Yancha issues

Semi-oxidized tea
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Bok
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Tue Feb 05, 2019 12:05 am

Tillerman wrote:
Mon Feb 04, 2019 8:27 pm
This is not the case for those of us who have spent the time building the guangxi needed to secure such tea - at least in Taiwan this is the case and I suspect in Wuyi as well.
I think the whole issue does not apply to Taiwan in the same extent. For the money I need to spend for the best quality tea in Taiwan I can not even get a good medium grade Yancha. The pricing is just galaxies apart.

Good quality Taiwanese tea is much more obtainable and affordable than the premium Chinese teas. But premium Taiwanese tea is very hard to get in China! ;)
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Bok
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Tue Feb 05, 2019 12:18 am

I think aforementioned price/volume is really the issue. The prices for Yancha are so high now that even the medium quality segment will be above what most western consumers are willing to pay. Does not really matter how good the guanxi of the retailer is, if the customer doesn’t buy, it makes little sense to offer. Which I btw also heard from someone selling the much cheaper Taiwanese teas...

The average Chinese customer will never taste premium tea the same as the average western customer will never taste premium wine... that is just how it is.
swordofmytriumph
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Tue Feb 05, 2019 1:49 am

How sustainable are the current prices @Bok ? You mentioned earlier that they were really high right now, and others have discussed that it wasn't always so high. I know that the demand really outstrips the supply which helps drive up the price, but do you think the prices are here to stay, or are we looking at a sort of "yancha bubble" sort of like what happened with puerh a while back?
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Bok
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Tue Feb 05, 2019 2:26 am

@swordofmytriumph
Don’t think it is a bubble... the growing area is really small and it is not like a investment kind of situation as it was with Puerh. China is getting a sustainable middle class with income to dispose, if anything good tea is getting scarcer.
swordofmytriumph
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Tue Feb 05, 2019 2:28 am

Bok wrote:
Tue Feb 05, 2019 2:26 am
swordofmytriumph
Don’t think it is a bubble... the growing area is really small and it is not like a investment kind of situation as it was with Puerh. China is getting a sustainable middle class with income to dispose, if anything good tea is getting scarcer.
Interesting, thanks for the info. Sounds like getting good tea is gonna be more of a treasure hunt than it is already.
theredbaron
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Tue Feb 05, 2019 1:13 pm

I knew that the vendors would not like my post ;)

I do not know much about Taiwan, and i guess it might be easier than in mainland China, but in terms of guangxi you are competing with people who have been in the business for decades, generations even, and whose guanxi go back that long. Sorry, but no. And no, a big misconception about Asia is that i would all be about money. It appears so at times, but it isn't.

Really good Yancha is possibly the most difficult tea to procure, as the growing are is very limited in size, and the demand is very high. I do know shops which may carry some really rare Yancha, but will not openly sell it, and reserve it only for clients who they know that they know how to appreciate it.

And no, i am not talking about which is the priciest to to gift.
theredbaron
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Tue Feb 05, 2019 1:18 pm

swordofmytriumph wrote:
Tue Feb 05, 2019 1:49 am
How sustainable are the current prices Bok ? You mentioned earlier that they were really high right now, and others have discussed that it wasn't always so high. I know that the demand really outstrips the supply which helps drive up the price, but do you think the prices are here to stay, or are we looking at a sort of "yancha bubble" sort of like what happened with puerh a while back?
No bubble. The prices will only go up due to a very limited growing area and ever increasing demand.
The "low" prices back when i started drinking tea - only low for me due to the exchange rate and China at the beginning of its boom, but not low for the average Chinese - were a historical aberation. High quality tea was always very expensive, and extremely hard to get throughout history.
Nowadays maybe more people than ever before have access to higher quality tea in a wider range than ever before
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Kale
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Tue Feb 05, 2019 1:59 pm

theredbaron wrote:
Tue Feb 05, 2019 1:13 pm
And no, a big misconception about Asia is that i would all be about money. It appears so at times, but it isn't.
Really good Yancha is possibly the most difficult tea to procure, as the growing are is very limited in size, and the demand is very high. I do know shops which may carry some really rare Yancha, but will not openly sell it, and reserve it only for clients who they know that they know how to appreciate it.
I didnt say that *its all* about money, but that with enough money and some connections you can get almost everything. You may have seen shops that "reserve [rare yancha] only for clients who they know that they know how to appreciate it." But I have also seen shops that sell rare yancha they promised to some client to another client that offered to double the price. And, once again, as someone has already said here, the rarest tea is not necessarily the best one. I suppose you know how rare real JJM is. Have you got a chance to try it? do you think this is one of these best teas?
At any rate, of course some people reserve their rare yancha for friends and party members, but you can't really generalize about yancha by relying on these ancadotes can you?
swordofmytriumph
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Tue Feb 05, 2019 2:15 pm

I suppose it’s like anything in life. At the end of the day it’s about people. Everyone is different, growers and shop owners included. You can’t really put people inboxes. We’re too weird. :lol:
theredbaron
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Tue Feb 05, 2019 5:23 pm

