Tea-Masters

Guy Juan
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Mon Jul 22, 2019 9:10 am

I searched around and could not find any info on tea-masters website. They have a 1997 Menghai 7542 for $600/cake. Just wondering if they are legit and if this is the going rate or seem expensive compared to others?
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Baisao
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Mon Jul 22, 2019 10:19 am

Guy Juan wrote:
Mon Jul 22, 2019 9:10 am
I searched around and could not find any info on tea-masters website. They have a 1997 Menghai 7542 for $600/cake. Just wondering if they are legit and if this is the going rate or seem expensive compared to others?
I've ordered from Tea Masters in the past and received some quite decent teas. He's a reliable vendor and his blog, at least when I visited it a decade ago, had good information on it.

Prices are fair to a little wacky, depending on what you are looking for. I can't speak for this puerh but the pricing on his Bi Luo Chun is market whereas his aged Hong Shui is outrageously above market at $25/gram.

You're right to question the price for the cake (or any other item on his site). Like I said, some things are market and others are not. I have a favorable opinion of his selection nevertheless.
.m.
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Mon Jul 22, 2019 10:34 am

I haven't ordered from him, but Stephane of Teamasters is highly respected, and in general there are no doubts about quality or legitimity of his teas. What one needs to understand is that with older teas like that, what you're buying is not the just formula. It is the storage that determines how well the tea has aged, and also there might have been different batches of the tea produced in that year, and the quality can have varied a bit throughout the years. So the price can vary quite a bit accordingly. The best is to take a sample and see for yourself if the tea is worth the money for you, if you have that kind of money to spend. Also for that kind of money you can get some of the fancy stuff (eg Xizihao Black wrapper cake, or higher end Yangqinghao, etc), what is a better value i cant say. Finally, the 7542 is sort of a benchmark, a point of reference to other teas, so you're not paying just for the tea, but also for its status.
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Victoria
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Mon Jul 22, 2019 12:28 pm

@Shine Magical orders from TeaMasters frequently and has posted often about teas he’s tried. In fact, just checking here there are 150 posts about Tea-Masters (TeaMasters) here on the forum, mostly in oolong category. I enjoy reading Stéphane’s blog posts. Every once in a while I think I’ll order oolong from him but get the impression he favors greener lighter oolong and I’m typically wanting roasted oolong. I see though looking at his current offerings that he has quite a few wild teas available. Interesting, wild is on my mind as I’m in the process of ordering some old growth teas from Mountain Stream Teas based in Hualien, Taiwan.
Guy Juan
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Mon Jul 22, 2019 7:17 pm

Awesome, so no question of the quality or legitimacy ...but prices are higher with certain teas...but that might indicate better quality even between 2 exact teas based on storage etc.....

Sounds legit I’ll grab a few samples.

Thanks!
Guy Juan
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Mon Jul 22, 2019 7:20 pm

.m. wrote:
Mon Jul 22, 2019 10:34 am
Also for that kind of money you can get some of the fancy stuff (eg Xizihao Black wrapper cake, or higher end Yangqinghao, etc), what is a better value i cant say.
I’ve never heard of those. Going to google it.
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aet
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Mon Jul 22, 2019 9:32 pm

the prices are not a guideline because you never know for how much the vendor buys those teas , what profit he/she needs in order to keep running the business or support the other stuff ( which again, you probably never find out ) .
I have heard many " experts " claiming this or that tea must be fake because it's much cheaper / below the general market price ( I'm not talking about those types of teas like from 1960 for 10$ incl shipping from Ali. of course ) . How to they know the market price from US or EU? ;-))))) Of course from their very trusted western vendor who is being copied by other vendors , so those vendors have sort of similar prices. Or from some reputable bloggers who never made any wholesale tea business in China just rewrite some theories researched on internet or during some travels , yet being famous masters art tea gong fu or whatever the fancy names come with the status ;-D

So how is it work?
Simple example for not the antique aged teas : you buy tea ( directly from factory or the authorized agent ) for 100CNY and you can sell it for 150CNY and still be happy because you don;t have any rent to pay or employees , neither pay expensive apartment in US , EU, HK ,SZ ,SH...etc. The other vendor might buy it even for the same price ( maybe more expensive trough the other hands or not being same level of customer of the factory or agent...different levels / prices ) but need to sell it for 300 CNY because has bunch of expenses not only for life and running business, but probably some other projects aside ( like buying some more expensive tea next year and flights to China ) .
I know the wholesale prices of factory teas in Kunming tea markets ( from authorized dealers ) and there is quite big margin from not only western vendors now, since Chinese have to ( I believe they not complaining ) to follow the "laowai" market price .
So the smart vendors go just few kuai below that threshold to be competitive but not suspicious. Those who miss that threshold ( like not following the crowd ) will get thrown away by community of "believers" ...tea forums. ( in order to judge the market price of other teas , u also need know the price of fresh leafs from the farmer of that particular place and yet, not a 100% guideline coz not same price for everybody )

I'm astonished how many people focusing on real vs fake without being a collector or expert on that particular brand at the first place. As "m" pointed out here already. Some tea you pay high price just for the status , not for the flavor / quality / enjoyment from drinking it. And I'm amazed how some vendors just cruising on that reputation and making bunch of money on "believers" and genuine label chasers.

