This shu pu-erh was very smooth with pleasant (not overpowering) earthy notes. I shared it with friends, and one of them found it astringent. I did not. Perhaps it was a matter of miscalling a taste or I have now become accustomed to the bitterness of pu-erh teas.
It is from 2012, and it has been in aged in dry storage in Kunming, Yunnan. I was reading a little bit to remind myself of the benefits of pu-erh tea. In China, tea drinkers believe that pu-erh lowers bad cholesterol, help digestion, and stimulate weight. I wonder if the health benefits of pu-erh improve with ageing as well.
There are two schools of thoughts when it comes to the origin of ageing. The first argues that, through the transport of pu-erh tea on horses on a long journey from Yunnan to Tibet and other areas, the teas were exposed to rain and sunshine. These circumstances accelerated the fermentation process. As a result, it was discovered that the tea had lost its astringent character. The second school of thought argues the Cantonese first found that Pu-erh tea turned milder after being stored for several years. Actually, I do not see why these two assumptions can co-exist. However, Taiwan and Hong Kong traders indeed acquired a lot of pu-erh, and they have been stored there for a long time. Whereas in Yunnan, most stored tea was destroyed during the cultural revolution and aged pu-erh is very rare.
This tea has a middle-aged (8 years when I drink it) and can also improve further. But it is already great, smooth and thick.
Mary Lou Heiss. “The Story of Tea.” iBooks.
Zhang, Jinghong.,Project Muse. “Puer Tea.”
Type: Dark (pu-erh)
Origin: Pu-er County, Yunnan
Harvest time: 2012
Leave colour: Tones of dark brown and lighter tips
Liquor colour: Deep burgundy
Tea aroma: Earthy
Tea taste: Faintly sweet with pleasant earthy notes
Steeping/brewing: Place 6 g of this tea in a 100 ml gaiwan and pour water at 95°C. Rinse the first steeping after three seconds. Infuse the leaves for 10 sec for the second steeping and add 5 sec to the each consecutive steeping. You can steep up to several times until the taste is lost.
Shelf life: 30 years or more.