Collecting "falling out of love with pu'er" stories from Blogspot

mbanu
Posts: 124
Joined: Fri May 03, 2019 3:45 pm

Wed Sep 16, 2020 5:29 pm

In the mid-2000s a lot of people started pu'er blogs, convinced that they were buying pu'er for a lifetime. Browsing places like /r/tea I see the same enthusiasm today, but without any knowledge of what happened to the previous generation of online pu'er enthusiasts, so I thought it might be worth collecting the stories of people with closets full of pu'er they don't drink anymore, or Yixing teapots gathering dust, not to be sad but rather to give people getting into the hobby some realistic perspective on how to think about this tea they expect to be enjoying 20 years from now.

So I figured that anyone who knows of a story like that can post it here.
Last edited by mbanu on Wed Sep 16, 2020 5:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
mbanu
Posts: 124
Joined: Fri May 03, 2019 3:45 pm

Wed Sep 16, 2020 5:38 pm

Jamus wrote:At some point, I lost my voice with tea. I lost the ability to listen to the way every single cup spoke to me; carried me through the nights of learning how to carve out my identity and live on as a single father. It taught me that patience is often rewarded with discovery and enlightenment. At some point, I stopped making it an important part of my daily ritual. In the past year, I've moved twice, and found myself in rooms and beds unknown, laughing in the company of strangers more than the familiar faces. I've warmed up to drinking coffee, even shitty coffee, and neglected the cakes of pu-erh which have always been proudly displayed in my home. I had even lost the appreciation for the swirling accumulation of sediment in the bottom of the mug.

Today, however, it hit me; those experiences in which we seem to control the flow of time, they are often the most cathartic. The ceremony of tea, whether it be authentic and true to tradition, or simply routine that takes over as soon as the water begins to boil is important, and becomes a vital part of the experience. Like prepping dough for pizza, there are steps and ingredients that are not always tangible, such as the passage of time and the process for kneading out the bubbles. So, tonight, I spent a few minutes taking in the aroma pouring off the shelves in the tea closet. It felt like sifting through old love letters, each of them carrying a particular heft and bound to the fibrous strands tying the past to the present. I took in the aroma of the heated gaiwan filled with dry leaf, and made time to appreciate the bouquet of the flush. Just like those old letters, I often remember the contents without having to unwrap them. I am transported to the nights of confusion and conversation, fumbling around with a new partner, unsure of what to expect, but tonight, this feels like home. It's not a new set of freckles on an unfamiliar shoulder.

At least pu-erh doesn't mind being neglected.
(https://mugpuerh.blogspot.com/2011/12/another-year.html)
mbanu
Posts: 124
Joined: Fri May 03, 2019 3:45 pm

Wed Sep 16, 2020 5:39 pm

Toki wrote:As tea has taught us, connoisseurship is a lonely place. We seek the nuance, beauty, and quality in everything we drink. No one would pretend to understand tea and have only ever tasted cheap tea bags. Well, the same specificity of excellence can be applied to studying the wonderful details present in many facets of our life.

The same scholarship can be applied to cannabis. Throw away everything you may have smelled in the way of street weed, urban blunts, or any of the other unappetizing aromas and lifestyles associated to this herb. This is no better than Lipton’s connoisseurship to tea. Similarly, I always hated marijuana’s smell—stinging, intruding, reminiscent of old dirty sneaker, you name it—which assaulted my nostrils in various forms of bad.

These degrading examples reminded me of the many bad tea choices that are available on the market. I remember trying low quality red teas that were always uninteresting, bland, and had now lively verve. They lacked exciting stamina that I now understand in great tea.

What I have learned is connoisseurship is a continuing quest to understanding perfection. I took what I have learned from identifying what makes certain tea cultivars normal or exceptional, and have learned to apply the same scope to cannabis.

In essence, please excuse my absence. However, understand that MTR’s creative wheels are always turning; due in huge part to The MTR’s tightknit community where like-minded individuals aspire to true connoisseurship.
(http://themandarinstea.blogspot.com/201 ... tchen.html)
mbanu
Posts: 124
Joined: Fri May 03, 2019 3:45 pm

Wed Sep 16, 2020 5:44 pm

Brett wrote:For nearly 15 years I've been a puer tea collector. But I have to admit, while I love all types of great tea, and can enjoy any tea in the right mood or setting, I'm just not crazy about puer the way I used to be. It is more of a social beverage to me now and I never crave it the way I do oolongs or blacks.

