|2014 Spring Jinxuan from Zhushan|
If you wish to age some yourself, first you need good material (high grade leaves and a good wodui process), then you need lots of time (25 years), a storage place and good storage conditions. Maybe you'll be lucky and maybe you won't. So, it's completely normal that such a puerh would cost 2.5 USD per gram now. The price of a 25 years old bottle of a great wine is also far more than what a new one costs. The advantage of tea is that you don't have to purchase the full bottle to get a taste of it. A few grams will be enough to have that special experience. And if you are several people sharing this tea, it won't cost much more than a cup of coffee from a popular roaster.
|Light celadon cups and gaiwan|
It's interesting to brew leaves that have a different character and that have a different price level. First, you learn to adjust your expectations. Then, with any tea, there's still the game of brewing? Did I get it right? Did I get the most out of it? Sometimes the disappointment doesn't come from the leaves, but from our brewing. With Oolong, a key is to get the leaves to fully open and occupy the volume of the gaiwan evenly. This is what my Jinxuan leaves looked like after my second brew:
But the biggest risk about old puerh isn't rising prices. It's not knowing sufficiently about it and make the wrong investment decision. What's good quality? How does good puerh evolve? What's the difference between old sheng and old shu puerh? How can you tell the age and quality of the puerh from looking at the leaves? Is old puerh something that I really like?... If you are not comfortable answering these questions, be very careful. Educate your palate by experiencing small quantities. Try different reputable vendors even to compare and learn what's good and what's not. Only then should you treat your next purchase of puerh like an investment and not an expense.