This is one of Puerhshop’s selections I have tried as a sample thanks to yet another tea friend who decided he can no longer stomach young sheng pu’er—appropriately, because if young sheng troubles your tummy, this bitter monster of a cake will turn you off to young sheng entirely.
It’s bitter, very bitter, but to express just a tiny apologetic nod to the tea, my sample was loose bits that perhaps don’t represent how the cake normally brews.
One of the women behind the tea table at one of the better known tea houses in Hong Kong once asked a friend to find whatever cheap super bitter young tea he could find to satisfy her fervent belief (inherited from her tea master) that bitter, tenacious young sheng turns into strong, solid aged pu’er. If you are of that school, this thick, tobacco-ash flavored, bittersweet finishing sheng pu belongs in your cabinet.
If you’re of the (primarily Taiwanese?) school of juicy whole leaves and strong flavors with little bitterness, you will lambast this tea as typical low grade plantation tea marketing itself as “old arbor” tea.
Believing that educated ambivalence is the logical conclusion of any philosophical pondering, I don’t subscribe to either camp—or perhaps subscribe to both. Thus, I don’t know what to make of this tea.
I will say that, if Puerhshop sold it for closer to its price on Taobao (26 yuan or $3.80 at time of writing), or even at twice this price, I might indulge in a purchase for the purpose of experimentation. As it is, I’m not sure I will.