Black Tea Vendor Topic

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Victoria
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Sat Jul 25, 2020 12:55 pm

Zac wrote:
Sat Jul 25, 2020 3:47 am
I hope this is the right place to post this. This is in response to a PM by polezaivsani as I can't seem to reply to PMs just yet.

I mentioned I like keemun and though I don't have a massive experience of it, I've tried several vendors for both normal and Maofeng versions. The far best I've tried and I'll swear on is the keemun sold by red blossom tea company in SF.

I don't live there but I managed to travel there and had a decent conversation with the owner. She told me that she thought the Maofeng appellation was a money grabbing label and hers was superior though it was "ordinary" keemun. And by God, it's still the best I've ever tried! Malty, rich, thick mouthfeel with a slightly smoked taste in the palette. I only regret I bought so little as it's very cheap compared to other teas I drink but it brings be great pleasure each time.
Tea Habitat, here in Los Angeles, has some very good Chinese black teas. I’ve had her Keemun MaoFeng, it seems reasonably priced for the high quality.
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Zac
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Sat Jul 25, 2020 1:05 pm

Victoria wrote:
Sat Jul 25, 2020 12:55 pm

Tea Habitat, here in Los Angeles, has some very good Chinese black teas. I’ve had her Keemun MaoFeng, it seems reasonably priced for the high quality.
Oh, I know this as well, but only for their excellent Dan Cong. Imen is very knowledgeable and I'm very impressed with the finally much improved website! The old website always scared me away.
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debunix
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Sat Jul 25, 2020 2:04 pm

I got my first 'Yunnan Gold' from Imen, because she recommended it specifically when I'd mentioned that I didn't like bitter Western-style 'breakfast' teas. It was delicious.
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LeoFox
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Thu Sep 10, 2020 8:22 am

What are people's experience with black tea from teavivre? I just ordered samples of every qimen grade she has but will take some time to arrive. I heard teaspring is also good for black tea?
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Baisao
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Sat Sep 12, 2020 6:21 pm

I’ve been drinking the Da Xue Shan from The Steeping Room all summer. It’s fruity, jammy, thick on the lips. No maltiness or strong cha qi.

The Shan Cha is malty and has other grain notes. It’s also potent. The cha qi, if you are sensitive to that, is very strong. It’s also a bit hard to find elsewhere, so it is nice that they have it.

https://www.thesteepingroom.com/collections/black-tea
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joelbct
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Sat Sep 12, 2020 11:28 pm

LeoFox wrote:
Thu Sep 10, 2020 8:22 am
What are people's experience with black tea from teavivre? I just ordered samples of every qimen grade she has but will take some time to arrive. I heard teaspring is also good for black tea?
I ordered most or all of teavivre's Keemun's a few years ago. Most were so-so, one or two were pretty good, but when I ordered larger quantities, what I received was not as good as the samples. Go figure. Maybe you'll have better luck.

Teaspring is higher quality, and more costly. Their Keemun was quite good last time I ordered. I actually placed an order last week, including their Xian Zhen and Hao Ya Keemuns, as well as some of their Yunnan Pure Gold which, also, was very, very good last time. There is a lot of "meh" Yunnan Gold floating around, that looks good but tastes mediocre. Not Teaspring's.

If you want the best Keemun, try Hojo. His "Special" Tribute Keemun, which is something like 75 USD for 30g, is, the best you will find. Perfection.
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LeoFox
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Sun Sep 13, 2020 6:04 am

joelbct wrote:
Sat Sep 12, 2020 11:28 pm
LeoFox wrote:
Thu Sep 10, 2020 8:22 am
What are people's experience with black tea from teavivre? I just ordered samples of every qimen grade she has but will take some time to arrive. I heard teaspring is also good for black tea?
I ordered most or all of teavivre's Keemun's a few years ago. Most were so-so, one or two were pretty good, but when I ordered larger quantities, what I received was not as good as the samples. Go figure. Maybe you'll have better luck.

