Yes, sing this phrase 'to all the tea I drank before' to the famous song 'To all the girls I loved before' and you would had realised you are now a hardcore Chinese tea drinker. I had bought and drank some nice pu erh tea, within my budget, and I am happy my tea stash is more than enough till my next tea adventures abroad.
I recently had an online chat with my Guangzhou tea dealer friend and both of us agreed that the investment/ speculation aspect of pu erh tea had made both of us sit up and pay more attention to the pu erh tea prices.
Yes, I buy buy and sell tea. My motivation for selling tea, which I started an online store few years ago, was simple. When I go for my tea adventures overseas, I would buy the tea I like and to get a good discount, I would buy a carton of that tea. One carton of tea would take a long time to finish. Buying a few cartons every trip would add up, in terms of space, and I made the decision to keep a few tongs of tea from a carton and selling the remainder of the tea. This will free up space for me to get more tea and let my tea readers and buddies buy and drink some Singapore/ Malaysian storage tea. My readers would had realised that the tea selection in my store is small and limited. This is a hobby based business and I will continue to add more tea from my stash and from my tea adventures when I start travelling next year.
My tea dealer friend and myself noticed many new pu erh tea that are now sold are not drunk. These tea are kept to be resold for a a higher price. This investment phenomena is not new but it seemed that the volume of these investment purchased is now more pronounced. Common teas like Taetea 7542 is an example. People now buy the 7542 and store them away hoping to sell for a higher price, Taetea realised this phenomena and raised its prices of their new 7542. The demand for the new tea remained strong (in spite of higher prices) and the tea continued to be bought up. Xiaguan tea factory has joined this investment tea climate by producing Hong Yin and Banzhang limited edition cakes this year. My tea dealer told me that most of the buyers of these new tea are investment buyers than drinkers. Tea dealers had to ensure the cartons of such tea sold, must be in mint condition....any dents of damage to the unopened cartons are rejected by the buyers. My tea dealer friend remarked there is no necessity now for buyers to sample the tea before a purchase of such tea.
This uptick in pu erh tea investment is a worry as many of these investors do not appreciate or drink pu erh tea. The main goal is to profit from reselling tea. There is no concern on aging the tea. It is a strong possibility these buyers are more focussed in maintaining the 'mint' condition of the unopened carton of tea. Humidity and temperature may be adjusted to keep this 'mint' carton box and the tea may not age well inside the box.
The entry of some many new 'investment' buyers had caused some anxiety in me. Tea would be more expensive and may deter new Chinese tea drinkers to take up tea drinking as a hobby. The last time Chinese tea was heavily speculated (around 2007) caused many losses to investors when tea prices fell and left a negative impact in the Chinese tea industry. I should get a clearer picture of the tea markets when I travel next year and will let you know my findings.
Till then, thank you 2021 and I look forward to 2022.