Puzzled wannabe Yixing buyer

swordofmytriumph
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Tue Oct 22, 2019 3:02 pm

faj wrote:
Tue Oct 22, 2019 2:29 pm
I have safely saved your recommendations to a list I have created to keep track.
I have a similar list myself created from all the other people’s recommendations. I still haven’t had the opportunity to buy from all the companies on my list. :lol:
faj
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Tue Oct 22, 2019 3:55 pm

swordofmytriumph wrote:
Tue Oct 22, 2019 3:02 pm
I still haven’t had the opportunity to buy from all the companies on my list. :lol:
There are two aspects of my exploration of tea I find slightly frustrating :
  • When I purchase a tea I find lacking, it takes some time reaching the end of the bag. ;)
  • When I purchase a tea I find lacking, I always wonder to what extent this opinion would be shared among experienced tea drinkers.
Of course, tastes are entirely subjective, but it would be useful to know that most experienced tea drinkers consider tea X to be a good quality example of tea type Y, in order to compare my "inner tea compass" with some sort of consensus.

Finding out such a tea is not to my liking would at least make finishing the bag feel more like a learning experience.
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Baisao
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Tue Oct 22, 2019 4:29 pm

faj wrote:
Tue Oct 22, 2019 3:55 pm
When I purchase a tea I find lacking, I always wonder to what extent this opinion would be shared among experienced tea drinkers.
I've found that a lot of tea enthusiasts don't know what good tea tastes like because good teas are difficult to get.

You have to have connections and even then it may take years to develop enough guanxi to get the top end stuff. Don't expect to walk up to the farm and buy the best of their crop: it's already spoken for. Just the same, don't expect to get the very best teas from western-facing retailers. The ones mentioned above try their best, though.

I tend to get my Taiwanese teas through connections with people who have connections. Private sales or gifts. I might get a pound or a crumb, but the tea has been far above what I have found in online shops.

I still don't have good enough connections for mainland teas. It's contentious but I am certain that some raved about mainland teas that make it into enthusiast circles are artificially scented. I can smell the added allspice, artificial rose, lilac, and laundry scent on dancongs. Growers and sellers deny the practice but my nose doesn't lie. (And no, please don't DM me for dirt on sellers; I won't reply)

Japan, in my experience, is different. You can buy amazing teas and it is easier to develop relationships. I haven't encountered artificially scented teas from Japan.
swordofmytriumph
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Location: Seattle, USA

Tue Oct 22, 2019 5:50 pm

Baisao wrote:
Tue Oct 22, 2019 4:29 pm
I've found that a lot of tea enthusiasts don't know what good tea tastes like because good teas are difficult to get.
From what I understand there is a scale, and many of the vendors we frequent here tend to be on the “very good, occasionally amazing, but not spectacular” rung of the tea ladder. Would you say that is the case? After that comes amazing tea, which you need connections to obtain, and then the spectacular stuff, which requires connections and the price goes up quite a bit. (All of this excepting Japanese like you mentioned).
Baisao wrote:
Tue Oct 22, 2019 4:29 pm
Japan, in my experience, is different. You can buy amazing teas and it is easier to develop relationships. I haven't encountered artificially scented teas from Japan.
I wonder if that is a cultural thing?
faj
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Tue Oct 22, 2019 6:00 pm

Baisao wrote:
Tue Oct 22, 2019 4:29 pm
I've found that a lot of tea enthusiasts don't know what good tea tastes like because good teas are difficult to get.
More often than not "Most X enthusiasts don't know the best X, because the best X is hard to get", irrespective of the value of X. Most wine enthusiasts never drink decades old top-quality wine. Most car enthusiasts never get to drive an F1. Whether due to lack of contacts or, more often than not, money, most living soul have to accept that.

Even setting aside that "good", "better" or "best" are a matter of taste, what one defines as "good" is a matter of judgement. To some it might be anything in the top 50%. To others it is the top 0.001%.

I am at the point where getting an idea of the taste (and price) of, say, "the best relatively easily available online to westerners without being outrageously expensive" would already be progress and should keep me occupied for quite a while, although it will not get me to the rarefied and probably ridiculously expensive world of exclusive, true top-end teas.
Baisao wrote:
Tue Oct 22, 2019 4:29 pm
It's contentious but I am certain that some raved about mainland teas that make it into enthusiast circles are artificially scented.
I am sure scented Chinese teas are best paired with fake Yixing pots! :D
swordofmytriumph
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Tue Oct 22, 2019 6:30 pm

faj wrote:
Tue Oct 22, 2019 6:00 pm
More often than not "Most X enthusiasts don't know the best X, because the best X is hard to get", irrespective of the value of X. Most wine enthusiasts never drink decades old top-quality wine. Most car enthusiasts never get to drive an F1. Whether due to lack of contacts or, more often than not, money, most living soul have to accept that.

Even setting aside that "good", "better" or "best" are a matter of taste, what one defines as "good" is a matter of judgement. To some it might be anything in the top 50%. To others it is the top 0.001%.

