Haiwan Tea Factory in 2009 started a premium range of pu erh tea to cater to the growing number of tea drinkers and collectors worldwide.
I was fortunate that I was in Guangzhou in spring 2010 and was introduced to this range of tea while I was at the Haiwan teashop there. The prices of these tea, at wholesale prices was considerably higher than other brands' new tea offering. Yes, I bought some…8 tongs (link).
This No.1 tea recipe was concocted by Mr Zhou Pin Liang (president of Haiwan) and Ms Lu Guo Ling, both are very well known in the pu erh tea industry. Mr Zhou (was the director and production manager of Menghai Tea Factory before he ventured to form Haiwan Tea Factory with a few colleagues) was also accredited with inventing shou or ripe pu erh tea in the early 70s.
But I digress. Buying an expensive tea, like paying 3-5 times the price of the current tea you are drinking, does not mean that the taste and aroma of the pricier tea will be amplified 3-5 times. You would (if you are a knowledgeable buyer) be willing to fork out a higher sum for a particular vintage that appeals to you. Different types of tea, coffee, wine, or even cheese will appeal to different people. Yes, better quality products and ingredients will cost more. Conspicuous consumption costs even more.
Today, new teas are very costly. Pu erh teas from Bingdao and Laobanzhang districts make this Haiwan No.1 tea look very inexpensive now. Overall raw and ripe pu erh prices are pretty high but prices this year seem to have tapered off a bit.
Back to this tea. This tea brews strong. This tea has a very nice sweet aftertaste with a pleasant herbal and 'fresh bread' aroma. This 400g cake will keep me very happy for 1-2 months.