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20/02: 2014, a year that is unsettling II

By all accounts, 2014 is confirmed to be a unsettling year for Pu-erh tea.

I have received many messages from Yunnan that the cost of raw materials would be 30% higher than 2013, if not higher.

The popularity of Pu-erh raises an inevitable question. While some trends turn into new normals, others follow the law of gravity and decline almost as fast as they rose. The Pu-erh tea industry has been in bubbles before, when spikes in demand drove up production, only to see big money vaporizes, not because consumer preferences pull the floor out under it (since less than 30% new productions were consumed).

In a booming year, there were no restrictions on production - beyand sales projections.

But that was the problem. In 2007, tea factories predicted endless money making opportunities, pressed tea cakes as fast as they could manage, even the raw materials from other places (non pu-erh) were bought in making new Pu-erh teas(?). The price went crazy.

Soon enough, the hot money was gone, the market busted. Fortunes were ruined, and venerable brands disappeared (how many people were still buying 6FTM, and Guoyang?), leaving the industry in a shambles.

Can Pu-erh tea producers avoid the same fate this time around?

Nobody knows.

My attitude would be: if I could afford, I would buy some, If I cannot afford, I would stay away and watch. Because I don't believe the madness is normal.

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