There will be many others as this challenge goes on because pu-erh tea has endless varieties and due to its suitability for ageing, its profile change over time. Similar to aged fine wine, you can get hold of pu-erh from previous years and even decades (even from the previous century if you are in luck).
This pu-erh was given to me as a sample by a tea friend who mentioned in the description that ‘shu stored in a temple 2016’. When I asked him more about it, he said the tea was taken from the temple in 2016 and the person he took it did not know from when it was. I am pretty sure, it was not from 2016 because it was such a mature pu-erh with supreme mellowness and earthiness. The mystery sparked my curiosity however, there was not much chance for me to trail this tea, so I accepted it as it is and considered myself lucky.
Given this tea’s connection with a temple, I would like to talk about tea’s connection with Buddhism (Yes, I am assuming that this tea was taken from a Buddhist temple). When Buddhism was introduced in China during the Han Dynasty for about 2 millennia ago, tea was already cultivated. Soon after small-scale tea production started around the Buddhist temples. This was way before; a Japanese monk introduces tea to Japan upon returning from China which created yet another unique tea culture and practice.
Enjoy your cuppa!
Harvest time: 2016 or earlier
Leave colour: Dark maroon
Liquor colour: Clear, dark red
Tea aroma: Earthy with floral undertones
Tea taste: Mellow and sweet
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 shelf-life store the sealed tea leaves in a dry, ventilated place with low temperatures and away from odour)