Puerh Tea Regions and Aging Potential


One of the intentionally aged teas, Pu-Erh has a loyal following.

Puerh Tea Regions and Aging Potential

Postby AllanK » May 19th, '14, 23:23

I have a question about the various Puerh tea regions. While I have learned a little about tea mountains and regions I still cannot tell the difference between a Yiwu and Bulang by taste and you never know if a tea you buy is actually from where they say it is. I have heard Banzhang is the best but it is too expensive for me at this point although I plan to get some samples eventually.Are there any regions within Yunnan that produce superior tea for aging? Better than the rest that is?
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Postby bonescwa » May 19th, '14, 23:33

You're a beginner, and that's great, but you do seem to be asking about things that have tons of information available on this forum and other places online that you can find using google. I would start there and then maybe specify your questions more.
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Re: Puerh Tea Regions and Aging Potential

Postby shah82 » May 19th, '14, 23:50

Not sure that will do any good.

In practice, it's relatively difficult to get a good example from places that age well. In some cases, the area has tea that can age well, but also tea that won't, like Jingmai.

In any event, for truly good teas genuinely worth aging, single area tea generally will cost at least $150 per 357g cake and probably more this year.
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Postby bonescwa » May 20th, '14, 06:58

Well do you think it's hard to say which unblended gushu tea is going to age well, since gushu is a recent trend and there aren't many examples of it aged? (These single - area teas are a 2000s development, right?]
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Re:

Postby Tead Off » May 20th, '14, 07:18

bonescwa wrote:Well do you think it's hard to say which unblended gushu tea is going to age well, since gushu is a recent trend and there aren't many examples of it aged? (These single - area teas are a 2000s development, right?]

I think this is a question that has no simple answer, or at least an answer that you could rely on. Because a tea is gushu, it doesn't guarantee high quality, good taste, and perfect aging. There are so many variables involved. The processing is so important. Tastes are so important. Aren't there many more bad teas than good? You should be questioning drinkers who have 30 plus years of experience with Puerh, who have studied the subject extensively, invested their own money in it, and have no business agenda to forward. Just tea lovers who have paid attention and their dues in a subject that most know very little about. How many here fit that description?
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Re: Puerh Tea Regions and Aging Potential

Postby shah82 » May 20th, '14, 11:34

Unblended gushu tea will age in a specific fashion, as opposed to blended plantation. Part of that means that it will go flat, sooner or later, compared to more zesty and narrow flavored plantation blends. That's why it's not really a great idea to get any "gushu". You have to have tea with very strong character that will give a satisfying session even when flat.
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Re: Puerh Tea Regions and Aging Potential

Postby kyarazen » May 20th, '14, 12:08

shah82 wrote:Unblended gushu tea will age in a specific fashion, as opposed to blended plantation. Part of that means that it will go flat, sooner or later, compared to more zesty and narrow flavored plantation blends. That's why it's not really a great idea to get any "gushu". You have to have tea with very strong character that will give a satisfying session even when flat.



thats interesting to hear. do you know where to get samples of old gushu that you had mentioned about? and why does gushu age that way since its the same specie (many plantation are clonal grafts)
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Re: Puerh Tea Regions and Aging Potential

Postby William » May 20th, '14, 12:23

shah82 wrote:Unblended gushu tea will age in a specific fashion, as opposed to blended plantation. Part of that means that it will go flat, sooner or later, compared to more zesty and narrow flavored plantation blends. That's why it's not really a great idea to get any "gushu". You have to have tea with very strong character that will give a satisfying session even when flat.


Nothing is created, nothing is destroyed, everything transforms.

We should stop believing in the fact that only strong tea and powerful will resist to the erosive action of the time.

Ding Xing Hao from the 40s was extremely strong, bitter and powerful, but not enjoyable, when young; after 80+ years, it remained not pleasant.
DXS usually, is not something extremely powerfull or strong when young, but many examples from the early 2000s are showing that these characteristics are not making it weak or flat after 10+ years, but as opposed, is strengthened with each passing year.

