Young sheng - "green" vs. "non-green"


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Young sheng - "green" vs. "non-green"

Postby TokyoB » Nov 10th, '11, 20:39

Ok. Here's the issue - Over the past several months I've been drinking young sheng. Some of this young sheng falls into a category that I think of as "green" or maybe "green tea" sheng. However I don't mean this in a derogatory sense or that the processing has not been done correctly. What I mean is that some young sheng seems very young and fresh with the dry leaf also typically being very green. It has a particular "young sheng" flavor to it which I can't describe well. I also find that if I drink too much of this young sheng it can be a bit tough on the stomach. I think the "green" shengs are also more fragrant. On the other hand, there are other young sheng which don't seem "green" at all. I think even the dry leaf looks less green.

So maybe the best way to describe this is to give some examples. Yesterday I had the YS 2010 Autumn MangFei. I enjoyed it but it struck me as being a prime example of "green". I think some (all?) of Nada's teas (Essence of Tea) might also be in this category. In the "non-green" category are the two XZH 2010 teas at HouDe along with the 2009 CGHT Yiwu at HouDe (ok, this one is aged a bit, I know).

My question is, why are some young sheng so "green" and others not? (By the way, I am not trying to say one type is better than the other although I might prefer the "green" types myself while others clearly prefer the "non-green".) Are these "non-greens" a different varietal or from different areas than the "greens"? Are the "non-greens" more oxidized or otherwise processed differently? Or am I the only one who experiences this green/non-green categorization?
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Re: Young sheng - "green" vs. "non-green"

Postby puerhking » Nov 11th, '11, 01:15

There is definitely a spectrum of flavors out there. Both the XZH and CGHT seem to be more processed. I think there are many factors involved. Varietal like you said, the age of the mao cha…not all cakes are pressed from current year tea. Spring vs. fall, wild tree vs. old tree vs. plantation tea…the mineral content of the soil (what tea mountain they came from) and probably the biggest factor would be how long they are treated in the wok and also the temp. of the wok. Also if there was more oxidation of the leaves than is optimal…all of these will affect the flavor.
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Re: Young sheng - "green" vs. "non-green"

Postby nada » Nov 11th, '11, 07:16

I began writing a reply to this, but since it's a relatively common question & my answer was getting quite long and comprehensive, I decided to publish it as a blog post instead.

Hope this helps...

http://www.essenceoftea.co.uk/blog/2011/11/green-puerh-vs-non-green
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Re: Young sheng - "green" vs. "non-green"

Postby nada » Nov 11th, '11, 07:23

Also... on the specific companies you mention...

There is a tendency amongst Taiwanese puerh producers to wither the leaves a bit more - perhaps spreading them out on a mesh and blowing (heated) air under them. This comes from a background of oolong production. You can see a photo of this process being done (this time by a Guangzhou based company) here...

http://teaurchin.blogspot.com/2011/10/he-kai-ancient-tea-garden.html
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Re: Young sheng - "green" vs. "non-green"

Postby TokyoB » Nov 11th, '11, 07:42

nada wrote:I began writing a reply to this, but since it's a relatively common question & my answer was getting quite long and comprehensive, I decided to publish it as a blog post instead.

Hope this helps...

http://www.essenceoftea.co.uk/blog/2011/11/green-puerh-vs-non-green

Nada,
Very helpful, as ever.
Thanks!
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Re: Young sheng - "green" vs. "non-green"

Postby gasninja » Nov 11th, '11, 11:40

Thanks Nada its Great to actually get informationon this subject from an experienced source.
There is a very in depth two part conversation on pu-erh processing from Zhi zheng's Blog.

http://www.zhizhengtea.com/puerblog/?p=460

http://www.zhizhengtea.com/puerblog/?p=476

Their teas i believe( I have only read several reviews have not actually tried them) are more of the "non green" variety . I think Zhi Zheng is now a board member. Any thoughts from the other side of the Wok?

Or Feel free to tell me your teas are the greenest of the green since I have not personally tried them, I very likely have no clue what I'm talking about
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Re: Young sheng - "green" vs. "non-green"

Postby zhi zheng » Nov 17th, '11, 01:13

I tend to agree with the comments here: http://www.teachat.com/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=16261&p=209804&hilit=green+puer#p209804

But I'm not sure if we're all talking about the same thing.