Teaspring is higher quality, and more costly. Their Keemun was quite good last time I ordered. I actually placed an order last week, including their Xian Zhen and Hao Ya Keemuns, as well as some of their Yunnan Pure Gold which, also, was very, very good last time. There is a lot of "meh" Yunnan Gold floating around, that looks good but tastes mediocre. Not Teaspring's.

If you want the best Keemun, try Hojo. His "Special" Tribute Keemun, which is something like 75 USD for 30g, is, the best you will find. Perfection.
Thank you for sharing your experience! I also ordered several yunnan blacks from YS including their golden snails, but delivery seems crazy slow. I will give tea spring a try after going through teavivre. Hojo has ruined me for dan Cong, so I'm afraid of ordering his keemun until I've sampled around.
Sparky
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Sun Dec 06, 2020 6:38 pm

I have been looking for Jin Jun Mei for the past two months as my last source just ran out and they have no idea when they will get more in stock.

I am looking for the real deal, I have tried a bunch of other sources and they have so far been fakes or low quality.

Please let me know if you are aware of anyone selling some, I found a couple potential sources online but I do not want to spend the money without a vouch as it tends to be a pricey tea.
Last edited by Victoria on Sun Dec 06, 2020 6:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Mod edit: moved new topic to existing thread
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Maerskian
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Mon Dec 21, 2020 2:29 pm

Sparky wrote:
Sun Dec 06, 2020 6:38 pm
I have been looking for Jin Jun Mei for the past two months as my last source just ran out and they have no idea when they will get more in stock.

I am looking for the real deal, I have tried a bunch of other sources and they have so far been fakes or low quality.

Please let me know if you are aware of anyone selling some, I found a couple potential sources online but I do not want to spend the money without a vouch as it tends to be a pricey tea.
Just saw this and... based on location and AFAIR the best Jin Jun Mei version a westerner can get ( or among the very best ones ) would be the top grade ( i think they called it "exquisite" ? ) from WuYiOrigin . You can buy straight from the producer ( their website ) or try some western based seller with a wholesale account with them ( Teamania for example; although i think they don't have their top JJM ) .
Sparky
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Fri Dec 25, 2020 1:01 pm

Maerskian wrote:
Mon Dec 21, 2020 2:29 pm
Just saw this and... based on location and AFAIR the best Jin Jun Mei version a westerner can get ( or among the very best ones ) would be the top grade ( i think they called it "exquisite" ? ) from WuYiOrigin . You can buy straight from the producer ( their website ) or try some western based seller with a wholesale account with them ( Teamania for example; although i think they don't have their top JJM ) .
I have seen them but I have been hesitant because of the price. 72c/gram is pretty low for Jin Jun Mei and normally in my experience in trying so many places is that due to it's name JJM commands a pretty high price and ones priced lower are always fake.

have you tried them and can vouch for it being the thing?
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Maerskian
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Fri Dec 25, 2020 2:42 pm

Sparky wrote:
Fri Dec 25, 2020 1:01 pm
Maerskian wrote:
Mon Dec 21, 2020 2:29 pm
Just saw this and... based on location and AFAIR the best Jin Jun Mei version a westerner can get ( or among the very best ones ) would be the top grade ( i think they called it "exquisite" ? ) from WuYiOrigin . You can buy straight from the producer ( their website ) or try some western based seller with a wholesale account with them ( Teamania for example; although i think they don't have their top JJM ) .
I have seen them but I have been hesitant because of the price. 72c/gram is pretty low for Jin Jun Mei and normally in my experience in trying so many places is that due to it's name JJM commands a pretty high price and ones priced lower are always fake.

have you tried them and can vouch for it being the thing?
All JJM i tasted from any other source always has been disappointing however we'd probably need to establish what genuine JJM is since there's a bit of a legend about it with claims in the vein of not being available for western buyers ( not the "good" one, the "real" one ).

