pu-erh of the day. Sheng or Shou
Just wanted to start a discussion on this to “open” other ones onto what we enjoy, the deep mysterious tea from the east. Please share your experiences with others.
Tonight is a 2009 Boyou ‘0509’ ripe cake. This is my first Boyou cake and I find it to be very smooth and sweet with a dark brew almost like a cup of coffee. I am really enjoying the smoothness of this tea. It is made from material from 2008 and I would guess pretty heavily fermented from the color of the brew. I think this would be an excellent tea for a first timer. There is none of the fermented taste that you find in some other shu. This tea has been allowed to breathe to get rid of this aspect. brew at 210 with a 10 second rinse and a 10 second steep on the first cup. Overall a pretty good tea.
Great idea! I’ve subscribed to this topic. Thank you.
Is this ripened pu-erh old enough to a.) enjoy now or b.) is it likely to significantly improve if stored? If b.), about how long should it be stored to achieve an obvious improvement?
Since shu is not ripened, about how much longer should it typically be stored/aged before brewing compared to ripened pu-erh of the same production date?
Yes this on.It is old enough to enjoy now. The flavor may deepen over time some. This gave me an almost unsweetened chocolate notes on the third cup. I am going to try and post something every other day or so on this. Everyone feel free to post on this.
I have been told it is good to rinse ripe pu-er a couple of times so am not surprised your third cup assuming you didn’t rinse was a great one. My understanding is the 3rd, 4th and 5th are the choice steepings and that has been my personal experience as well.
It’s so awesome Francois that you chose to copy/paste the SAME post across multiple threads, in case we missed it the first time.
I am most interested in this thread, please keep posting in it. :)) I am really new to the wonderful world of Pu’erh. I know I love it,I thought I was going to be a shu kind of girl, then tried Mandala Tea Silver Buds Raw 2011 and was blown away. Confused now. I also don’t know how to choose a good one. There are thousands of them out there. It is very intimidating for someone just getting started. I look forward to reading about the ones you are enjoying.
Great review especially for being new to Pu-erh.
gah, I need to try that one! I have the 2012 cake that I haven’t tried yet.
I was on the same boat too – I had shu and thought it was good, but sheng sounded interesting. I was looking to buy a cake and everything I read said “new people should get shu first” but wow, sheng pu’er tastes just magical!
I have the wild monk sheng cake (http://steepster.com/teas/mandala-tea/29244-wild-monk-sheng-puer) that I haven’t tried yet. I’m waiting for a day that I can spend some time with it. Sheng is definitely a special tea. I see several cakes in my future, including the 2011 Silver Buds. I haven’t given up on Shu, I think they are different teas and there is room in my cupboard for both (I’m DYING for the Special Dark that Graceatblb has been raving about to appear on their site – I will place an order once it becomes available)
Hi Dexter3657 feel free to post on here also. I think this will “educate” us all as we constantly learn on this subject.
Having confidence in who you’re purchasing from eliminates a lot of bad puerh in my opinion. Knowing that Garret at Mandala Tea is doing his own pressing and aging, you know what you’re getting and it’s good. A few other vendors are well connected to quality sources. Mrmopar here knows how to spot fakes…a good topic for discussion…because some people sell fake puerh with phoney labels.
I just wanted to chime in and note that “fake” doesn’t necessarily have to be bad. Lots of smaller factories sell their cakes with the bigger brand names on the wrappers for extra profit and popularity, but use decent base leaves in the cakes. It’s not always the case and it’s usually a risk, but tiepai (“pasted brand”) cakes can turn out to be a bargain. Like you said Bonnie, trustworthy vendors help make sure you’re getting good fakes (and good tea in general), but sometimes you can score with the unknown brands.
For example, http://steepster.com/teas/white-2-tea/37402-2005-cnnp-zhong-cha-green-label-tiepai. I still need to post my notes on this one, but it’s mature and complex for it’s age, smooth and cooling in mouthfeel, and presents a nice, subtle huigan (returning sweetness).
I’ve tried a few “tiepai” and can vouche that they’re not too shabby, all things considered. I think for the ripe cakes, tiepai are much less of an issue in terms of taste than raw cakes. What I mean to say is ripe cakes aren’t that big a deal, whereas raw ones bear the most potential in terms of aging and worth. I’d be interested in others’ thoughts regarding this.
It seems like Mandala sells a lot of sheng under the age mark of 5 years. It seems strange since this is usually considered too young to drink. Are people storing these cakes, or drinking them as is. I’ve tried baby sheng and they’re always very astringent. Maybe you like this?
lukep, I think the processing is what makes young sheng easy to drink. No drying machines or heavy heat and smoke. Those things have to air out and age. Hand processed usually doesn’t have these aspects so easier to drink now is my guess.
I think it also has to do with the cost increase of aged sheng in the past few years. It has caused a new trend of drinking young sheng. As MrMopar mentioned above, better processing has also made it easier to drink young sheng.
