I managed to get the latest copy of the Tea Art magazine while I was in Hong Kong last month. Issue No. 52 is an almost 500 page magazine. This book mainly concentrates on Pu erh and teapots and most of its contents are advertisements taken out by Chinese tea companies and tea shops. My Malaysian readers would be happy to see a Malaysian ad. You see Veronica Chan advertising her liu bao tea shop located at Damansara, Malaysia.
Yes, one article covered the opening of Lau Yu Fat 2nd tea shop located at Central, Hong Kong. Operated by Yik (younger Lau), I managed to get him to initial his name on the page of the article.
Another article dealt on the various unique tea rooms or places to brew your tea. You can now brew your tea in a tree house, on a boat and yes, even in a cave.
This magazine even had an article on tetsubins or iron cast kettles. These kettles had been gaining popularity among Chinese tea brewers as the water boiled in such kettles tasted much softer and helped enhanced (psychologically?) the tea session. Ahem... I purchased a Chinese tetsubin during my trip last month.
A reader asked me about my outlook on Chinese tea this year. I noticed that China Tea Co (CNNP) is starting to making a strong presence. While in Fangchun, many of its tea products especially its black tea are now being promoted in Fangchun. I noticed more shops now selling CNNP black tea in bricks or logs. I also noticed a few shops carrying more of China Tea pu erh products as well.
I think for pu erh prices, pu erh tea produced pre 2005 will continue to appreciate upwards. Both raw and ripe (yes ripe teas) are showing good demand in the secondary markets. Newer post 2008 pu erh will not see much price appreciation as these teas are still available and stored in quantities by collectors and tea shops. I am sure that more than 50-60% of the big brands pu erh produced yearly (post 2008) are not consumed and are stored away in warehouses. There is a consensus among Fangchun tea shop owners that new 2015 pu erh tea will be slightly cheaper this year (and maybe next year as well) due to reduced speculation and lower demand. The weaker Chinese economy would dampened tea prices which may be good news for us, the tea drinkers and collectors. For the oolong market, traditional high roasted tea are making a very strong comeback. There is hardly any demand for light roasted oolongs. While I was in Hong Kong, a few tea shops that dealt with traditional high roasted oolongs noticed a significant spike in demand from overseas like Korea, Taiwan and even Malaysia for their high roasted oolongs. I may make another trip to Guangzhou and Hong Kong later this year and will keep my readers updated on the trends and prices of tea there.