Is white2tea the only puer producer now?

Puerh and other heicha
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the_skua
Posts: 11
Joined: Fri Jan 05, 2018 8:22 am

Fri Jan 05, 2018 8:31 am

This obvious hyperbole, but highlights my point.

I checked out of the online tea community between 2012 and earlier this year. When I came back, white2tea was new to me. Now, when I look on Reddit or Instagram, it's almost always the only brand of puer that people talk about (a touch of YS and Crimson Lotus).

What's interesting to me is that their model is different...in that they don't talk about the leaf source and terroir, but instead focus on branding, lifestyle and labels. I'm assuming the quality must be decent, but have no way of evaluating without trying. Their model specifically doesn't appeal to me, because I like knowing about source, production method, and origin. At some point, I'll buy some samples and give them a try, but I can't help but thinking that their model appeals to tea drinkers who don't care to know about source, method, and origin, and are more interested in the teas for their branding or resulting quality.

As a craft beer person as well, I see a lot of parallels. That community suffers from brewer rock star status, where people get really hyped about a particular brewer's offerings, whether they're good or not, based on past performance, but mostly style and branding.
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tealifehk
Vendor
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Joined: Wed Oct 04, 2017 9:58 am

Fri Jan 05, 2018 2:11 pm

The approach is not my thing either, but it appears to work and gets a lot of people drinking tea that is sold with fancy wrappers and with very few specifics! It's a very non-traditional approach, but it definitely works with American buyers. I never thought of it from the microbrewery perspective but I guess the marketing approach is quite similar!
Atlas
Posts: 99
Joined: Mon Nov 27, 2017 7:09 pm
Location: SGV, Los Angeles CA

Fri Jan 05, 2018 5:11 pm

Between W2T, CLT and YS, you've basically covered the most beginner-accessible vendors, IMO. My impression of BLT and TU is that they skew a little more expensive (whether or not that's accurate), and the other western vendors that I can recall just aren't as active with marketing imho.
I can't help but thinking that their model appeals to tea drinkers who don't care to know about source, method, and origin, and are more interested in the teas for their branding or resulting quality.
I don't think the bolded part is a bad thing at all - personally, what I want out of a tea is something tasty and interesting. I'm not a collector, I don't really care where something comes from as long as it tastes good, and isn't just more of the same of a tea that I already have. I think that's a reasonable approach (among a number of reasonable approaches).

Paul's "philosophy" is either refreshing, or slick, depending on which side of the fence you're on. The idea is that he could spin any old BS and 99% of people wouldn't know the difference, so he's not going to bother and instead just tell you what you can broadly expect from a tea and decide based on taste (rather than buzzwords) whether it's worth the money. I think people find it appealing because it can give the impression that he's not going to insult a customer's intelligence. That's refreshing in a market filled with $30 15yo Old-Arbour Yiwus. The approach seems straightforward and honest.

Of course, that's the whole point, and the more people buy it, the easier it seems to trust the whole "You will get the tea that you pay for, no more and no less, and it is all tea I'd drink myself" thing... which means more people buying. Ok, the rejection of cachet is used to generate cachet, but I can't really begrudge someone for having clever branding.

I think the too-cool sarcastic pop-culture branding might be a little different here compared to the craft brew scene, because he's pretty much the only one doing it (that I'm aware of). At least it's self-aware, and from a graphic-design standpoint I think a lot of the labels are great, and more interesting than most wrappers. I like what TU and BLT do with theirs as well, and CLT has some good ones.

I get what you're saying, but all in all he's got a schtick and it works, and I haven't heard much complaint from people who've tried them (except for maybe the basics packs). He's gotta attract customers somehow.
Kupuntu
Posts: 11
Joined: Mon Dec 11, 2017 2:47 pm

Fri Jan 05, 2018 8:00 pm

Interesting wrappers attract attention but many reviewers have been saying good things about White2Tea. Their selection is "small" or at least small enough to keep a track of it. YS makes so much puerh for their own label that even if you do a huge order from them, you'll only scratch the surface. Plenty of good tea from YS too though so they have their place.
What's interesting to me is that their model is different...in that they don't talk about the leaf source and terroir, but instead focus on branding, lifestyle and labels.
I don't trust people enough to expect them to give me accurate information about the source or terroir so this has very little effect on me. Sell me good tea and that's good enough for me.
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tingjunkie
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Joined: Tue Apr 17, 2018 7:39 pm

