A Tea Addict's Journal

2007 Sunsing Yiwu

January 21, 2013 · 20 Comments

This is a cake of Yiwu tea, supposedly, that’s quite cheap and decent. It’s from 2007, right around the time of the craziest prices during the bubble, although in retrospect, the prices weren’t that crazy – it’s crazier now, believe it or not.

There’s not much that they told me about this tea, other than it’s from Yiwu, and that it’s some sort of arbor tree tea – not old tree, mind you. It’s only 250g, but it’s the price of a run of the mill cake. The thing is, this tea is pretty decent – better than a lot of stuff out there that’s 5 years old and selling for far more. So, why buy those?

Of course, this tea doesn’t have a fancy background. Nobody, as far as I know, has reviewed it and deemed it good, so no one’s chasing after it, making its likelihood of appreciation low. It is not exactly the most exciting thing out there in terms of taste, but that’s really not much of an indictment. A lot of teas that I’ve tasted recently that are from the past few years are positively awful – just not very good, especially when factoring in the price of such things. Unlike say five years ago, nowadays just finding something decent is difficult without needing to pay through the roof. Increasingly, I find it a better deal to look for something a bit aged, and among those, pick and choose the ones that are not as famous. Chances are, there are decent teas out there that can be had for not a lot of money. This cake is one of them.

I think this tea was perhaps stored in a slightly humid environment, but not quite a traditional storage – there isn’t a noticeable storage taste to the tea. It’s got decent throatiness, reasonable body and fragrance.

Yet chances are, cakes like this will languish in the stores that made them, and I can go back a few years later and it will still be priced at more or less the same price as it is now, maybe adding a bit of inflation, etc. I see cakes here that are being sold at the same price as they were four or five years ago, and for these non-famous cakes, I don’t see that changing anytime soon. So remember that for every cake out there that has gone through stratospheric increases in prices, there are probably a few dozens that have been sitting at the same level for ages. For those of us not in the business of speculating on puerh, these are the things we can buy to enjoy.

Categories: Teas

20 responses so far ↓

  • Ira // January 21, 2013 at 10:34 am | Reply

    …but now that you have written about this little guy, it probably will rise to the “dragon gate” level … how I wish I live in HK sometimes. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • darwin // January 24, 2013 at 11:49 pm | Reply

      a quick look at their site pegs this cake at 150HKD at the moment…
      i hope i can try it out in my next trip to hong kong around end of march and still see it at the same price…

  • Karl S. // January 21, 2013 at 11:47 am | Reply

    Love your blog!! I am a tea enthusiast myself and current student of the American Tea Masters Association working towards becoming a certified Tea master. I also hope to open a on line market selling premium gourmet tea and premium blends. hopefully before the end of 2013. Curious is there a way for me to follow your blog and or get notices of new entries via email?
    thanks again!

    Karl S.

  • TwoDog // January 22, 2013 at 8:39 am | Reply

    Looks like a clean cake with good age on it from the color of the soup. I really do envy your being in Hong Kong. Digging out something with this kind of storage in Beijing happens very rarely. A lot of 2007 cakes look like 2011 cakes.

  • Ben Youngbaer // January 22, 2013 at 10:07 pm | Reply

    I bought this cake from Camellia Sinensis about a year ago, haven’t had any yet but I think it’s time! The price was good(it has since gone up by 25%), it’s from Yiwu, and I trust the sellers so it was an easy buy. I’ll post about it when I drink it!

  • TheeGreatPumpkin // January 22, 2013 at 10:11 pm | Reply

    Any recommendations on where to start with cake style teas and Pur-eh teas in general? I live in the middle of the states and have only seen cakes like this in Chinatowns in LA and NYC. Any advice on what to look for or what to avoid when shopping for aged teas like this? Any online resources that you could recommend?

  • CC // January 23, 2013 at 4:51 pm | Reply

    I’m still pretty new to pu-erh, good to know I don’t have to pay an arm and a leg to get something decent!

  • Gareth // January 25, 2013 at 5:37 am | Reply

    Great blog! I’m setting up an online tea shop at the moment so very grateful your tips. Keep up the good work ๐Ÿ™‚

  • JC // January 25, 2013 at 7:57 pm | Reply

    Hi Marshal,

    Nice review. I’m constantly looking everywhere for information about Puerh and other tea in general, and a lot of times I find some information you’ve put out or just agreeing with you with previously read things.

