I generally try to be frugal, but in the spirit of ~research~ and for the sake of the blog, I’ve become somewhat of a compulsive tea purchaser. When I went to Shanghai at the end of January, I wound up buying much more than I intended.
I used to think I was getting good prices from Baobao, the woman I usually go to at Laoximen Tea City, but now I’m not so sure. Per quantity, her prices are much higher than a place like Teasenz, but I haven’t compared her tea side by side with the others so I can’t speak on quality. She claims her tea is amazing quality but I have yet to be blown away by what she has to offer. Still, her price-to-quality ratio is better than the other tea sellers I’ve found. I’ve already bargained the price down, but I also understand the lady has costs to cover and she lets me taste a lot of different things so I guess that’s okay.
During this trip I got:
- Rou Gui at 80 RMB (~13 USD) for 50 grams
- Gaoshan Xiaozhong at 60 RMB (~10 USD) for 60 grams
- Dian Hong at 20 RMB (~3 USD)
- Tie Guan Yin at 10 RMB (~1.50 USD).
I get the feeling that my lady was just trying to get rid of some of that tea, haha.
After I finished chatting with Baobao, I went upstairs to a guy who sells better tea, although it’s much more expensive. I got Milan Xiang (Honey Orchid) at 100 RMB (~16 USD) for 50g. Originally he said the Milan Xiang was 200 RMB but he was about to leave for a holiday dinner and gave it to me for half price. He also gave me something called “Tian Cha” and I have no idea what to make of it. It smells terrible and looks like little pellets so I’m a little afraid to try it.
When I returned to my apartment in Jiangxi Province, I noticed my tea drawer was full, so I decided to take inventory. I’m actually somewhat ashamed by how much tea I have; I think I need to take a break from buying for a while. This list doesn’t even include the teas I left in my parents’ house, haha. I’d still like to visit the tea mountains, but perhaps I should wait until I have a proper stream of disposable income.
Here’s what I found in the drawer (with links to posts, if I have one):
- A Tie Guan Yin (Iron Goddess) gift
- Gushu (Ancient Tree) Red Tea
- Naturalia Gunpowder Green
- Maojian (a type of green tea)
- Fukamushi Cha (a Japanese green tea)
- “High Quality” Green tea (it doesn’t even have a name. I tried hard to find it)
- Two different grades of Da Hong Pao (Big Red Robe)
- Ripe Pu’er Cake (I didn’t look at the details, I just saw it peaking out of its storage place)
- Raw Pu’er Cake
- Teasenz Chocobar Pu’er
There are also some dried herbs in the drawer:
- Rose buds
- Goji berries
- Chinese dates
- Mint leaves
I also bought the dates, berries, and barley in Shanghai, but I don’t remember what I paid for them because I got them for cooking rather than casual drinking.
I have about five months to get through all of these because I don’t want to carry them in my luggage when I visit my parents over the summer. didn’t look at the quantities, and some of these teas are only sample-sized packages, so it should be doable. I’ll try to document the flavors as I go. I might even do a blend or two to break up the monotony, haha.