I came across this 250g Dahei Shan [big black mountain] wild purple puer cake at a vendor recently and thought I would write about it, not because the tea was interesting, but because it served as an interesting price vs. tea quality comparison.
This puer tastes remarkably similar to Yunnan Sourcing Dehong purple. Smokey and savory, but unfortunately, with very little of the character that was so expressive in the YS Dehong. (It’s not a direct 1:1 comparison, there was some difference in the huigan [sweet aftertaste] and astringency as well) The cake has been stored in Beijing, leaving it noticeably dry on the surface, as pictured above. The leaves border on an inky purple, lovely how they produce the unexpected golden liquor pictured below.
As is typical of Beijing aging (see: bone-dry), maturity is earned slowly. The soup is gold, reflecting what I guess is very little change from its young state. For a 5 year old tea, this tea has remarkably little maturity. It is a bratty five year old with no manners. Somewhere in the world I suspect this tea has a cousin who grew up in Guangzhou and is well behaved at the dinner table. I’d like to meet him. Whether the lack of character in this tea was due to its storage, or the material itself, is difficult to say. In either case, what struck me was the price tag.
As I noted above, this pretty little cake is 250 grams, but it carried a price tag of 400 RMB (~ USD 63 ) , which is a bit high for my taste. The tea was quite pleasant, but when you consider the YS Dehong is 400g and less than 1/2 of the price (not to mention better tea, in this writer’s humble opinion), it is not worth it. I am not sure where this price tag comes from, but it seems to be related to the labels wild and purple. I have seen some other cakes floating around that are 100g of wild purple this and that for absurdly high prices. The only time something wild and purple should realistically hit this price range is if the cake shows interesting age or if you are at a Phish concert.
In some alternate universe where I had no other purple teas to compare this to, and the price was more towards USD 45, I might consider buying a cake out of curiosity to how it would develop.