Maybe my memory is failing me... but i think it was on this forum where i read that WuyiOrigin sells the closest / highest quality JJM a westerner can buy... still not being the famed "real & original" JJM but the closest you can get because it shares the most characteristics with the "real" one .

Maybe somebody else can step in and add some more context but so far the most expensive & exclusive real JJM seems to be surrounded by some mist... which could very well be another marketing tactic even though i came across some tea drinkers that claim it isn't.

Bought these JJM from WuyiOrigin last year:

High-end Wild Jinjunmei 2019 - 50g
2019 Exquisite Jinjunmei - 50g
floral jin jun mei 2019 - 50g
2019 Jinjunmei (honey aroma) - 50g

The cheaper versions were "okay" ( drinkable & enjoyable... but it stops at that point ), while the "exquisite" version instantly became the best JJM i've tasted so far... which isn't saying much considering i never tasted the so-called one & only "real" JJM i keep reading about - only the usual versions sold by western-faced vendors - which only seems to be available to CCP members, elites / very wealthy people ( this last bit feels hard to believe, there should be some other circles... that while hard to reach should present a chance every now & then ) .

While we're at it and to help other people advance on this quest: which sources & variations have you tried so far ?
Sparky
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Fri Dec 25, 2020 4:37 pm

Maerskian wrote:
Fri Dec 25, 2020 2:42 pm
Sparky wrote:
Fri Dec 25, 2020 1:01 pm
Maerskian wrote:
Mon Dec 21, 2020 2:29 pm
Just saw this and... based on location and AFAIR the best Jin Jun Mei version a westerner can get ( or among the very best ones ) would be the top grade ( i think they called it "exquisite" ? ) from WuYiOrigin . You can buy straight from the producer ( their website ) or try some western based seller with a wholesale account with them ( Teamania for example; although i think they don't have their top JJM ) .
I have seen them but I have been hesitant because of the price. 72c/gram is pretty low for Jin Jun Mei and normally in my experience in trying so many places is that due to it's name JJM commands a pretty high price and ones priced lower are always fake.

have you tried them and can vouch for it being the thing?
All JJM i tasted from any other source always has been disappointing however we'd probably need to establish what genuine JJM is since there's a bit of a legend about it with claims in the vein of not being available for western buyers ( not the "good" one, the "real" one ).

Maybe my memory is failing me... but i think it was on this forum where i read that WuyiOrigin sells the closest / highest quality JJM a westerner can buy... still not being the famed "real & original" JJM but the closest you can get because it shares the most characteristics with the "real" one .

Maybe somebody else can step in and add some more context but so far the most expensive & exclusive real JJM seems to be surrounded by some mist... which could very well be another marketing tactic even though i came across some tea drinkers that claim it isn't.

Bought these JJM from WuyiOrigin last year:

High-end Wild Jinjunmei 2019 - 50g
2019 Exquisite Jinjunmei - 50g
floral jin jun mei 2019 - 50g
2019 Jinjunmei (honey aroma) - 50g

The cheaper versions were "okay" ( drinkable & enjoyable... but it stops at that point ), while the "exquisite" version instantly became the best JJM i've tasted so far... which isn't saying much considering i never tasted the so-called one & only "real" JJM i keep reading about - only the usual versions sold by western-faced vendors - which only seems to be available to CCP members, elites / very wealthy people ( this last bit feels hard to believe, there should be some other circles... that while hard to reach should present a chance every now & then ) .