My puer collection lives behind this curtain in the corner of my bedroom where it stays dark, dry and shielded from kitchen smells.

Image
(https://blackdragonteabar.blogspot.com/ ... s-old.html)
mbanu
Posts: 124
Joined: Fri May 03, 2019 3:45 pm

Wed Sep 16, 2020 6:01 pm

hster wrote: Overcoming Tea Greed

Many years ago one November, I got certified for basic first aid/CPR training and completed a driving school contrition course. Our excellent first aid trainer was a retired Marin firefighter who spouted tales of life and death at every turn- the most noteworthy of which involved a man who miraculously survived a bullet to his throat only to die years later choking on a blueberry. Most of us hope for a peaceful end but the cold hard CDC statistics and the scare tactics from my driving course indicate otherwise. But before you feel too down about the eventually pending medical emergency that will cut our ropes, let us take cheer in our present circumstances that we are not dead yet. (Can ghosts access the internet is a metaphysical debate for another time.)

In my youth, I used to be quite contemptuous of Seneca's pat wisdom when forced to translate them in Latin class. But after a few decades of living, despite Seneca's apparent hypocrisy, his words ring true.

“It is not the man who has too little, but the man who craves more, that is poor. ”

Hoarding puerh tea at the core is motivated by a not unreasonable fear of scarcity that is confirmed each passing year by the puerh tea market. If I could readily procure desired tea at a decent price at any time like supermarket tea bags, I would not have compulsively crammed our china cabinet full of beengs. The DIY fuzzy warm feeling from aging one's own tea or having enough to share, they are all secondary supporting rationalizations.

Barring global nuclear fallout or a super volcanic eruption, some type of tea will always be available to consumers at an affordable price range. From a stoic point of view, there is no reason one could not happily drink grocery store teabags as billions do every day. Or I could be even perfectly contented drinking merely potable water. But mentally acknowledging such truths is different thing altogether from controlling one's rabid impulses.

Less than through emotional maturity and disciplined will, a collusion of factors has progressively detached me from the need hoard more puerh for the last few years. The first big hit of a sledge hammer came from periodic fasting, my compulsive connection to food got crushed. But already the deeply unfavorable economics of buying newborn sheng compared to my existing hoard had dampened and killed purchasing for many years now. The beengs I bought nearer to $100 range were really not that much better than my $10 beengs from 2005, and definitely inferior to my $20 beengs. The smug hoarder devil sits on my left shoulder and says "See, your early hoarding saved you money so you can sit back." Maybe so.

The home aging experiment while not a definitive failure has not been entirely a success either as the two moving targets-the aging tea and my desire for their particular taste at a specific point in time rarely overlap. Still I'm grateful for the tea I have regardless of the collection's mediocrity. There's nothing wrong with mediocrity as that's where most things lie.

If I learned anything from covid times, it's to be constantly grateful. I am grateful I can brew tea everyday while knowing when one is truly thirsty, the humblest cup of tap water sparkles in one's mouth.

“True happiness is to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future, not to amuse ourselves with either hopes or fears but to rest satisfied with what we have, which is sufficient, for he that is so wants nothing."
(http://teacloset.blogspot.com/2020/07/o ... greed.html)
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Shine Magical
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Location: Boston, MA

Wed Sep 16, 2020 8:55 pm

mbanu wrote:
Wed Sep 16, 2020 5:38 pm
Jamus wrote:At some point, I lost my voice with tea. I lost the ability to listen to the way every single cup spoke to me; carried me through the nights of learning how to carve out my identity and live on as a single father. It taught me that patience is often rewarded with discovery and enlightenment. At some point, I stopped making it an important part of my daily ritual. In the past year, I've moved twice, and found myself in rooms and beds unknown, laughing in the company of strangers more than the familiar faces. I've warmed up to drinking coffee, even shitty coffee, and neglected the cakes of pu-erh which have always been proudly displayed in my home. I had even lost the appreciation for the swirling accumulation of sediment in the bottom of the mug.