The ultimate answer to any question about "how is the tea from this vendor? " ...was, is and it will be ....buy samples and decide your self.
But I don't want to over pay for some fake or for something what worth the money ...... how to find out what worth money for you or for me? Try the tea , feel if u like the taste and count how many steepings / time can enjoy the taste and feeling associated with this ( type and intensity of the feeling ) ...then compare this " happy moment " to something more familiar to you. I don't know : glass of wine , cup of coffee, piece of chocolate....or whatever.
Compare price of that with your sample and count if worth to buy a full product. Humans naturally evaluate things by comparing , buying tea is not different. Since you don't have any previous experience with lao cha and probably not long experience with any tea , compare it to other things then.

Some Chinese people paying ridiculous money for cakes labeled as Bing Dao , LBZ without even liking or understanding the taste. Or like the taste of some other tea but not sure if that is good ( since it's not from the famous place ) , forgetting the fact that that "good" is choosing for them selves and that's what they are experiencing just right now in the cup ;-)
I have personally witnessed purchase of 1300CNY for 200g cake claimed to be BD and it was just some LC tea made by new concept , but Shandong tourists couldn't say the difference , yet they believed coz tea was really sweet. I just sit beside and play stupid, didn't dare to interfere ;-(

Overall advice, it takes a while to find certain criteria based on what you going to buy the tea ,yet they are keep changing with your experience and probably even with age. The answer is not on forums but in your cup ;-)

Buying a tea is actually more simple than it seems. Puerh was probably too exaggerated by Chinese vendors or those called them selves "lao shi". That transformed and made more complex looking by foreigners who went too deep into something which is not the point of actual enjoyment from drinking the tea at the first place.
Human desire for the "best" ( which is also very individual ) and greed for the most expensive yet want it cheap ...those factors are building blocks of any marketing strategy ....the puerh tea business is The very best example of it!

But yes, we can blablabla over and over same topics here when sipping the cup of tea ( I'm having my b-fast shu now ) which I'm about to finish and do some work.
So have a grate day ;-)
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Bok
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Mon Jul 22, 2019 9:50 pm

@aet Great post! Wholeheartedly agree and thanks for sharing your inside Kunming-view! Not many people intimate with the business speak their mind as openly and honestly as you do. Maybe with the exception of @Tillerman :mrgreen:
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mrmopu
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Mon Jul 22, 2019 9:52 pm

@aet, I agree with Bok. Excellent and very truthful in those words. I agree on letting the tea speak for itself.
Guy Juan
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Tue Jul 23, 2019 12:02 am

Yes everything he said is true however... if I purchase something that doesn’t represent what is advertised (age, producer, storage conditions etc.) it will throw off my ability to build a pallet and the knowledge of what I like and what to look for.

So for those purposes (since I don’t know what a 1999 DaYi 7542 dry storage tea should taste like) I need to be sure what I am ordering is what the vendor says it is. If I never had a McDonald’s cheeseburger before and ate a Burger King cheeseburger thinking it was McDonalds....then I have a real McDonalds cheeseburger and think something is off because it doesn’t taste the same, start getting paranoid “which one is fake?” only to find out they were both from Wendy’s and one was a chicken sandwich.

Disclaimer: This post in no way endorses the use of fast food cheeseburgers or any other dangerous drugs that may contain cartoon mascots.
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Baisao
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Tue Jul 23, 2019 12:25 am

Guy Juan wrote:
Tue Jul 23, 2019 12:02 am
Yes everything he said is true however... if I purchase something that doesn’t represent what is advertised (age, producer, storage conditions etc.) it will throw off my ability to build a pallet and the knowledge of what I like and what to look for.

So for those purposes (since I don’t know what a 1999 DaYi 7542 dry storage tea should taste like) I need to be sure what I am ordering is what the vendor says it is. If I never had a McDonald’s cheeseburger before and ate a Burger King cheeseburger thinking it was McDonalds....then I have a real McDonalds cheeseburger and think something is off because it doesn’t taste the same, start getting paranoid “which one is fake?” only to find out they were both from Wendy’s and one was a chicken sandwich.

Disclaimer: This post in no way endorses the use of fast food cheeseburgers or any other dangerous drugs that may contain cartoon mascots.
If you order from Stephane, you will get what you ordered. He’s been around a long time and has a reputation to uphold. He grew his business from his blog (we used to have to email him for stock and prices). I’ve always received the items I have ordered from him as described. He’s probably the next best thing to having tea enthusiast friends in Taiwan.
Guy Juan
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Tue Jul 23, 2019 12:41 am

I ordered a “mid 1980’s loose puerh from Menghai tea factory”.
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pedant
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Tue Jul 23, 2019 3:17 pm

i've never tried puerh from TM, but the oolongs are very solid.
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Shine Magical
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Wed Aug 07, 2019 9:53 am

Tea Masters is the only large vendor I’ve encountered for gaoshan where the story matches the quality and matches the price. He is a great place for beginners to learn about proper tea and build up an education.
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Shine Magical
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Wed Aug 07, 2019 6:19 pm

Victoria wrote:
Mon Jul 22, 2019 12:28 pm
Shine Magical orders from TeaMasters frequently and has posted often about teas he’s tried. In fact, just checking here there are 150 posts about Tea-Masters here on the forum
I feel confident at least 130 of those posts were made by me. :D

I am a loyal customer of @TeaMastersBlog and for good reason.
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