(January 2022 tea club)
Happy New Year! Welcome to 2022, the year of the white2tea tenth anniversary and hopefully a lovely year for all of you.
We are returning to a shou Puer tradition with our 2021 Charlie. Pressed in December of 2021, this is a technically 2021 cake rather than 2022 as cakes are usually dated from the time they are pressed, but close enough as an entry for the new year. We have changed the blend since our last edition in 2019 and we think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
2021 Charlie – Packed full of aged material with over 4 years of age, this shou Puer blend will be drinkable straight away, but as with all recently pressed shou Puer, it will also benefit from a few months of aging. Why are freshly pressed shou Puer teas in need of age? Well, for those of you familiar with the tea pressing process, you know that teas undergo a step of steaming the loose maocha in a cylinder in order to make the tea tacky, rather than brittle. This allows the leaf to be pliable enough to be pressed into and maintain a shape like a cake or brick. With shou Puer, there is often additional water added prior to pressing because the steaming just isn’t enough to truly penetrate the tea and make it flexible enough for a press that would allow it to maintain its shape after pressing. Even with only steaming, there is a bit of residual moisture that needs to calm down for a few months/years with any pressed tea. For shou Puer, that is even more pronounced due to the additional moisture added before the steaming and pressing process. So, if you ever try freshly pressed shou Puer material and notice a bit of cloudiness/turbidity and lack of clarity in flavor or aroma, this residual moisture is often the culprit. Shou Puer tea is a tea that requires rest, both from the pile fermentation process and from pressing, so if you’re not in a big hurry to drink your shou, we recommend a period of waiting before you dive in. Six months to a year of age does wonders for most.
With that being said, Charlie has a boat load of aged material in the blend, so half of the resting work is done. The pressing rest should only require a few months in total, before the smooth, woody character is amplified. For those of you who can’t wait, you can easily have a nice session right out of the gate too. You’ve got a full 200 gram cake to play around with, so play around, take some notes and see how it evolves in the months and years (if it lasts that long) to come.
Brewing instructions: There’s only one rule with shou Puer. Boiling water rinse (or two) and the rest is up to you. Throw it in a mug, gaiwan, teapot, or whatever else you’ve got around. Any brew style from focused gongfu to complete and utter neglect will result in a wonderful brew.