Topic: Puerh Controversies

This post is stemming out of a discussion I am having with Eric "Oldmanteapot"  right now.

We started with discussing the standards of quality of newer cakes, in terms of aging potential, or even their tastes now.  Some dates were thrown around all relating to the puerh bubble, as determining more reliable quality, on average decent quality, and then quite questionably quality after a certain year.   What years do you think should be thrown around for separation between these categories?

Then the question arose involving the fact that there are massive amounts of cakes labeled as coming from certain regions.  The question is Do you really think the massive amount of cakes labled as Banzhang, or Yiwu, or the other prized regions are really from those regions/mountains?

I'd like to hear everyones opinions on this, as I find its an interesting discussion.

Re: Puerh Controversies

I think that with regions that have a cachet attached to their name - Ban Zhang or Yi Wu - it might be less likely for many cakes claiming 100% status to actually be 100% Ban Zhang or Yi Wu. Of course, you have to consider that there are many "sub-regions" within these areas, and there are different mountains within Yiwu-proper (IIRC). I think Ban Zhang is broken down to Old Ban Zhang, Lao Man'E, and New Ban Zhang. Also, some of these villages are very small compared to other areas. I think I read somewhere that there's only 10 tons of Lao Ban Zhang a year...and if you think about the number of cakes that claim LBZ just doesn't add up. Of course, even within these regions there probably will be better and not as good teas. I'm sure quality of maocha will range widely, even within a small place like Lao Ban Zhang. So even if a cake is really 100% LBZ, it may not be good...

Another question I want to tack on is why are regions like Lao Ban Zhang or Yi Wu prized so highly? I know this might be a stupid question, but it's nice to draw out different opinions. I've read that Menghai harvested extensively from places like Ban Zhang in the 1980s, which may explain a little bit why these regions are popular now?

But this is just stuff I've read on the internet, which is another way of saying "I know absolutely nothing."