IMO, only the quality should be the correct benchmark to assess whether a tea will age well, or not well. Relying only on teas that are powerful, bitter and/or sour for 30+ brews, can lead to disappointment, if the quality is not taken into considerations. The same as well with pleasant and flowery/sugary teas without bitterness and/or sour notes, does not guarantee that the aging process, will make these teas more enjoyable, if the quality is not taken into considerations.
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Re: Puerh Tea Regions and Aging Potential

Postby Tead Off » May 20th, '14, 13:43

When does a tea qualify as 'gushu'? If we call 100 years tea trees 'gushu', will the qualities be similar to 300 year or 500 year old gushu? Personally, I think not. But I would like to know what a benchmark definition of gushu is.
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Re: Puerh Tea Regions and Aging Potential

Postby shah82 » May 20th, '14, 13:54

kyarazen, old plantation or wild tree groves are not clonals. All are seed grown, as far as I know. While many plantations around the gushu areas are indeed clonals of the ancient trees (some aren't, like the varietal planted in JingGu and sold as C. taliensis buds and leaves), the stuff that goes into the better standard or more boutique Dayi blends are modern varietals.

All tea ages this way. The benefits of blending is that different leaves have different character, and age slightly differently. Where, by themselves, each erode to the nature they find most expressed, like one isolated hill, but with other leaves and other leaf grades, you'll find rolling hill landscapes. They are both nice in their own ways, but you enjoy them a bit differently.

As for what is gushu, that is very tricky. Broadly, the best tea comes from successful, large, trees, on good minerally soils and high elevations. Age doesn't really have *that* much to do with it. Most tea with some quantity of good gushu leaves only has fairly subtle differences from well cared for shengtai plantation tea. That's why it's so easy to fake gushu tea. However, especially after some time, the differences can be pretty stark, and that's why people pay so much for gushu tea.

Now, I said *strong character* not strong bitterness or strong flavors. Strong character. A tea can be bitter and not have strong character, but strong character often means strong flavors, and thus, strong bitterness in teas prone to it. Flip side, there are many teas with weak flavors but strong aftertaste or strong qi, and so just as much worth buying.

Many people often buy young tea with strong aromas or strong bitterness, or some other feature like a distinct taste, and wind up buying tea with ultimately weak character. It takes a lot of drinking to learn what should do well, and what faults one is prepared to tolerate.
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Re: Puerh Tea Regions and Aging Potential

Postby kyarazen » May 20th, '14, 22:15

forgive my incoherence for a while, i meant to say that plantation tea was many times the same "specie" as they were clonal grafts from ancient trees. the trees both ancient and clonal co-exist within the same area, although definitely spaced out by many kilometres at least, but still in the village territory.

maybe the interpretation or definition of "qi" in your case is different from our definitions. 野生古树吸取大自然精华,元气十足,茶存放环境适当之正元气久而不散,陈而不浅。入仓久之仓气侵入而茶气失正,湿仓处理不异而生于湿邪,腐败之气茶味失真。古树普洱自古土族采集早春嫩芽,夏秋不取, 人与茶树与环境和谐百年,茶气温和,生命力强。近年来各季狂采,树伤茶殃,气之衰弱不足,制法不佳不适于陈化。台地茶施肥过多气之尖锐,还是觉得逊色于正古树。

shah82 wrote:kyarazen, old plantation or wild tree groves are not clonals. All are seed grown, as far as I know. While many plantations around the gushu areas are indeed clonals of the ancient trees (some aren't, like the varietal planted in JingGu and sold as C. taliensis buds and leaves), the stuff that goes into the better standard or more boutique Dayi blends are modern varietals.

All tea ages this way. The benefits of blending is that different leaves have different character, and age slightly differently. Where, by themselves, each erode to the nature they find most expressed, like one isolated hill, but with other leaves and other leaf grades, you'll find rolling hill landscapes. They are both nice in their own ways, but you enjoy them a bit differently.

