Sunday, November 3, 2019

Buying Expensive Tea

This Rougui costs me $500 for a 500g pack.  This is to me, an expensive tea.  I could have used the money to buy a return air ticket to Guangzhou, maybe even adding a couple nights hotel stay if I had travelled during the low season.  I could also get myself a nice noise cancelling headphones, which will be extremely useful like if there was a crying baby in the airplane.  Yes, the money could be spent on so many other things.  

I would normally spent between $1-2 for a tea session for myself at home.  I use about 7-8 of pu erh (raw or ripe) and 5-6g of oolong per tea session.  Spending $2 for pu erh session would imply that the pu erh cake (357g) would had cost me about $100 (if I had broke the cake into 50 portions of 7g).  A $2 oolong tea session (5g) would mean a cost of $40 for 100g of oolong.  

Back to this rougui.  This tea is $1 per gram and $6 per tea session when I use 6g of this tea.  

When you buy an expensive tea, say 2-3 times more than what you normally pay, do not expect the tea to be 2-3 times more aromatic in terms of taste and aroma.  My regular oolong tea I drink normally can make 4-5 strong infusions and this rougui could also make 4-5 infusions (not 10-15).  When I pay more for an older tea, I am paying for the following reasons - a particular vintage, taste or aroma.  The tea may had reminded the drinker of a pleasant memory.  This rougui is not more tasty or aromatic.  It is slightly more smoother as it is old but I had purchased it for its finish.  This tea has a very light perfume finish and the aroma stays longer in the mouth for a few minutes after the tea session.  

When you buy an expensive tea, I can only give you an advice.  You must be able to try or sample the teas before your purchase.  You cannot depend on reviews, forums or opinions to make the purchase.  Every drinker’s taste preferences is different.  What I like, you may not like or agree.  The description of taste and aroma is different for everybody. You must know what you are buying as such purchases can be an expensive mistake.  Conduct a simple experiment......get a tea buddy to send you 2-3 packs of tea, just naming them sample1, sample2 and sample3, preferably one cheap and one slightly more expensive.   Brew and drink the tea and see whether you make a good tea connoisseur.  

Most importantly, we must be happy with our tea.  Good tea need not be expensive.