Sat Jun 09, 2018 3:29 am

I haven't tried much of their stuff, but their branding and lack of info really turns me off. Seasoned and experienced puerh drinkers could wade in to their offerings and read between the lines, but how are new folks supposed to learn the difference between villages, elevation, tree age, and processing? Too much smoke and mirrors for me.
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ShuShu
Posts: 236
Joined: Mon Dec 04, 2017 9:36 pm
Location: New York

Sat Jun 09, 2018 10:27 pm

the_skua wrote:
Fri Jan 05, 2018 8:31 am
but I can't help but thinking that their model appeals to tea drinkers who don't care to know about source, method, and origin, and are more interested in the teas for their branding or resulting quality
I disagree (at least on much of this ).
Not all vendors need to have the same approach and I must say I am grateful that we have a vendor like Paul, though I certainly don't buy all my pu-erh from him. I have vendors from which I buy factory stuff and other vendors from which I can buy some Mansong If I really want to and there is W2T that offer a very different product. The thing with W2T is not the wrappers (that is just Paul's talent and fun) but the "blends". This is very often overlooked. He blends materials from different sources-- and invests a lot of time and effort in doing so--and offer you a different kind of product. Most of what I purchased from him was very good and very fair in terms of prices. Does knowing exactly where your tea is coming from makes your tea better? of course not.
Paul's line is: I sell tea that I like and have a special character in my view. That's all. we have enough vendors to buy factory stuff or such that tell tea stories about each leaf. This is just different, and I just think that the fact that his attitude is not Orthodox doesn't really mean anything. We like good tea so lets drink and talk about the tea instead of how non-traditional is his approach--we are already passed that phase.
cheers
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ShuShu
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Joined: Mon Dec 04, 2017 9:36 pm
Location: New York

Sat Jun 09, 2018 10:42 pm

And I should also add that most of the good tea that I drink comes from friends whose taste and knowledge I greatly appreciate. I drink the tea that they give me even if I dont know the whole story.
I think that this is the thing with W2T. You buy from W2T because you feel they know what they are doing and you like it. Its just a different reason to try a tea...
Teachronicles
Posts: 197
Joined: Tue Dec 12, 2017 1:13 am

Sat Jun 09, 2018 11:06 pm

ShuShu wrote:
Sat Jun 09, 2018 10:27 pm
the_skua wrote:
Fri Jan 05, 2018 8:31 am
but I can't help but thinking that their model appeals to tea drinkers who don't care to know about source, method, and origin, and are more interested in the teas for their branding or resulting quality
I disagree (at least on much of this ).
Not all vendors need to have the same approach and I must say I am grateful that we have a vendor like Paul, though I certainly don't buy all my pu-erh from him. I have vendors from which I buy factory stuff and other vendors from which I can buy some Mansong If I really want to and there is W2T that offer a very different product. The thing with W2T is not the wrappers (that is just Paul's talent and fun) but the "blends". This is very often overlooked. He blends materials from different sources-- and invests a lot of time and effort in doing so--and offer you a different kind of product. Most of what I purchased from him was very good and very fair in terms of prices. Does knowing exactly where your tea is coming from makes your tea better? of course not.
Paul's line is: I sell tea that I like and have a special character in my view. That's all. we have enough vendors to buy factory stuff or such that tell tea stories about each leaf. This is just different, and I just think that the fact that his attitude is not Orthodox doesn't really mean anything. We like good tea so lets drink and talk about the tea instead of how non-traditional is his approach--we are already passed that phase.
cheers
It's funny, people think w2t is non-traditional, but he shares more in common with the large factories than most of the single origin cakes many vendors put out. Blends with little info on origin. Many people consider certain factory recipes (7542, 8582) traditional; benchmarks of aged puers.
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VoirenTea
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Joined: Sun Oct 15, 2017 11:49 am
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Sun Jun 10, 2018 5:44 pm

I find it quite easy to buy things there, as by now I know that I'll like a high proportion of what he puts out, and the notes that he does give are usually enough to increase the odds. So it is fairly safe to just pick a load of samples and a couple of cakes whose wrappers tickle my fancy and know that I'm probably going to like them.

There are ones that say Yiwu, or Menghai character etc. (Ok, I'm not looking at the Treachery cakes!)

Comparatively, the more information given, especially when faced with a lot of cakes that only seem to have minor differences, the harder it is to choose.

I do appreciate curated sample sets that try to cover differences between regions, tree age and so on, but that's a different purchasing mindset from wanting to buy a couple of things that I'll like.

And buying from YS requires hours of research to narrow down which segment I even want to be looking in this time! Which I also do, but sometimes it is nice to not have to.

So when two vendors I'm interested in have a sale at the same time and I can only pick one of them, W2T has an advantage because it is simply less work to put a whole order together.
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