Today, however, it hit me; those experiences in which we seem to control the flow of time, they are often the most cathartic. The ceremony of tea, whether it be authentic and true to tradition, or simply routine that takes over as soon as the water begins to boil is important, and becomes a vital part of the experience. Like prepping dough for pizza, there are steps and ingredients that are not always tangible, such as the passage of time and the process for kneading out the bubbles. So, tonight, I spent a few minutes taking in the aroma pouring off the shelves in the tea closet. It felt like sifting through old love letters, each of them carrying a particular heft and bound to the fibrous strands tying the past to the present. I took in the aroma of the heated gaiwan filled with dry leaf, and made time to appreciate the bouquet of the flush. Just like those old letters, I often remember the contents without having to unwrap them. I am transported to the nights of confusion and conversation, fumbling around with a new partner, unsure of what to expect, but tonight, this feels like home. It's not a new set of freckles on an unfamiliar shoulder.

At least pu-erh doesn't mind being neglected.
(https://mugpuerh.blogspot.com/2011/12/another-year.html)
This is a great post. I can't help but feel connected to these words, as my life has changed significantly since my deepest exploration of tea. My health has changed, my hobbies have changed, my perspective has changed. I used to have a tea closet and a pumidor, now I have a bare bones tea shelf in a cupboard: half a puer cake and 3 unopened packets of my favorite oolong.
Last edited by Shine Magical on Wed Sep 16, 2020 9:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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StoneLadle
Posts: 174
Joined: Sun Aug 09, 2020 12:19 am
Location: Malaysia

Wed Sep 16, 2020 9:07 pm

mbanu wrote:
Wed Sep 16, 2020 5:39 pm
Toki wrote:As tea has taught us, connoisseurship is a lonely place. We seek the nuance, beauty, and quality in everything we drink. No one would pretend to understand tea and have only ever tasted cheap tea bags. Well, the same specificity of excellence can be applied to studying the wonderful details present in many facets of our life.

The same scholarship can be applied to cannabis. Throw away everything you may have smelled in the way of street weed, urban blunts, or any of the other unappetizing aromas and lifestyles associated to this herb. This is no better than Lipton’s connoisseurship to tea. Similarly, I always hated marijuana’s smell—stinging, intruding, reminiscent of old dirty sneaker, you name it—which assaulted my nostrils in various forms of bad.

These degrading examples reminded me of the many bad tea choices that are available on the market. I remember trying low quality red teas that were always uninteresting, bland, and had now lively verve. They lacked exciting stamina that I now understand in great tea.

What I have learned is connoisseurship is a continuing quest to understanding perfection. I took what I have learned from identifying what makes certain tea cultivars normal or exceptional, and have learned to apply the same scope to cannabis.

In essence, please excuse my absence. However, understand that MTR’s creative wheels are always turning; due in huge part to The MTR’s tightknit community where like-minded individuals aspire to true connoisseurship.
(http://themandarinstea.blogspot.com/201 ... tchen.html)
This guy runs an upscale tea and cigars speakeasy in the City now... Not sure if they're open now though
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StoneLadle
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Location: Malaysia

Wed Sep 16, 2020 9:10 pm

The 20 year thing....

I believe the problem lies in not having sufficient exposure to what 20 year old PE is like that has created a lot of anxiety and marketing crap ...

Get a pile of old aged tea to drink, I say, and figure out if it's for you...
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klepto
Posts: 271
Joined: Sun Jan 05, 2020 9:24 pm
Location: Floridaman, USA

Thu Sep 17, 2020 1:49 am

:cry: :broken_heart:
These stories are very sad, and yet I feel the same way. I've loved Kentucky Bourbon for a long time and every night I'd drink a nip or two and sleep like a baby. Seeking out various mash bills and looking for different profiles. I lost my love for Bourbon and picked up puerh. My liver thanks me and my doctor visits are more like me meeting an old friend and they casually tell you that you are in great health.
:heartbeat: :sparkles: :relieved:
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StoneLadle
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Location: Malaysia

Thu Sep 17, 2020 3:37 am

I like Islay malts with oolong !
Noonie
Posts: 328
Joined: Tue Dec 12, 2017 12:30 pm
Location: Ontario, Canada

Thu Sep 17, 2020 6:32 am

I’m going to avoid reading these stories as I already have an idea where they lead, and I don’t see myself becoming “one of them” :lol:

I work in risk management and while I don’t avoid risk all together, I’m careful about most things...including tea and teaware.

