Wesli wrote:Secondly, I think shu gets better the longer it ages, just in its own way.
I have to second that; shu really does age. There are some that don't age noticeably, but many do... just not like sheng.
The guy that runs my favorite local shop, Serenity Art, is from China and drinks mostly shu. I took one two him that was just 1-2 yrs old that I thought was perfect as-is, and his first comment after tasting it was "it's young," though he did like it. He likes to sell aged shu, and many of them really do change quite a bit. Some of them take as long as sheng to age, though they're perfectly drinkable in the meantime and I've only had a few that tasted anything like sheng, but it is worth having some that's aged.
It's true that airing it out for just up to a year is generally just to get any off-flavors out, but I'm actually getting to a point that anything less than a few years old is just too boring for me to enjoy - they mostly all taste the same at that age, with just a couple/few exceptions that I can think of. If it just tastes like "typical shu" (smooth, sweet, vaguely earthy without any obvious defining character), then I stick it away for aging. After about 5 years is when I've found that the better ones start developing some character, though some (like most of the Haiwan I've had) takes much longer. In fact I have some that's 16 yrs old and tastes like a lot of newer shu.
You might be surprised at what 10 or 20 years can do for some shu. Not all of them, obviously, but some.
The other thing to keep in mind is that while it can be easy to get a satisfactory brew out of just about any shu, and very hard to oversteep, some shu can really come out if brewed just right. What "just right" actually entails would depend on the individual tea, just like any other tea.
I also agree with Wesli that it's probably just not worth it. The time it takes for any of them to age noticeably is probably going to take longer than it will take you to drink it, if you like it enough to be drinking it now. Some of those may well get better with age, however.