Happenings! Taobao Lottery Round 3 Update

3 thoughts on “Happenings! Taobao Lottery Round 3 Update”

  1. Pasting this directly from the email I sent out:

    Short version: For a $30 group-buy, would you want $5 or less of that to go toward pre-vetting the teas, or would you prefer to throw the $30 at cakes completely blind, like I did for GB2?

    Long version: The GB3 vendor offers 8g samples of basically all his teas, which I didn’t realise (I could only find a small number last time I looked). If I ordered 10-15 samples for teas that I’d shortlisted for the group buy, a friend and I could go through them and eliminate teas that were poor value from consideration for the buy, make note of any teas we find particularly good, and give actual descriptions for the teas, allowing you to make more-informed choices when it comes to voting on teas. It also expands our net beyond the number of cakes we can afford, which I think is a critical factor. It by no means guarantees that all the teas will be to your tastes or worth the asking price, but it does narrow the search significantly.

    Considering GB2, if such a thing were possible there the CNNP cakes would have been immediately weeded out (saving a total of ~90USD). Obviously some complete misses are to be expected gambling on TB, but I think that this is a significant value-add, and the per-person cost decreases as participant count increases (I’d raise the cap to 18 people again for this GB).

    It would mean that I get ~$50 of free untested tea on top of the standard share, albeit tea I have to smash down in a few days. Whether or not you’re ok with that when I’m not supposed to be personally benefiting too much from these buys is really the question here, since I think that the RoI is very good for participants. I’d also likely add a couple of samples out of my own pocket, which would inform the buy as well.

    Anyway, let me know. If it’s not the case that the overwhelming majority want to pre-vet for this buy, then we won’t do it, plain and simple. Obviously you’d only incur a cost if you end up committing to the buy.

    Cheers – Alex

    The following is an example of what you can expect for each vetted tea if we go ahead – these are three samples I bought to make sure the vendor’s storage wasn’t poor:

    2006 Changtai Yiwu Zhengpin
    Yiwu-typical sweetness, without youthful flavours. Light in character, one-note, but very pleasant. Probably needs more leaf than the usual to get an acceptable presence. Medium body, mediocre endurance and aftertaste persistence. Fades out gracefully without astringency. Not exciting, but a drinker for people who appreciate lighter teas and worth considering at the exceedingly-low price.

    2005 Yichanghao Yiwu Zhenpin
    Wet leaf smell reveals some clean humidity, which gives way to the same sweet-fruit Yiwu character present in the 2002 Mahei from GB1. Lovely orange liquor hue. Somewhat thick, good presence/character. Tastes like it smells – Mahei-like character with just a hint of storage-induced flavour to provide extra complexity and interest. Sweetness lingers on the tongue, fruit and mild storage lingers long in the nose. Good endurance (~14 solid steeps before it started to flag). A very solid tea at an appropriate price. Imo it’s like if the 2002 Mahei hadn’t been stored so dry. Worth including in the buy imo.

    2003 Changtai Shantian Shu
    This one is crazy. Either it has a very singular Chinese-medicine(?) aroma or it’s been stored too close to a box of fabric-softening dryer sheets. I grew to cautiously (but sincerely) enjoy that note. My friend hated it from start to finish. Irrespective of that flavour/aroma, the fundamental character of the tea does not match the price and it will not be considered for the buy.


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