Is it about size? (tea cakes)
Hello Tea Dudes and Dudettes,
I trust you have all been fine and your tea has been enjoying bathing in your teapots/cups etc.
I have been drinking a lot of pu’er tea lately (and even before that) and I have fallen into philosophical questions of the why and how of things.
As we all know, pu’er tea comes in different kinds, shapes, forms and sizes. In this thread, the focus will be on sheng pu’er (raw pu’er) as I have not yet befriended shou puer (ripe) yet. Sheng pu’er has been coming in different shapes such as round cakes (beeng), mushroom shapes, bricks, dragonBall, domes, etc though some shapes such as the mushroom and dome shape are more specific to ripe. I have personally only had the chance to indulge in beengs and dragonBalls as well as a couple of steeps with the brick cake form.
This thread will focus on your view and knowledge of the beeng cake form (the disc form) of sheng pu’er. As far as I know, they principally come in three sizes, namely – 357g / 200g / 100g though there have been such beengs which were 400g or 250g too. Sheng pu’er tea normally is loose – maocha – but has been rendered into cakes for logistical purposes (of transporting and preserving it).
As consumers of sheng pu’er, what size do you favor? Also, what is your take on the reason behind all these sizes as well as their standardization? Should producers keep to these weight standards, or do you believe it is OK to juggle with any weight?
Finally – would you buy cakes smaller than 100g? More than 357g? And what is the main factor affecting your purchase of a given size?
Thank you for your insights.
I’ve been seriously in tea for 2 years, so discount my opinion accordingly.
The preference between any compressed tea and maocha should depend on when you will drink the tea. As I have understood it for sheng puerh, maocha ages differently/unfavourably compared to compressed tea. So with maocha you basically have a snapshot of the tea that you will drink soon.
Compressed tea can sustain humidity inside better than maocha, so all the enzymes, bacteria and what not have a safer space to interact with and develop the sheng tea.
As for size, I appreciate the different sizes. For some teas a 357 gram cake is nominally too much money to invest for me, so I appreciate the 200/100 gram sizes while at the same time having the ageing aspect mentioned above covered. (I suspect that is part of the reason why these cakes exist?)
My main consideration affecting my purchase of a certain size is (subjective) price-quality ratio and nominal cost. E.g. I don’t have to think about buying a YS Impressions cake as they are $30-50 (for 357/400gr), but when looking at something fancy I appreciate being able to buy a 100 gram cake for 100/357-400+x% the price and the privilege to enjoy the tea in compressed form rather than maocha.
most of my cakes are 200g because the places I prefer to purchase from sell mostly 200g cakes. for me, I wish larger cakes were available. I feel I reach the halfway point on a 200g cake too quickly and start to feel the need to pace myself.