    I have a question, you mention traditional, wet and dry storage. I know what you mean by them (I’ve read other conversations and had some myself with you in teachat), but there’s something that I have still to learn or at least better associate. The taste. When you mention storage you are usually referring to the taste and perhaps the scent (all other things aside). What tastes ‘hint’ or ‘scream’ wet storage well done vs badly done?

    Thanks in advance,

    • MarshalN // January 29, 2013 at 1:40 am | Reply

      Well, that’s rather difficult to explain – trying to explain what something tastes like. Other than “storage” taste I’m not sure what to tell you. Some might say it’s a bit moldy tasting, or perhaps musty. Some might say it tastes like a damp forest floor.

      • JC // January 29, 2013 at 11:33 am | Reply

        Thanks for the reply Marshal. I want to try well done wetter storage ‘correctly’ done vs ‘the muskier’ type. Just for learning sake. Do you recommend anywhere I could find samples any of the two. I know Yunnan Sourcing Sell some wetter storage teas, but I’m not sure where to look for the ‘just past the prime’ ones.

        I feel like this is a lesson that could come most valuable when sampling teas. As you said, describing tastes is hard and often feels like an incomplete description. When you said ‘storage’, ‘musty’, ‘damp forest floor’ where you referring to when you find that in Sheng or in general (I left moldy out for obvious reasons, that should be the ‘scream’ of wet storage).

        Thanks again and thanks for running the Blog

        • MarshalN // January 29, 2013 at 11:35 am | Reply

          Moldy could be the result of poor storage, not traditional storage, so I wouldn’t equate the two. There’s some overlap, but they’re not exactly the same.

          As for online – I’m afraid I can make no recommendations. I haven’t had a good traditionally stored tea from any of the online vendors, at least not among the samples people have sent me to try.

  • David // January 29, 2013 at 5:17 am | Reply

    In mid September 2012 my wife and I were coming back from a trip to the UK and had a stop over in Hong Kong. We went to a tea shop and bought this tea. A good tea for the price, not great but good.

  • Dustin La Mont // February 23, 2013 at 9:53 pm | Reply

    Either I’m missing something here, or you drink your tea really strong.
    I have some ten-year-old Yiwu crammed into my pot at the moment and it’s still not coming out that dark!

    • MarshalN // February 23, 2013 at 11:30 pm | Reply

      Colours are highly variable – depends on storage, condition, whether your tea is actually old, etc. Where did you get your tea from?

      • Dustin La Mont // February 23, 2013 at 11:58 pm | Reply

        I got it from YSLLC. It’s not by any means a fantastic tea, but it’s a learning experience: http://www.yunnansourcing.com/store/product.php?id_product=1994
        Being in NZ my tea-buying opportunities are pretty much limited to what I can get ahold of over the internet – which, from what I’ve gathered reading your blog, is quite a limitation indeed.

        I’ve got other, younger, sheng teas and they all come out very light as well.
        Hmm… I drink tea in traditional three-sip cups – ~40mL or so each. The cups you use are generally a bit bigger, aren’t they? Maybe that’s why your tea always looks so dark to me.

        • MarshalN // February 27, 2013 at 1:51 am | Reply

          Ok, well, that’s hard to say, but yeah, if you’re confined to the internet, the sources are indeed pretty limited.

          It could also be your water. What do you use to brew tea?

          My cups are indeed relatively deeper, which will also make things look darker.

          • Dustin La Mont // February 27, 2013 at 2:14 am

            Usually I just use tapwater – it’s not great, but it’s not that bad. Occasionally I splash out and get spring water from the supermarket down the road, but usually I’m too lazy. Plus it only comes in 1.25 L bottles, of which I’ve now accumulated about six empties lying around my room.
            I’ve brewed this particular tea with the spring water before, and it still came out a pale orange. Much smoother, though; the brand of water I like has quite a high level of dissolved bicarbonates, so it’s quite nice to drink.
            This most recent time I completely overfilled the pot (even more so than usual) and it came out quite red to begin with, fading eventually to an orange colour.
            I have a few other older (~10 years) teas, but they’re mostly Kunming-stored so they come out rather pale, too.
            Oh well, no tea for me for a while now anyway – I’ve just had my wisdom teeth out ๐Ÿ˜

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