Kale wrote:
Tue Feb 05, 2019 1:59 pm

At any rate, of course some people reserve their rare yancha for friends and party members, but you can't really generalize about yancha by relying on these ancadotes can you?
I do not rely on anectdotes, but on my taste. And what i have seen and tasted offered in shops oriented to the western market is at best slightly above average, to the most part (essence of tea is an exception, but i have not seen them offering much Yancha lately), compared to what i have drunk in Asia, both in Wuyi Shan itself, and in shops in many Asian countries, and with my tea teacher, for the past 26 years, since i was first in Wuyi Shan.
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Kale
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Tue Feb 05, 2019 6:25 pm

I think that the fundamental disagreement between us is about the meaning of "the best teas". You seem to be referring to a taste that is mostly popular in SEA, even more than in mainland China. Personally, I would prefer fresh RouGui from certain locations or farmers over a 30 years old SX that is highly sought after in SEA. These kinds of tea are indeed very hard to get in the west (besides vendors with connections in MY like EOT), but I also think that this is mostly because they are less popular and quite expensive. So, I would agree with you that teas that *you* like are indeed very hard to get in the west. However, I strongly disagree with the characterization of these teas as "the best teas". The best for you and your laoshi, perhaps, but still thats hardly enough in my view to claim that teas available to the west are "at best slightly above average". This claim is quite ridiculous on my view....


theredbaron wrote:
Tue Feb 05, 2019 5:23 pm
I do not rely on anectdotes, but on my taste. And what i have seen and tasted offered in shops oriented to the western market is at best slightly above average, to the most part (essence of tea is an exception, but i have not seen them offering much Yancha lately), compared to what i have drunk in Asia, both in Wuyi Shan itself, and in shops in many Asian countries, and with my tea teacher, for the past 26 years, since i was first in Wuyi Shan.
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Tillerman
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Tue Feb 05, 2019 6:47 pm

theredbaron wrote:
Tue Feb 05, 2019 1:13 pm
I knew that the vendors would not like my post ;)
I didn't dislike your post, I simply said it didn't apply to Taiwan.
theredbaron
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Tue Feb 05, 2019 6:58 pm

Tillerman wrote:
Tue Feb 05, 2019 6:47 pm
theredbaron wrote:
Tue Feb 05, 2019 1:13 pm
I knew that the vendors would not like my post ;)
I didn't dislike your post, I simply said it didn't apply to Taiwan.

Thank you, and yes, i would not make this judgement on Tainwanese teas, as i do not know enough about them. But as this whole discussion centered around Yancha, i made those comments primarily on yancha, and to some extent on other teas from mainland China.
theredbaron
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Tue Feb 05, 2019 7:18 pm

Kale wrote:
Tue Feb 05, 2019 6:25 pm
I think that the fundamental disagreement between us is about the meaning of "the best teas". You seem to be referring to a taste that is mostly popular in SEA, even more than in mainland China. Personally, I would prefer fresh RouGui from certain locations or farmers over a 30 years old SX that is highly sought after in SEA. These kinds of tea are indeed very hard to get in the west (besides vendors with connections in MY like EOT), but I also think that this is mostly because they are less popular and quite expensive. So, I would agree with you that teas that *you* like are indeed very hard to get in the west. However, I strongly disagree with the characterization of these teas as "the best teas". The best for you and your laoshi, perhaps, but still thats hardly enough in my view to claim that teas available to the west are "at best slightly above average". This claim is quite ridiculous on my view....


As i have actually drunk fresh Rou Gui with tea farmers in Wuyi Shan, on the two occasions i have been there in the 90's, and in tea houses there, and also in tea houses and shops ranging from Hong Kong to Singapore, for the past 26 years, at least. Therefore i do think i have a frame of reference there. The world of Yancha is enormous, and vast differences in taste through different roasting and oxidation levels, from the old style brutal roast teas one gets in Thailand, to the more modern almost greenish Yancha - which i really do not like, but which seem to get into fashion nowadays, there are also attempts of recreations of how traditional Yancha may have once tasted. Some people spend years in researching this, and experimenting, and this is my primary frame of refenence of what a really good Yancha should taste like.
And yes, i did have the great opportunity to drink many different aged Yancha (not all aged yancha are good, only ones where the base leaf is already good have the properties to age well), under proper guidance, which has been a wonderful experience.

So, yes, based on that exposure to so many different Yancha - i can quite clearly and confidently say that what i have tested in many different internet based shops oriented at the western market is at best a bit above average. Some few ones were better. Most, well, i have difficulties to drink. The honest, and knowledgaeble sellers have admitted to this, mostly said that they would not be able to sell the better qualities as most of their western customers would not be willing to pay. Other sellers simply have themselves not been able to get to taste such great teas, and lack themselves a frame of reference.

I would not call myself an expert of Yancha, but i have drunk Yancha with experts, and Yancha is my favourite Chinese tea, and has been for a long time. My knowledge and abilities have dropped, because it has been quite a while since i had the opportunity to drink Yancha with experts. But i still have enough experience to see and taste what i get from the shops. And it lacks compared to the good Yancha i had the opportunity to drink.
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