As for what is gushu, that is very tricky. Broadly, the best tea comes from successful, large, trees, on good minerally soils and high elevations. Age doesn't really have *that* much to do with it. Most tea with some quantity of good gushu leaves only has fairly subtle differences from well cared for shengtai plantation tea. That's why it's so easy to fake gushu tea. However, especially after some time, the differences can be pretty stark, and that's why people pay so much for gushu tea.

Now, I said *strong character* not strong bitterness or strong flavors. Strong character. A tea can be bitter and not have strong character, but strong character often means strong flavors, and thus, strong bitterness in teas prone to it. Flip side, there are many teas with weak flavors but strong aftertaste or strong qi, and so just as much worth buying.

Many people often buy young tea with strong aromas or strong bitterness, or some other feature like a distinct taste, and wind up buying tea with ultimately weak character. It takes a lot of drinking to learn what should do well, and what faults one is prepared to tolerate.
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Re: Puerh Tea Regions and Aging Potential

Postby Tead Off » May 22nd, '14, 02:26

shah82 wrote: Now, I said *strong character* not strong bitterness or strong flavors. Strong character. A tea can be bitter and not have strong character, but strong character often means strong flavors, and thus, strong bitterness in teas prone to it. Flip side, there are many teas with weak flavors but strong aftertaste or strong qi, and so just as much worth buying.

Many people often buy young tea with strong aromas or strong bitterness, or some other feature like a distinct taste, and wind up buying tea with ultimately weak character. It takes a lot of drinking to learn what should do well, and what faults one is prepared to tolerate.


Not to put you on the spot, however, I'm having difficulty understanding what you really mean. 'Strong character' means 'what', really? It's not strong flavor, not bitterness, what's left? How do you separate character from the other qualities of a tea? You make sound like a mystery why we like a tea.

How can a tea be weak in flavor, yet have a strong aftertaste? Aftertaste is part of the overall flavor. Maybe you are talking about a feeling of the huigan, the aftertaste.

This ultimately leads to my question which every puerh drinker asks themselves. Will this tea age well? If a drinker is not drawn to the taste of a tea from the outset, why would one buy it with the hope of one day turning into something good? And, does the tea that tastes good when it is young, have less of a chance to age well? It doesn't make sense to me. The elusive qi sounds like a search for an alchemical high that somehow is supposed to benefit that lucky drinker. In fact, that qi is in everything, everywhere, already. But I'd prefer to stick with simple things like taste, feeling, and the simple pleasure of drinking a tea I like without all the complications of interpretive analysis and the search for a high.
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Re: Puerh Tea Regions and Aging Potential

Postby shah82 » May 22nd, '14, 02:32

Well, think for yourself this:

How can a tea be weak in flavor, yet have a strong aftertaste? Aftertaste is part of the overall flavor. Maybe you are talking about a feeling of the huigan, the aftertaste.

Don't you like Bingdao?
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Re: Puerh Tea Regions and Aging Potential

Postby Tead Off » May 22nd, '14, 04:08

shah82 wrote:Well, think for yourself this:

How can a tea be weak in flavor, yet have a strong aftertaste? Aftertaste is part of the overall flavor. Maybe you are talking about a feeling of the huigan, the aftertaste.

Don't you like Bingdao?

I do like Bingdao, but this is not a weak tea with no flavor. It isn't as powerful as LBZ, but it's got all the elements working for it, IMO.

But, you don't answer any of my questions. :?
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Re: Puerh Tea Regions and Aging Potential

Postby William » May 22nd, '14, 05:34

Tead Off wrote:But I'd prefer to stick with simple things like taste, feeling, and the simple pleasure of drinking a tea I like without all the complications of interpretive analysis and the search for a high.


+1

An advice so elementary, but at the same time crucial.
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