Do shou improve with time?
I’m thinking about buying some teas this year and aged it for 5years aprox before drinking it and I have some questions.
Do shou improve with age as much as sheng?
I think a sheng goes through more levels of change meaning a lot of different tastes throughout the aging, but some age on the shou helps mellow the pile taste if it has some as well as make it a more enjoyable liquor. My experience is probably more limited in this area than others on here but thought I’d throw my opinion out there. Some young shous are tasty right off the cake/brick and some are as fishy as a tuna can. I think some factories age it a bit before release anyway and some don’t. I’d go for it! I just don’t have the will power to not drink it all up right away!!
They will settle from the Wou Dei process over time. Five years is a good target for drinking. I would stick to the bigger factories and the sellers we have on this site.
I try to use those guidelines for the reasons of larger factory sellers and the local ones for sanitation. Shou is wet piled and allowed to sit for a while. About like dropping something on the floor. If the floor is clean you would be more inclined to eat it.
Sheng over the years will change a lot.
I’ve recently tried some fresh shou (white2tea club had freshly pressed shou balls a few months back). With a few months, I got more steeps and the flavor was less funky and sour. In 2012 I bought a new shou off Yunnan Sourcing and it was kinda rough. I drank it 2 years later and it had greatly improved. Though, a fresh shou is pretty rough tasting, that’s for sure, whereas many young shengs are pretty drinkable.
It also depends on the shou – a lower fermented shou would age better, IE Menghai V93.
Yes, shou will improve with age but not as dramatically as sheng. The first five years is about clearing the fermentation flavor. I try not to drink any shou under five years old with the exception being Mandala’s Noble Mark which is a 2012 but absolutely delicious. My ideal benchmark is 10+ years old. The real magic of pu erh is in the 20+ year aged sheng as the complexity of flavor really comes out especially in the 30-50 year old range, but shou doesn’t change as much and doesn’t develop as much complexity in its advanced years. With your time frame of aging for five years sounds perfect for shou. Sheng you gotta be a lot more patient.
Shou definitely improves with age but mostly it loses its fermentation taste. This is considered an improvement by many who have an aversion to it. Sheng may improve more but it is usually guesswork as to what sheng will really turn out good.