pu-erh of the day. Sheng or Shou
Promised myself to drink more puerh in 2017 since i largely neglected it last year. Once a week at minimum….since i’ve got today out, figure i might as well start the year out right with a session of Special Dark from Mandala…so damn good.
1990’s Duoteli Loose Liu Bao from EoT. This was nice, clean, and pleasant; but I didn’t notice any bells or whistles.
Later on in the day dipped into a 1999 mengku dry stored brick. This was really stimulating on the stomach – not quite the roughness of a younger sheng, nor the comforting quality of something with serious age, just stimulating. I wonder if in another 5 or 10 years of dry storage this tea might actually comfort the stomach.
Alter ego Bitterleaf sheng. Liked it for its weirdness.
2013 Yunnan Sourcing 2013 Da Si sheng bought from Green Tea Guru in UK.
2016 Kunlu Bitter Wild from EoT brewed farmer style.
Yup. I tend to brew this with around half the leaf I would normally use to avoid too much punishment.
I actually had to cheat to make farmer style work: I poured off around a third of the tea and replaced with ice.
Basically “Grandpa Style” but with a tumbler/thermos. Normally, this is a terrible idea with young puer, but somehow I made it work. Here’s what I did yesterday:
1. Added a generous pinch of leaves to a thermos, filled with boiling water, then let sit uncovered for about 15min.
2. Covered and headed out.
3. ~1hr later, opened up and guessed from the smell that I had something too strong, so dumped about 1/3 and replaced with ice, making a cold-brew.
4. Drank about 2/3 down slowly w/o replacing water, later dumping the rest.
on the eurostar back from paris I drank a bunch of sheng in a cup with boiling water poured on it. Its an acquired taste
I’m trying to get into Pu-erhs. I don’t know where to start! There are so many to choose from. I really need samples before I buy a whole cake. What are the different kinds of Pu-erhs?
The different kind of puerhs are raw puerh and ripe puerh. Ripe puerh undergoes a pile or wo dui fermentation and has a strong fermentation flavor at first. This slowly goes away over a period of years. Many companies offer samples. One of the best places for puerh is Yunnan Sourcing. They offer 25g samplers of many of their teas. They have two websites, www.yunnansourcing.com that ships from China and www.yunnansourcing.us that ships from Oregon.
You get Sheng (raw) & shou (fermented or ripe)
Young sheng can be bitter, the older it gets this note can calm down & a sweet stonefruit note can appear, and the general profile can change to more earthy & complex rather than bright & leafy.
Young shou can have a ‘fermentation flavour’ which can calm down with age. It is not always unpleasant, just a character of this type of puerh.
Then you have regions which affect the taste – the yiwu i have drank, for instance, most seem to have a more rounded & milky taste, whereas my puerh from jingmai or menghai have fruitier, brighter flavours.
Tea Urchin & Yunnan Sourcing both have a wide range of raw sheng from different ages & regions. I would try some from samples of different ages (1, 5, 10, 15 years old) & differnt regions (yiwu, menghai, lincang, jingmai, bulang etc) as much as your budget allows, just to get a feel of what you like.
As for shou, ‘golden needle white lotus’ & ‘song of chi tse’ get recommended a lot for classic shou puerh which is not too expensive. 25g samples of the GNWL are about $6-7 from yunnan sourcing.
There is also a four-number system (like 7572) which lets you know the year the recipe first was made (75) – this is not the age of the cake, then leaf grade (7) finally company (2=menghai) so you can get a 7572 from 2012.
Some companies (such as white2tea) offer a ‘basics’ set which comes with free shipping.
I hope this helps a bit!
Today I drank the oldest tea in my collection, the 1992 “Eight Character Green Mark” Aged Ripe Puerh Tea from Yunnan Sourcing. This tea was expensive but not overall a terrible price for a tea this old. And with Scott you know it is actually that old. I would probably not have paid the price for this from any other vendor with the possible exception of WHite2Tea. There are just not too many vendors I trust to be selling actual 1992 tea. This one was good overall in sixteen steeps. It had no fermentation taste at all. However, you knew you were drinking an aged ripe, not a raw. It started off witih some aged flavors, but not the tobacco and leather of an aged raw, I’m not sure what to call it. There was a bit of a wet storage note trying to poke out. The aged flavor slowly changed into something else that I would refer to as a sweet note, although this was not the sweet note of a young ripe, it was very different. If you are looking to buy some really old ripe this one is worth a sample. It was a mixture of negative and positive notes with the positive notes being stronger in the latter steeps. I gave this tea sixteen steeps and if I wanted to continue I am sure a could have gotten a few more steeps out of the leaves.
1990’s Duoteli 1st Grade Liu Bao from EoT. Now this is more like it. I thought the non “first grade” 1990’s Duoteli liu bao EoT was offering was good, but kinda insipid, but this just seems all around better.
seven sons gong Ting bulang shou from abbey teas UK.
I like this one a lot. It’s their most expensive ripe but it starts out rich and tasty, I prefer it to my song of chi tse cake, both of these I have drank a lot of.
But I think I can say that Abbey tea do sell nice tea as this one holds itself up well compared to my others (samples included although I don’t drink much shou)
I grabbed some tea and a gaiwan to take on vacation hoping I’d be able to make it, and tonight I was. I had a Da Xue Shan raw dragon ball that I got from Yunnan Sourcing. Since it was late I only had three steepings, but I have it again tomorrow since those three only scratched the surface of what this tea is going to give. Really nice raw.