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If you’ve ever tried to sort through the morass of puerh offerings on Ebay or Taobao, then Puerh Junky might be for you. I’m not a professional vendor, just someone who reads Chinese and thus am afforded a certain perspective on the puerh universe that can form a useful bridge for those who don’t.
Puerh Junky wants to introduce you to puerh productions that meet certain criteria that mesh age, company, theme, and region. Treasures that are smaller in size emphasize the puerh, whereas a few of the larger-sized offerings are about the art on the wrapper. Let’s address that presently.
There is a close analog between French wine culture and puerh in the Chinese context. Given its intrinsic storability, many puerhs are crafted for commemorative purposes. Beyond events, wrappers tend to capture important Chinese themes and symbols meaningful to the hill tribes of Yunnan. Among these, the peacock is particularly appealing to me. The peacock is a significant icon of fortune among the peoples in Yunnan. The Chinese Lunar New Year is commonly marked even more.
Amidst the handful of puerh enthusiasts who only read English, there is a generally unfounded suspicion around Chinese puerh productions. This is unfortunate because even though they are not priced as they were in the golden age of ignorance before ’08, they still present unreal value relative productions post 2014.
Among the famous Chinese puerh factories, CNNP entered into a realm of disrepute that does not seem to be altogether warranted. Some of the suspicion arises from the confusion that emerged once the state tea monopoly disbanded and left the individual factories to fend for themselves. Nevertheless the CNNP mark is iconic and the Kunming Tea Factory, which is the primary CNNP factory represented on this site, over the ages is an interesting experience in the evolution of the puerh market.
The shape of a puerh in part informs its taste. Therefore, the reputation that puerh factory earns is often associated with a shape. CNNP is renowned for their bricks. Xiaguan is renowned for their tuo. Non-thematic shapes generally emphasize factory reputation. Dragon pearls are true representations of the terrior stated.
By categorizing my puerh stash by gram price, I’m keeping it real. Samples are priced at twice the cost of a whole production. Sometimes only samples are offered because the purpose is to introduce a production that can be purchased elsewhere. Samples also highlight Chinese factories that are under the radar. Finally, some items are still available and upon inquiry can be special ordered.
A great deal of time and care is dedicated to this site. Since it is oriented toward Chinese production, pricing generally reflects the current market price. I am not a professional vendor. Generally, very few items are available. There’s little point in talking up a crappy production. At the same time our tastes vary, not just from one person to the next but from day to day.