Friday, 6 February 2015

Valuable puerh tea

Puerh tea produced before 1950s was generally considered as antique puerh tea. This tea was made by private companies who followed the traditional tea making methods. This means the tea was generally processed from raw puerh tea leaves and compressed into various forms. The most common compressed shape was the puerh tea cakes that weighed 360 g. After so many years of storage, this tea had matured into a lively deep brown colour which gave off a fine delicate scent and a powerful taste. As there are not many of such tea cakes around, they are not easily found in any retail tea shops today.  However, these tea cakes are mostly in the hands of tea collectors. The tea cakes often change hands among the collectors with undisclosed price.

The puerh tea made during that era was typified by the brands it bore. Hence tea lovers call this tea the Branded Tea. Some of the prestigious brands include Song Pin brand, Tong Qin brand and Fook Yuan Qhan. These tea cakes are more than 80 years old and sometimes they may appear in tea auction.

Song Pin brand
Apart from the Branded Tea, the next category of valuable puerh tea is the so-called Labeled Tea. This tea was produced after 1950s when China was under the rule of the Communist party.This type of tea is typified by the printing on the tea wrapper. In the centre of the tea wrapper, there was a Chinese character Cha (which means tea) which was surrounded by eight smaller Chinese character Chong (which means middle). An interesting to observe is that the character Cha was printed in different colours, red, green, yellow and blue. The very first generation of these Labeled tea cakes were the Red Labels where the Cha was printed in red. It was said that after the red army of Chairman Mao took over the control of the country, the tea labels were printed in the colour of the party, ie red. Incidentally these Red Label tea cakes are very costly.

Yellow Labels

Green Labels

Blue Labels

Do you know how much is this Red Label tea cake cost?

I once saw a piece of the red Label tea cake on display in a down town Chinese Supermarket. It carry a hefty price tag of 35000 dollars. Of course the tea cake was definitely beyond my budget.

Red Label tea cake
Then one day, I spotted this web page on collecting puerh, it was mentioned that the tea cakes were mostly in private collectors' hands. Most collectors are not willing to part with the tea cakes due to their scarcity. However, one managed to persuade the other to sell him a Red Label cake. Guess what was the price? 3 million Taiwanese dollars, about S$120000. In 1995, the Red Label was only selling for 10000 Taiwanese dollars.

88 Green Cake
Another important tea is the Green Label which people call it the 88 Green Cakes. The tea was processed in the 80s and a certain Mr Chan from Hong Kong purchased a large quantity of such green tea cakes from Meng Hai factory. He cleared the ware house of this tea at a low cost as the tea was harsh at that time and no one showed any interest in the tea. The tea was harsh as it was still at a very young age and required sometime to mature. As time moves on, the tea matures. Now the tea is so good that it may replace the Red Label tea cakes in time to come. Guess how much is this tea cake? In Taiwan, it is selling at 40000 Taiwanese dollars.

Another famous brand

The Green Label, 88 Green Cake
The Yellow Label
Another important tea is the Yellow Labels. This tea was made in the 70s. Today, the tea shows exceptional quality after almost 40 years of maturity. I shall talk more this tea next time.

No comments:

Post a Comment