I did take a plunge with Pu’erh this year, but only after trying samples for over 12 months. I now have a small pumidor with 10 or so cakes, and I’m not looking to buy any more for a while. Living in Canada, and buying most of them from YS in the US meant spending $200 to get free shipping, and I like a deal! I am absolutely not buying tea from an investment perspective...I’m all about consumption!

I do think this thread is excellent for folks new to tea, as you can head down the wrong path without knowing it and until you’re lost. But read this thread and others and perhaps you’ll think twice, take your time, and enjoy the journey!
DailyTX
Posts: 369
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Location: Northern California

Thu Sep 17, 2020 10:41 am

Very interesting stories. I wonder why they don’t just sell their puerh cakes, I sure there is a market for a 20+ year aged pu. This thread reminded me of a story from a family friend. When I first got into puerh, I did some impulsive purchases for mid 2000 aged Sheng, one of the cakes I owned had a green tree logo. As an beginner in the pu erh journey, I had never heard of a cake called “Big Green Tree” until one night after dinner my family and I went over to this family friend‘s home for tea in Guangdong. I saw a cake with a similar logo so I asked about it. This family friend had boxes and boxes of the 1st and 2nd generations of big green tree when they first came out. He was handing them out left and right by the tong to friends and families prior to those teas being famous. Since this tea sky rocketed, it’s all 😢😢😢. I showed him a picture of the cake I had, of course it’s neither 1st or 2nd generation since it’s made I
in mid 2000, also the tea just marketed as yiwu tea so I won’t call it fake either. YS carries the 2016 remake of Big Green Tree by Xia Guan. The originals were made by Menghai. Last time I saw an online vendor listed 1999 Big Green Tree for 2k+ usd per cake. :lol:
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Balthazar
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Location: Oslo, Norway

Thu Sep 17, 2020 11:32 am

DailyTX wrote:
Thu Sep 17, 2020 10:41 am
I wonder why they don’t just sell their puerh cakes, I sure there is a market for a 20+ year aged pu.
Probably, but I doubt many people are willing to pay much at all for North American / European "home stored" pu unless we're talking famous cakes (or the seller has become internet famous for his/her successful home storage). Also, I think many hesitate to sell cakes at a loss. Perhaps they even have a lingering hope that their earlier interest in puer will some day be rekindled.

Thanks for sharing, @mbanu, I used to read some of these bloggers way back. Of the bunch, hster's perspective hits closest to home.
DailyTX
Posts: 369
Joined: Wed Jul 03, 2019 4:43 pm
Location: Northern California

Thu Sep 17, 2020 12:05 pm

Balthazar wrote:
Thu Sep 17, 2020 11:32 am
DailyTX wrote:
Thu Sep 17, 2020 10:41 am
I wonder why they don’t just sell their puerh cakes, I sure there is a market for a 20+ year aged pu.
Probably, but I doubt many people are willing to pay much at all for North American / European "home stored" pu unless we're talking famous cakes (or the seller has become internet famous for his/her successful home storage). Also, I think many hesitate to sell cakes at a loss. Perhaps they even have a lingering hope that their earlier interest in puer will some day be rekindled.

Thanks for sharing, mbanu, I used to read some of these bloggers way back. Of the bunch, hster's perspective hits closest to home.
@Balthazar
The aging process of home storage in North America is very very slow, that would be my reason for not purchasing tea in large quantity, but a sample here or there would be interesting ;)
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Dresden
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Fri Sep 18, 2020 7:00 pm

StoneLadle wrote:
Thu Sep 17, 2020 3:37 am
I like Islay malts with oolong !
As a fan of a good Islay are there any particular oolongs you like to pair? I would imagine it would take something pretty heavily roasted to stand up to something like an Ardbeg.
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