I am at the point where getting an idea of the taste (and price) of, say, "the best relatively easily available online to westerners without being outrageously expensive" would already be progress and should keep me occupied for quite a while, although it will not get me to the rarefied and probably ridiculously expensive world of exclusive, true top-end teas.
Well said. 😄👏
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tingjunkie
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Sat Nov 02, 2019 3:21 am

faj wrote:
Tue Oct 22, 2019 10:01 am

As for Camellia Sinensis, do you know it they have ever been discussed on this forum? I would like to get a feel for what to expect in relative terms if I were to shop elsewhere.
Quite a few years ago, they were dragged on TeaChat pretty hard for marking up common puerh cakes an absurd amount, and selling "aged" oolong that obviously wasn't. No idea if they have since cleaned up their act, but for me, once a bridge is burned... too many other vendors out there worth exploring.
Chadrinkincat
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Sat Nov 02, 2019 9:05 am

tingjunkie wrote:
Sat Nov 02, 2019 3:21 am
faj wrote:
Tue Oct 22, 2019 10:01 am

As for Camellia Sinensis, do you know it they have ever been discussed on this forum? I would like to get a feel for what to expect in relative terms if I were to shop elsewhere.
Quite a few years ago, they were dragged on TeaChat pretty hard for marking up common puerh cakes an absurd amount, and selling "aged" oolong that obviously wasn't. No idea if they have since cleaned up their act, but for me, once a bridge is burned... too many other vendors out there worth exploring.
A handful of their puerh is from Sunsing in HK. some of the 90’s cakes are actually cheaper than SS but most of the cakes I tried had terrible storage which I’m guessing is why these are selling for way less.
faj
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Sun Nov 03, 2019 12:13 pm

swordofmytriumph wrote:
Mon Oct 21, 2019 9:46 am
I have just taken the plunge and bought one of their yixing, and when it arrives I will post a review for the benefit of our fair forum!
Have you received your new teapot, @swordofmytriumph?
faj
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Sun Nov 03, 2019 12:34 pm

I noticed MudandLeaves posted about a very small batch of clay they just processed. Link below.

https://www.mudandleaves.com/teatime-bl ... -skin-clay

Their claim is this is Lipini, a type of lüni which is found in small amounts in Tian Qing Ni clay deposits. In my very limited readings, I have found no claims that Tian Qing Ni was still being mined, or that there was an even more elusive clay being mined with it. I would be curious to know what more knowledgeable and experienced people make of this claim.

Aside from how little of this clay they have extracted from the several hundreds of kg of Tian Qing Ni they have on hand (in itself quite a claim to me it seems), they do not seem to be making any claim on its effect on tea, or even recommended tea pairings for that matter.

@Youzi, in your blog, you had information about Tian Qing Ni. Maybe you could comment on this?
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steanze
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Mon Nov 04, 2019 2:08 pm

It's marketing... the end result does not look like any old pots I have seen. IT could still brew good tea though.

I would focus on broader distinctions (hongni/zini/duanni), firing temperature, grain, and most importantly the quality of the clay. If the clay is super rare or super common doesn't really matter for your tea brewing, unless you are a collector. And if you are a collector I'd advise to spend a long time studying old pots first.
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Youzi
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Location: Shaxi, Yunnan, China

Mon Nov 04, 2019 4:14 pm

steanze wrote:
Mon Nov 04, 2019 2:08 pm
It's marketing... the end result does not look like any old pots I have seen. IT could still brew good tea though.

I would focus on broader distinctions (hongni/zini/duanni), firing temperature, grain, and most importantly the quality of the clay. If the clay is super rare or super common doesn't really matter for your tea brewing, unless you are a collector. And if you are a collector I'd advise to spend a long time studying old pots first.
Do you have some photos of actual Li Pi Ni? Not the style or texture, but the one made from DST Li Pi Ni?
I tried to find photos of old pots of Li Pi Ni, but all were just imitation of the surface texture, not actually made out of the clay.
swordofmytriumph
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Mon Nov 04, 2019 4:32 pm

faj wrote:
Sun Nov 03, 2019 12:13 pm
swordofmytriumph wrote:
Mon Oct 21, 2019 9:46 am
I have just taken the plunge and bought one of their yixing, and when it arrives I will post a review for the benefit of our fair forum!
Have you received your new teapot, swordofmytriumph?
It should be here tomorrow! It has arrived at the regional distribution center and usually once that happens it arrives the next day. :D :D :D
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Bok
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Mon Nov 04, 2019 7:02 pm

+1 of what @steanze said.

Another collector friend mentioned “just looks like old Duanni” which in turn makes me think that a lot of antiques that look like Duanni, are actually Lipini. They can be grainy and lean towards the greenish.

Still funny, how a teapot from a rare clay blend where the ore is under the water can cost as little as 200$? Not rare??
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steanze
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Mon Nov 04, 2019 7:37 pm

Youzi wrote:
Mon Nov 04, 2019 4:14 pm

Do you have some photos of actual Li Pi Ni? Not the style or texture, but the one made from DST Li Pi Ni?
I tried to find photos of old pots of Li Pi Ni, but all were just imitation of the surface texture, not actually made out of the clay.
I don't know. I have seen many old duanni pots, some are more grainy, some are less. What should I look for to determine if it is actual "Li Pi Ni"? Is this one below Li Pi Ni?
ROC_duanni_2.jpeg
ROC_duanni_2.jpeg (116.39 KiB) Viewed 199 times
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