How long to Age before you first try a new Sheng?


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

Postby hop_goblin » Jan 15th, '09, 12:37

No rules. Drink it when you like it. Although it has been said that every five years pu goes through some transition. You decide.
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Postby Goose » Jan 15th, '09, 15:01

The Sheng is ready when you say it is-

The chat can be great fun but the board overall suffers because of it.
Many topics are discussed and some great info ends up being lost.

If the same topic were posted it could possibly generate unlimited posts, with much participation.
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Postby JP » Jan 15th, '09, 15:30

I would try a new sheng, if for no other reason than to have a base to compare it too later on. But I'm not yet into collect puerh for aging. I buy it to drink.
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Postby tony shlongini » Jan 15th, '09, 15:38

Here in America, there's a saying that we age our wine in the back seat of our car on the way home from the shop.

Each tea is unique and possesses its own window of opportunity in terms of drinkability.
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Postby chrl42 » Jan 15th, '09, 15:51

There are two types of seller in China. Former is 'drink new Sheng it's ok', latter is 'Sheng at least need 10 yrs of storage before trying it'.

I think the reason of latter might apply to specific tea tree called 大葉種 - Da Ye Zhong, Big Leaf Variety. Which not only turns out bitter/astringent at first, but also could lead to stomach cramp if drinking too much of it (I've noticed ppl in West might have a slight different organ system receiving)

There are hundreds of wild varieties in Yunnan, and most of em actually come hazardous to body before thinking about trying. Leaves used for Puerh are actually selected ones out of them, which is smoothest and tasty that might have been good for a beverage.

Here's a quote written by Jiang Yu Fa

"The term 'Heicha' was first used in 15th century script Ming Shi 明史, from Cha Fa 茶法. "Xiangcha (湘茶, 湘 was another name for Hunan) was low-quality so it was made black and became Heicha". That is, Hunan, Yunnan or Sichuan-grown wild trees were so bitter that it required natural-fermentation for a long time to be drunk. After these leaves natural-oxidized and turned black, so 'inner' people called it Heicha. Based on this fact, today's China's all post-fermented teas are called Heicha"

15th century, so the romour hasn't been roaming around just recently.
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Postby shogun89 » Jan 15th, '09, 16:47

As the others said its all about preference. I personally can highly enjoy a 2008 as I can enjoy something 30+ years. Different profiles for different times. Sometimes I really love the strength and boldness of a young sheng.
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Postby tony shlongini » Jan 15th, '09, 18:09

I think a more important question is whether shengs go through a "dumb period", where they don't reveal their charms. In the world of wine, it's considered axiomatic that a great Bordeaux needs a good ten years or so to show its best. However, even the biggest tannic monsters will often be very enjoyable when quite young, exhibiting the so called "fruit of youth". It's the in between period when the wine is pretty useless until it (hopefully) emerges from its slumber.

I don't know enough about the aging process of sheng to comment on it, but I plan to find out in the next twenty years.
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Postby Sydney » Jan 15th, '09, 20:31

Disclaimer: The following is pretty subjective.

I have found that I personally like a lot of sheng at least 3 years old. That seems to mark a balance between price and "tea goodness" for me.

In the first few years, sheng tends to have more of a bite than I personally care for. After those first few years, stored well, it's mellowed a little so I can taste more of the qualities that aren't as easy to notice at first.

If the tea is stored under less than ideal conditions for several years, that "less than ideal" builds up in the tea, detracting from the over-all experience. But if it's stored well and was a good tea to begin with, 8- or 10-year-old sheng starts to show more of its real potential.

Every several years to a decade added on after this point adds more depth and complexity as a general rule.
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Postby Geospearit » Jan 16th, '09, 22:58

Do not drink younger than 10 years so says teamaster. Not great for health when younger. I drink younger but not daily.
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Postby JAS-eTea Guy » Jan 17th, '09, 14:40

As others have said, I don't think there is a good answer. I am a relative novice but I have had 2007 and 2008 teas that have great character. Sometimes my 1997/1998 teas do not seem to compare to the younger teas.
I would love to have access to some 15-20 year old teas... maybe someday.
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Postby expatCanuck » Jan 18th, '09, 22:26

I've minimal experience with sheng (one to two dozen), and an admittedly heathen North American palate. But, on balance, I've most enjoyed cakes that are 3-5 years old. The few 'older' ones within my (limited) budget weren't all that interesting or enjoyable.

I enjoy pu-erh, some a whole lot, but I'd give them up before I'd give up my Bai-Hao oolong, a modest Chinese Green or a good Darjeeling.
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