(via: Puerh Tea Community Blog)
Linda Louie, Owner of the Bana Tea Company [http://www.banateacompany.com] wrote this great post:
“Not only are occasional Pu’erh drinkers fooled, professionals can be fooled also. Whether Pu’erh novice or professional, one needs to utilize common sense and trust his or her natural instincts. When it comes to buying Pu’erh, the most important thing is taste it before you buy. Many tea shops offer free tasting and many on-line tea shops offer free samples or samplers for a nominal price. Take advantage of these offers.
Good Pu’erh, new or aged, should give you a comfortable sensation in your mouth and a sense of well-being after consumption. The flavor should be clean and brisk without any odd taste or odor. One of the most unique characteristics of quality Pu’erh is its lingering aftertaste, especially in aged Pu’erh. For newer raw Pu’erh, your may find it a bit bitter or grassy when your tongue first comes in contact with the tea. However, the bitterness should quickly dissipate and transform into a subtle sweetness that coats your mouth. If the bitterness lingers, it is likely that the tea is of lower quality. Low quality Pu’erh is also flat and lacks the body that quality Pu’erh offers. Additionally, the brew from good quality Pu’erh should be clean, bright and translucent, not dull or cloudy. Finally, the more specific information the tea vendor provides, such as a the exact vintage, harvesting season, region where the tea was produced, the higher the likelihood you are buying a good product. Vendors who want to make a quick profit usually do not care about tea and will not invest the time to gather the information for their customers. Pu’erh teas produced after 2006 are required to pass the inspection of the Yunnan Food Administration. A blue “S” logo and a certificate number should be printed on the wrapping which serves as verification that the product has passed the inspection for food safety.”
Thanks for the great information!