At 16 USD per gram, this 50 years old raw puerh is not expensive. It's a bargain! The main reason for this claim is the quality of the leaves. 50 years ago, China was in the midst of its 'cultural revolution'. There was no money for pesticides or fertilizers. And there were no new puerh plantations at that time. All the leaves were harvested on wild or old arbor puerh trees. And it's because of the cultural revolution that crippled the production in the factories that these leaves were never pressed.
Nowadays, fresh leaves of such quality are easily worth 1 USD per gram or more (and you often have to pay this price for a 200 gr or 357 gr cake).
We can measure the cost of time using the compounded interest rate. To obtain 16 after 50 years, we need an interest rate of 5.7%. (The formula is: 1.057^50=16 +/-.)
This means that if you invest now in top quality puerh that is worth 1 USD and if you wait 50 years to sell it at 16 USD, your return on investment will be 5.7%. Is this a lot if you consider all the risks that exist in storing tea for 50 years? There are risks of inflation, the risk of loss through theft, misplacement, the risk of the leaves not aging well due to bad conditions. And the biggest risk is that you may not be here anymore in 50 years to enjoy the tea!
With an 8% annual return, the price of 1 gram would be 47 USD and if you are expecting 10%, then the price jumps to 117 USD! These rates are more what you'd expect for one of China's most prized tea, aged raw puerh. That's why 16 USD is really such a bargain! (And it won't last indefinitely!)
With these 2 to 3 grams, I'm able to make multiple brews, at least 1 liter (Where can you purchase a 50 year old bottle of fine wine for 50 USD?) Most importantly, this is a tea that leaves a lasting impression. The taste is both thick and light, rich and pure. It's amazingly long. The scents of old precious woods, incense and camphor are a delight. It feels so natural, clean and still full of energy. And the effects on the body are warm hands and feet! It's a relaxing spa for body and mind.
My name is Stéphane Erler. I live in Taiwan since 1996 and have been studying tea with Teaparker. He's a worldwide tea expert and author of over 30 tea books. The study of tea isn't just theoretical, but it's also rooted in daily practice. It's a path of continuous improvement. As my brewing technique improves I get access to better teas and better accessories. These things go hand in hand. My blog documents my learning since 2004. And I have set up an online tea boutique with my selection of top quality teas, accessories and tea culture.