While we're at it and to help other people advance on this quest: which sources & variations have you tried so far ?
Competition Grade Jin Jun Mei Black Tea - Yunnan Sourcing - fake - not good
2020 Jin Jun Mei - Verdant Tea - fake - not good not bad
tongmu jin jun mei - Masters Tea - fake - good
Jin Jun Mei - Tea Source - fake - good
Chinese Emperor's Golden Eyebrows - Rare Tea Company - real - WOW
Jin Jun Mei - Lapsang Store - real - very good

This has been my search this year. Rare Tea Company was my previous source but I am running low and looking for a replacement because they are out and unsure when they will restock it.
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Balthazar
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Sat Dec 26, 2020 10:27 am

Sparky wrote:
Fri Dec 25, 2020 4:37 pm
Competition Grade Jin Jun Mei Black Tea - Yunnan Sourcing - fake - not good
2020 Jin Jun Mei - Verdant Tea - fake - not good not bad
tongmu jin jun mei - Masters Tea - fake - good
Jin Jun Mei - Tea Source - fake - good
Chinese Emperor's Golden Eyebrows - Rare Tea Company - real - WOW
Jin Jun Mei - Lapsang Store - real - very good

This has been my search this year. Rare Tea Company was my previous source but I am running low and looking for a replacement because they are out and unsure when they will restock it.
Just FYI, the producer of the version Lapsang Store sells has an official Tmall store. But with the current exchange rate they're actually slightly more expensive than Lapsang Store... (Change shipping location to somewhere in China to have the "real" discounted price shown, should be CNY 1080 for the 50 g canister compred to USD 148 from Lapsang Store)

Do you happen to know the source of the product Rare Tea Company was selling?

If money is not an issue I'd look beyond the "Western facing" vendors and order from a couple of the Chinese premium brands through official TMall stores (using a Taobao agent, I've been satisfied with Superbuy). I haven't researched the JJM producers so I don't have specific recommendations.
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Bok
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Sat Dec 26, 2020 11:03 am

The issue here, as with any “real” vs fake version is - how do you know?

One needs a bullet proof benchmark to compare all candidates against. Not sure how that could be done without being close to the source and that for years...

I’d rather suggest to enjoy what is available and can be afforded by the individuals means and not to over think the authenticity.
Sparky
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Sat Dec 26, 2020 1:27 pm

Balthazar wrote:
Sat Dec 26, 2020 10:27 am

Just FYI, the producer of the version Lapsang Store sells has an official Tmall store. But with the current exchange rate they're actually slightly more expensive than Lapsang Store... (Change shipping location to somewhere in China to have the "real" discounted price shown, should be CNY 1080 for the 50 g canister compred to USD 148 from Lapsang Store)

Do you happen to know the source of the product Rare Tea Company was selling?

If money is not an issue I'd look beyond the "Western facing" vendors and order from a couple of the Chinese premium brands through official TMall stores (using a Taobao agent, I've been satisfied with Superbuy). I haven't researched the JJM producers so I don't have specific recommendations.
Interesting. I know Rare Tea Company had the name of the producer, aka tea master who made it, and it was from some protected forest around Tongmu village. I am expecting a couple bucks a gram and this is more to have on had for celebrations and visitors. I will be using the rest of my supply over new years with my family. I typically try to keep the money I spend on tea to less than starbucks/day so ~5$ or less a day is the budget I am trying to stick to for everyday teas and more like 25-30$ for celebration teas as there is normally 4+ people there so I am OK spending the extra.
Bok wrote:
Sat Dec 26, 2020 11:03 am
The issue here, as with any “real” vs fake version is - how do you know?

One needs a bullet proof benchmark to compare all candidates against. Not sure how that could be done without being close to the source and that for years...

I’d rather suggest to enjoy what is available and can be afforded by the individuals means and not to over think the authenticity.
I guess you are right that it is very hard to prove authenticity. The way I am using it is that JJM that I have had with diplomats(I have friends from college whose parents were diplomats, and had the tea gifted to them) and through those experiences I have picked up that authentic, as advertised by them, had a really distinct taste. I describe it as forward with rose water and chocolate with some amount of honey suckle and burnt caramel. So I guess you could say that this is the flavor profile I am looking for and I just happen to find it with more expensive teas advertised as JJM. Typically teas advertised as JJM that are on the cheaper side are very reminiscent of southern sweet tea and I typically use it to make sweet tea. The 'fake' JJM I find I would classify as a different tea because it's flavors are nothing like the 'real' stuff.
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