Zhengyan Price Discrepancies

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Demea
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Tue Feb 20, 2018 10:00 am

I was reading one of the below forums about more affordable yancha options, and had the following question:

Is there such thing as genuine "budget" zhengyan tea?

For example, the following vendors offer what they label as zhengyan yancha at what seems like very reasonabel prices:

http://thetea.pl/en/product-category/teas/oolong-en/

https://www.wuyiorigin.com/store/c2/WuY ... ulong.html

https://yunnansourcing.com/collections/ ... oolong-tea

Is this simply too good to be true? Is there sufficient variation in quality and scarcity in zhengyan tea to allow the price difference between these teas, and say, the EoT offerings?

I'm hoping someone who understands the economic realities behind the market for zhengyan teas can shed some light on the situation: how cheap can a true zhengyan tea realistically be offered for, before it gets suspicious?
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Bok
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Tue Feb 20, 2018 6:31 pm

If I am not mistaken, you get what you pay for. What is too good to be true usually isn’t.
Janice
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Tue Feb 20, 2018 7:42 pm

Perhaps this isn’t what you want to hear, but my solution to making yancha affordable is to steep it in very small pots. My favorite pots for yancha are 65 ml and 30 ml.
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tealifehk
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Tue Feb 20, 2018 8:38 pm

'Zhengyan' is much like 'gushu' in the pu erh game. The label is applied across an entire range of teas. In the end, what matters is how good the tea is in the cup. I suspect the majority of 'zhengyan' tea on the market isn't zhengyan at all.
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OldWaysTea
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Tue Feb 20, 2018 8:49 pm

I won't give an opinion on the authenticity of any products other than my own. When I buy tea I try to make sure I pay what I think is the right price; the best you can do is pay the right price for the right tea. If you think you are getting a deal, it is likely that the real deal belongs to the tea's previous owner.

I did some research today to try to get data to give an impression of the scale of tea production in Wuyishan and the scarcity of space in the zhengyan area. The short of it is that 99.9% (3 thousand kg vs 7 million kg) of all Wuyi tea is not from a famous garden part of the two streams and three pits.

I've run across figures for the land area of Wuyishan used for tea cultivation. I found a 2005 figure from the Wuyishan city plan quoting roughly 100,000 mu (2.18% of the land) of land used for gardens (tea, chestnut, and bamboo). Another figure from 2017 suggested that the government would like to cap the tea garden area at about 150,000 mu. Of the 100-150,000 mu of tea gardens it seems only about 7200 is within the zhengyan region. That would suggest that 4-7% of tea could be rightfully sold as zhengyan assuming equivalent yield.

An additional figure that caught my eye was a claim that "2-2.5 million kg while there are at least tens of millions of kg of tea being sold on the market". Since the government numbers quote that tea produced in Wuyishan represents (depending on document you read) between 12% and 18% of the tea produced in northern Fujian, it is easy to believe that the vast majority of Wuyi oolongs are not even produced in Wuyishan, let alone the zhengyan area.


Some sources
https://wenku.baidu.com/view/8d5a6813ff ... 31d8f.html
http://www.lincha.com/chinese-tea/wuyis ... -663.shtml
http://www.lincha.com/chinese-tea/wuyis ... -884.shtml
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Bok
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Tue Feb 20, 2018 11:45 pm

Cheers for those figures! That pretty much settles the question…
Expensive Zhengyan > maybe real
Cheap Zhengyan > not real
:mrgreen:
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Tillerman
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Wed Feb 21, 2018 12:04 am

Demea wrote:
Tue Feb 20, 2018 10:00 am
I was reading one of the below forums about more affordable yancha options, and had the following question:

Is there such thing as genuine "budget" zhengyan tea?

For example, the following vendors offer what they label as zhengyan yancha at what seems like very reasonabel prices:

http://thetea.pl/en/product-category/teas/oolong-en/

https://www.wuyiorigin.com/store/c2/WuY ... ulong.html

https://yunnansourcing.com/collections/ ... oolong-tea

Is this simply too good to be true? Is there sufficient variation in quality and scarcity in zhengyan tea to allow the price difference between these teas, and say, the EoT offerings?

I'm hoping someone who understands the economic realities behind the market for zhengyan teas can shed some light on the situation: how cheap can a true zhengyan tea realistically be offered for, before it gets suspicious?
I have purchased from Wuyi Origin on several occasions and have no reason to believe the tea is anything other than what they claim it to be. In any event, what they offer is excellent tea at relatively reasonable prices.
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octopus
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Wed Feb 21, 2018 6:16 am

OldWaysTea wrote:
Tue Feb 20, 2018 8:49 pm
the best you can do is pay the right price for the right tea. If you think you are getting a deal, it is likely that the real deal belongs to the tea's previous owner.
this is the simple truth. also the figures quoted match what i know about tea production in wuyishan (i was told 5000 jin or so).

