I really appreciate Puerh Shop. The prices are good, the variety is enormous, and you have a good chance of finding real gems in the many pages of products. It's like a little Taobao, except with the benefit that Jim seems to take note of tea-blogs, and makes available teas widely available that someone finds, for example, on Taobao. I get the impression that Jim loves tea, and his entire outfit seems sincere and plain good fun. It's a very positive thing. The Western-oriented pu'ercha market is a better thing for having Puerh Shop in it.
In an attempt to find something to drink, I ransacked the very depths of my cupboards and found a simply enormous bag of this 2005 Changtai Bulang that I bought ages ago and have neglected. There must be a good 20% of the entire cake in this sample.
It's currently priced at $31, and, for a six-year-old cake from one of my favourite factories, this fills me with hope. My "bargain" sensors are saturated.
The leaves, as may be seen above, are small and mostly tippy. You may not be able to make out their definite redness from the image above, but it is pronounced. Is this the redness of age, or is this one of those Changtai cakes that have seen a little bit of encouragement on the way to maturity?
Happily, it's the latter. This is an honest, raw Bulang cake. It opens in a sharp and woody manner that makes me immediately start to calculate how many cakes I should buy. Like most Bulang, it wakes me up immediately, and reminds me that this is a tea to be taken slowly.
However, five or so infusions later, and the picture isn't quite so rosy. The hope from the first infusions has faded, as it turns out to be a bit more down-to-Earth. It isn't rough, but neither is it full. $31 is a good price for a stable, powerful tea that doesn't really dominate my affections in the same way as the equally uncompromising, but more full-bodied, "Pasha" Xizihao. The sharp, woody character did not last many infusions. It is, ultimately, a lot more simple and predictable than it may seem at first.
I revise down my purchasing to "maybe one cake if I'm ordering from Puerh Shop sometime soon". A fun session, but a very mainstream (yet fairly priced) tea.