If you follow what gets said about prices each year, you would end up with the impression that the average price of tea has gone up. But more specifically the price at the most sought after regions (say Lao Banzhang, Bingdao) have gone completely through the roof. A lot of this narrative is anecdotal. Tales of rich Chinese buying up all the top-end product from X area. Part of it can also be seen when someone in the Sinosphere posts the maocha prices per location. These lists come with all sorts of contextual caveats, but the trend seems real. I don’t see any red flags to really doubt this storyline, but I was curious if it’d show up by looking at some of the data of prices on production by western facing vendors.
About a year ago, I used theWay Back Machine/Archive.org to go back and examine the prices at conception of tea from western vendors since 2011. This was a valuable exercise and produced some interesting findings on a range of things, from price fluctuation, to the specific market each vendor aims for, etc. Crunching the numbers also statistically confirmed what many have long known. Fresh/young pu’erh prices have gone up in price by a whole lot in this decade.. I decided to update that post with teas that were added since. I added 55 spring productions in total, 51 productions from 2018 and 4 from Chawangshop’s 2017 (they were slow to add them to their site in 2017).
Since I’ve crunched a bunch of numbers for other pu’erh categories, I figured I should do the same for ripe pu’erh. Ripe pu’erh is not exactly the most talked about tea, but it is generally considered to be affordable and there’s enough options easily accessitlbe to keep most people satisfied. I compiled all the ripe productions sold by popular western pu’erh sources: White2Tea, Crimson Lotus Tea, Bitter Leaf Tea, Chawangshop, and Yunnan Sourcing, limiting the massive Yunnan Sourcing selection to 50 teas (still more than any other vendor). It’s also important to note that this data shows the cost of ripe pu’erh for awestern audience and doesn’t necessarily imply much about the ripe pu’erh market in east Asia.