Spirituality of Tea
Linda Louiellouie on September 5th, 2009 04:35 pm (UTC)
Re: I might prefer Raw Pu-erh
I hope you had received the tea samples by now. The record shows it was delivered on 8/26.
I prefer raw Pu-erh also. I like it because when it is young, it is fresh,delicate, and I enjoy the subtle floral or fruity flavor. As it ages, I can witness how it matures, like seeing a child grows. By the time it matures, I get to appreciate its complexity and depth.

teamng on September 14th, 2009 03:08 am (UTC)
How to be a smart Pu'erh purchaser
Hi Linda, I have some 100 years old puerh tea cakes made by Tong Hing Hoa. Where can I sell them, any help will be greatly appriciated. Thanks. My email teamng@pacbell.net

teamng on September 14th, 2009 03:09 am (UTC)
How to be a smart Pu'erh purchaser
Hi Linda, I have some 100 years old puerh tea cakes made by Tong Hing Hoa. Where can I sell them, any help will be greatly appreciated. Thanks. My email teamng@pacbell.net