I reviewed a lot of pu-erh teas and each time I try a different pu-erh, I think that there is still a lot to learn.
On the 98th day of this challenge, I wrote about a sheng pu-erh from Bulang which is considered a great pu-erh mountain in Southwest of the Lancang River and Bada, where this sheng pu-erh comes from, is another one. Just that I am comparing Bada with Bulang, I am not going to compare the two pu-erhs. There are 11 years between their harvest and a huge difference in terms of ageing and tasting profile. However, I will say that this younger sheng was very light with bitter-sweetness and nice floral notes which I loved.
I have a new sourcebook about pu-erh tea, and it helped me get an official description of the pu-erh tea according to the Standard Counting and Measuring Bureau of Yunnan. Accordingly, pu-erh tea is “made of large-leaf tea leaves that have been dried in the sun. The tea leaves should be produced within a certain area of Yunnan. The final product is loose or pressed tea via post-fermentation. Its appearance is brown-red; its tea brew is bright and dark red; it has an “aged aroma”; it tastes mellow, with sweetness following bitterness; and after infusing, the tea leaves are brownish red.”
The same book by Zhang, Jinghong also talks about the analogy by Zou Juaju (the vice head of the Yunnan Tea Association) whereby he compares pu-erh with red wine and advocates that the unique flavour of pu-erh develops from the astringent elements of the big leaves. For good wine, one also needs astringent grapes. I have to say it is not the first time I hear pu-erh compared to wine both of which may improve in taste and increase in value when aged appropriately. However, it is the first one that refers to the material plant which I find interesting.
I enjoyed this Bada Shan sheng pu-erh. More than I expected. I am looking forward to discovering more pu-erh teas and bore you with a lot of information!
Bear with me!
Source: Zhang, Jinghong. “Puer Tea.”
Origin: Bada Shan, Yunnan
Harvest time:Spring, 2017
Leave colour: Shades of dark green, and brown
Liquor colour: Cupper
Tea aroma: Slightly earthy
Tea taste:Mellow and light with sweet astringency and pleasant floral notes
Steeping/brewing: You can use around 100°C water temperature and brew for up to one minute in gongfu style or up to three minutes in Western-style. You can brew the leaves many times (until the taste is lost). To each infusion add additional time. Experiment for a result that suits your taste.
Shelf life:10 years and more (to improve the shelf-life, store the tea leaves in a dry, ventilated place with low temperatures and away from odour)