Personally, I like a young sheng (5-10 years), but I have not tasted one younger than five years that really can please (Wild Monk included). I do not think astrigency/off taste has everything to do with the machinery polluting the teas, by any stretch. My understanding is that aging mellows the tanins in tea, which are responsible for astringency, because enzymatic processes over time break down tanic acids. It is also my understanding that 0-5 year sheng is even more packed with tanins than non-pu-erh tea because it is made of maochao (literally “unfinished tea”) which has not been processed to remove tanins. So in my opinion, go ahead and drink 0-5 year sheng if you like that, but I can’t help but feel it’s mostly people who like the idea of pu-erh but aren’t actually interested in getting something that tastes good. Maybe I’m wrong.
p.s. This is why I mostly drink shou. You can get something cheap and tasty with some ease.
Hey guys, it’s been a while since I participated, but in the emails this caught my attention! Love these discussions.
From my point of view it has a LOT to do with the processing, but I don’t believe it is completely tied to machinery vs hand processing. It is a matter of production and markets. Lots of people have interest in Puerh now, much more than say 10 years ago.
Not everyone can afford or even see the worthiness of spending money in aged Puerh so they get more used to the inherent tastes of young (traditional) Puerh. I don’t think there’s nothing wrong about that, after all, all lot great teas have been created to fit the market they are aimed at (Jin Jun Mei, a black tea trying to tap in to that black tea market that was relatively inexpensive compared to Oolongs, White tea in recent years, Ripe/Shou in the 70s, etc etc etc).
The market now is people who want to drink teas right away and people who are willing to pay more for less (sort of speak: you buy a really young cake for the price of a 20 year old cake). And well, some producers are just aiming at producing easier to drink cakes like Tea Urchin’s Bulang Beauty, it is an expensive cake (really expensive in my opinion), but it definitely produced to be drank earlier than most traditional cakes. It is a blend to hit a middle-ground between the pleasant characteristic of aged Bulang and the harsher notes more traditional drinkers expect from that region. With that said, I have my very high doubts about the aging potential of these cakes, but only time will tell.
I seem to have lost nearly all of my (previously ravenous) desire for shu lately just as the weather warmed and spring/summer arrived, so I guess shu/ripe puerh is more of a seasonal cold weather winter comfort tea for me. Though sheng is good anytime, I think today I’ll brew some of Verdant’s 2006 Big Leaf Sheng, the dry leaves just smell so good, like fresh cut pine wood.
The biggest difference between raw tea and ripe tea is the taste. Because of the manufacturing process, ripe tea has the mild flavor, and the raw one has some strong taste.
Info from http://www.orientalteastore.com/puerh-tea-c-6/
Usually I prefer sheng/raw over shu/ripe but there are a few exceptions. Right now I’m drinking Special Grade Green Cake Xiaguan Puer Tea 2011 Raw by Dragon Tea House which is rather nice. Not quite what I was after so I might balance it out with some shu next. Puerh is personal for me, I have to be in the right frame of mind to drink it and even then I have perfect puerh for different times, each one to match my current mood and feelings. Right now I have forgotten which one I’m craving so I’m just going to have to sip around until I find it. :)
Right now I’m sipping on a 2003 Mang Zhi raw puerh provided by Zhi Zheng tea shop based in Jinghong, Yunnan. (website at http://www.zhizhengtea.com/about-us.html). Tea is a lovely deep orange-amber, still has a bit of astringency, with a rich flavor. It is earthy and enjoyable. It came with their older tea sampler. It goes well on our cool, foggy, north coast of California day.
Thanks everyone for contributing! Lets keep it going. I hope to learn from each of you that post on this topic.
I am currently indulging in a brew of my favorite pu’er from Mandala, Special Dark. I may have to limit my intake of it because I went through 4oz in less than a month. I will probably take a break from the Special Dark and drink the sample of the 2000 Langhe Menghai shu that Garret sent with my order. I know nothing about this tea aside from what Garret wrote on the sticker…and that it’s from the year the Devils won their second cup.
Just had a Dayi 2005 100gram toucha. Still has that “punch you in the face” bite in the first infusion. The green taste is still strong in this one . It has been dry aged I believe as much of this remains. The leaves are still showing a lot of green with the red starting on the edges. It became less harsh after the third infusion and became nice and easy to drink. I think this one with the strong qi will age very nice in proper storage.
I may be sampling one of our 2005 Yiwu AGED Sheng. Stored 8 years in Yiwu by the producers. Hand aged; hand processed; never saw a machine or a chemical. It’s one of the finest aged I have tried. I sell each bing to shops for around 300-500; I may sell 10g samples…anyone interested?
Though I do not enjoy puerh very much yet (I am working on it) I really enjoy reading this thread. Way to go pu lovers!