There are two things that I know of that will tend to produce a Sheng Puer with more 'green tea' like qualities. One is the shaqing/frying temeperature: a higher temperature (say 90 + C) will do this. The other is tea that is not sun-dried and the temperature of drying is a little high. This will impact the ageing process.

I agree with a fair bit of what Nada says: Carelessness is not in short supply, but I find it hard to imagine that it will produce the results we're talking about. Sloppiness is not going to produce consistency. The leaves stuffed in the bottom of the bag/ badly handled/bruised/left too long/oxidised/ are going to be obvious amongst the majority of less or undamaged leaves.

I also agree that there is nothing nefarious about varying the wilting time. It's also down to personal taste to some extent. Nobody, not even Dayi, is trying to please everybody.

I am less inclined to be prescriptive about the withering time: the trees, region, season, weather before & on the day, moisture content in the leaves, depth to which they are laid, are all going to affect the process.

Farmers in some areas do not wilt at all, others wilt in the spring but not the autumn. Sometimes wilting is done for 40 minutes, sometimes for a few hours. Hard to say.

A farmer is less looking at his watch than looking at the tea, feeling it, smelling it in order to decide when to start frying.

The other important factor, as puerhking noted well, is how long and where the maocha is stored before pressing. Many producers believe it is best left for a month, others store it much longer. Maocha picked in April, pressed two weeks later and then stored in a temperate climate is, six months down the line, going to produce a very different animal from maocha stored in Xishuangbanna for 6 months before pressing.

P.S. I have seen a couple of companies in Hekai using the 'Wulong style' ventilated drying platforms, but I think they are not common amongst small tea producers.

Also, The Guangdong company has 'bought up' some of the trees in the pictures in Teaurchins blog, but not all. Many more are picked by local Dai, Lahu and Aini people, and typically sold as fresh leaves. Since Zhen Wei Hao also buys other tea from local famers, I would be cautious about assuming that the tea tasted necessarily came from those trees and was poorly processed.
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Re: Young sheng - "green" vs. "non-green"

Postby nada » Nov 20th, '11, 16:10

Thanks Zhi Zheng for the post.

I agree with what you're saying, I didn't mean the time period as being something fixed, more of a general guide of what I've seen and been told to be common. I'm surprised that people sometimes do the shaqing as short as 40 minutes.

In preference, I tend towards less-oxidised young puerhs and consequently drink more of those that are. Being where you are, have you seen a trend in that direction in the last few years?
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Re: Young sheng - "green" vs. "non-green"

Postby zhi zheng » Nov 23rd, '11, 23:58

Hi Nada,

Certainly, 3-4 hours 'rule of thumb' is the often quoted wilting time, but I wouldn't say that that is on the short side, so I still struggle a bit with the idea that that length of wilting is going to produce something that's very 'green tea' like.

Perhaps it's as much to do with different perceptions/experiences/ expectations - Tea drinkers will naturally relate one tea drinking experience to a past experience and bring a number of expectations and judgements along with them; what one person thinks is 'green tea' like maybe another will not.

Autumn wilt times are typically rather shorter than spring because the constituents in the fresh leaf are fewer (polyphenols etc.) but also the moisture content is typically somewhat less.

Also, some areas, Youle comes to mind, it seems that some tea farmers wilt for rather shorter periods and sometimes not at all. The caveat being that 'not at all' still includes the time that the picked leaves were laid out while picking continued in the tea garden and the time taken to take the fresh leaves back to the house.

I haven't been aware of anything that I would identify as a trend. There are a range of views and preferences perhaps. And certainly there is a trend that more people are becoming aware of varying production methods, and how this affects the quality of tea. Which I imagine we all see as good.
Last edited by zhi zheng on Nov 27th, '11, 01:33, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Young sheng - "green" vs. "non-green"

Postby TIM » Nov 24th, '11, 00:14

Panda Pu :mrgreen:
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Re: Young sheng - "green" vs. "non-green"

Postby zhi zheng » Nov 24th, '11, 04:26

TIM wrote:Panda Pu :mrgreen:


Never tried it. What's it like? :D
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