A Tea Addict's Journal

Buying the packaging

September 13, 2011 · 11 Comments

Every tea mall in China has at least a few stores that only sell packaging.  They sell bags, boxes, tins — you name it, they’ve got it, and in the past few years the packaging has gotten more and more elaborate.  They range from simple foil bags these days to ceramic jars inside a ginormous box.  Generally speaking, teas sold in such packaging tend to be poor quality and overpriced.  My friend L’s shop once did a business with some guy who wanted 100 cakes of very regular cooked puerh, and who wanted them to buy the best packaging, because it’s for gifts.  L charged him double the cost.  That guy, in turn, sold the tea for about 10x profit.

So, when you get boxes like this, be cautious, very cautious


This is some dahongpao, with individual foil bags inside for one serving each.  At least the foil bags aren’t too small, so that I don’t have a problem with the serving size.  Teas packaged like this, however, are rarely any good.  My parents got this as a gift, and when it’s a cooked puerh, I’ll usually reject it.  Since it’s a yancha, I figured I’d give it a try.


Mercifully, the tea is actually a medium roast, unlike many of the newer yancha made in the Mainland these days which are light roast, and thus absolute abominations.  The tea already emits a nice smell when it hit the still-warm teapot.  The leaves are a dark colour, almost black, but not quite.


Not nearly as bad as I feared.  The tea is ok – has a decent body and fragrance, even a little qi.  Not the greatest, but not the worst.  I’ll skip the box next time though.

Categories: Teas

11 responses so far ↓

  • gingko // September 13, 2011 at 12:09 pm | Reply

    Yeah I am still very often shocked by how expensive some packages are. Last time my aunt regifted me a nicely packed Tie Guan Yin set, she said, kind of sheepishly, “Don’t feel you have to finish it. The package says ‘King of Tie Guan Yin’, so it’s highly likely this is not good tea at all.” I found her words very funny :-p

  • Aaron C // September 13, 2011 at 1:25 pm | Reply

    Totally agree.

  • Something/somebody // September 15, 2011 at 11:00 am | Reply

    Ahhhh the lovely world of marketing makes the world go round ; ) although I would probably spend the money if the packaging was esthetically appealing and versatile.

    • MarshalN // September 15, 2011 at 11:05 am | Reply

      Please stop posting messages that are borderline spam (i.e. naming yourself “Best Teapots” and then linking to your site). If you wish to post comments, that’s fine, but please don’t post comments under such obviously spammy names. Thanks.

  • Merrisue // September 16, 2011 at 4:26 pm | Reply

    I sincerely apologize for any inconvenience my posts have been. I happen to really enjoy your blog and find the topics you write about to be interesting and informative and honest. I feel that I learn something new every time I visit your site so I will use my name from now on and I hope it will be more enjoyable for everyone. Again I am sorry.

  • John // November 16, 2011 at 8:13 am | Reply

    My partner brought me back the WUYIYANCHA from Beijing a few days ago, I am quite unsure how to drink it in the packaging there were 2 foil bags, am I to believe that 1 bag is for 1 pot of tea?

    It goes very dark orange/peat colour.

    Also I have that average one you mentioned at teh bottom, the one the tea leave unravel ater a good soaking in the pot. I actually like that one as it is quite light and at work I drink a lot of it to make the time pass. I think a heavier one would be too much.

    Great journal though – seems I have an enormous amount to learn about tea!

    • MarshalN // November 16, 2011 at 10:30 pm | Reply

      How big are the foil bags? If they look like single serving size (5-10g) then yes, but otherwise, no. If it’s two bags, I’d imagine they’re big bags, in which case don’t dump it all into one pot. Sorry if this sounds ridiculously stupid – I’ve heard of people doing that before for a 100g bag of tea. Dark orange is about right.

      • John // November 22, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Reply

        Hi Marshal, thanks for the reply.

        I wanted to ask you another question. Is a bit of a funny story really. My partner who is chinese brought back a package of this tea as a wedding gift for my sister. It was in a very lovely box which was unopened. It looked like the perfect gift. We didnt want to open the box and look inside so we can’t be 100% what it was. I think it turned out to be some sort of Wuyiyancha tea.

        Afterwards it turned out that a friend of my sister who is Chinese said the expiry date was 2005.

        Is it still ok that this tea can be drunk? I heard that this tea can age with time. The packaging on our Wuyiyancha tea say it s good to drink 5 years after production date.

        What are your thoughts?

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