unfortunately price isn't everything you people should consider

its very simple to realize that anything called "zhengyan" below a certain price is 100% not correct and cheating. also realize that most zhengyan tea is rougui or at most shuixian, other cultivars are very rare. laocong shuixian is also really rare (similar prices apply)

what is not so simple to realize maybe is that the huge vast majority of anything called zhengyan is not correct even if the prices are high and the shops look fancy. and i am talking about china not foreign box movers who never set foot in wuyishan.

so many teas i tried saying this and that and telling stories, so many matouyan here zhengyan there, laocong whatever, just meanigless names when the tea lacks the right flavors. think about it, 3000kg of tea, some of which not even well made or use fertilizer etc so bad, and millions of very rich people who want this in beijing, guangdong etc etc. do you really think you can buy this tea easily? some shops will say they have many zhengyan teas, trust those who tell you they have many banyan ones. this is a problem many teas in china have not just yancha.

As my friend chashifu says: there is a level of tea where the price doesn't matter, the price is known. what matters is do you have access to it or not.

however don't worry too much, fortunately it is very clear to recognize what is not zhengyan tea by drinking it, it must have intense yanyun flavor,a special flavor given by the terroir, and if you drink a tea that has this flavor then it doesn't even matter if is really from liuxiangjian or the philippines. this is what really matters.
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Bok
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Wed Feb 21, 2018 7:52 am

octopus wrote:
Wed Feb 21, 2018 6:16 am
As my friend chashifu says: there is a level of tea where the price doesn't matter, the price is known. what matters is do you have access to it or not.

however don't worry too much, fortunately it is very clear to recognize what is not zhengyan tea by drinking it, it must have intense yanyun flavor,a special flavor given by the terroir, and if you drink a tea that has this flavor then it doesn't even matter if is really from liuxiangjian or the philippines. this is what really matters.
Wise words. the truth is in the cup and if you like it.
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Demea
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Wed Feb 21, 2018 9:23 am

That all makes sense to me. For what it's worth, I've not tried any of the "Zhengyan" offerings from wuyi origin or YS, but have really enjoyed some of the teas from TheTea.pl. Each of the one's I have tried have had at least a good amount of the "Yan Yun" mineral flavor that I've also noticed in more expensive teas from elsewhere. So at the end of the day, I guess it doesn't really matter all that much what the exact source of the tea is.

But to return to the original question: What do we (roughly) thing the minimum price range is for genuine Zhengyan tea from the actual nature reserve? Something like $1 per gram?
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octopus
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Wed Feb 21, 2018 12:41 pm

Demea wrote:
Wed Feb 21, 2018 9:23 am
That all makes sense to me. For what it's worth, I've not tried any of the "Zhengyan" offerings from wuyi origin or YS, but have really enjoyed some of the teas from TheTea.pl. Each of the one's I have tried have had at least a good amount of the "Yan Yun" mineral flavor that I've also noticed in more expensive teas from elsewhere. So at the end of the day, I guess it doesn't really matter all that much what the exact source of the tea is.

But to return to the original question: What do we (roughly) thing the minimum price range is for genuine Zhengyan tea from the actual nature reserve? Something like $1 per gram?
in china i would say it ranges between 4-5000 rmb per jin to easily 6000 or more. Ultra premium location (niurou ) 10000 minimum likely way more.
if you have very good connections and go buy it directly from wuyishan it might cost you a bit less. I dont think anything less than 3000 is likely to happen and even that is unlikely.

so basically $1 a gram would be a great price, I would say too good to be true.

As I was saying prices don't matter so much, the difficult part is find the actual good tea. Yanyun flavor can be found not only in zhengyan rougui but also in exceptional tea from banyan area that will naturally cost less, (idk what is meant by mineral flavor so i talk about yanyun). However all tea from zhengyan will have this flavor super clear. You can easily tell without even drinking the tea, just the smell is special.

another point to consider is that most people especially beginners don't understand why certain teas are special and can't distinguish yanyun from other flavors. It would be a waste to chase these famous teas and spend lots of money without appreciating why and is something i see happen daily in fancy teahouses. so don't worry about feeling the need rush into looking for zhengyan rougui. There is a lot of stuff to learn about yancha and is a really fun journey. at some point everything becomes clear.
oeroe
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Wed Feb 28, 2018 10:02 am

I visited Wuyishan recently.

In the park areas there were many farms. There seemed to be all kinds of tea production going on, some bushes being very young and under very efficient cultivation, while other bushes were older and had more space. Also microclimates varied hugely. Of the more famous spots I visited the Matouyan, and that area was full of quite efficient cultivation. Generally my impression is that higher the yield, lower the quality, though of course things are never that simple.

Anyway, my impression from that single visit was that there is all kinds of cultivation going on inside the park, so if you only know that tea is Zhengyan, I wouldn't be that impressed. Even a more specific designation doesn't necessarily tell much. In Matouyan there is the very open valley area, a tea plots 100m apart from each other might both be authentic Matouyan, and still have very different microclimates and cultivation practices.
Market seems to price teas by their place names, while the taste itself is derived from processing, cultivation, microclimate and cultivar.

These were my impressions, what do you think?
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