Aging smoky puerh

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Aging smoky puerh

Postby Drax » Apr 12th, '09, 17:41

I've been drinking a 2007 Yun Zhi, which is pretty darn smoky. In fact, I'm having a hard time tasting anything but the smoke. It's like drinking hickory chips.

But as I'm pushing through infusions, hoping to get to some tea flavor, I wondered -- how does a really smoky tea do as it ages? Does anybody know?
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Postby hop_goblin » Apr 12th, '09, 18:12

Well, in theory it's supposed to dissapate. Unfortnately, I have some 2002's that are still really smoky. All in all, if stored, it should lessen some over time.
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Postby Drax » Apr 12th, '09, 20:26

Hop -- good to know. It was smoky through the 10th infusion, at which point I gave up. I think I'll let it sit for a year. Or more. :D

Of course, I suppose I could be mistaking some other, um, distinct flavor for "smoke."

Tom -- that's technically not the one I have. Mine's a bing, and I got it from Dragon Tea House right here.

I said "technically" because DTH also (apparently) sells that brick. It calls the brick and the bing by the same name, and yet it rates the brick 3/5 and the bing 5/5 and seems to suggest they are different.

Of course, further, they call both "zhai zi po," which Babelcarp seems to suggest is a term used for small-cakes from Nan Jian...

So... ... yeah. I was confused on that part. If anybody knows what's going on there, too, I'd be curious.

Or if anybody else has had this particular bing and can confirm smokiness (or if that's just maybe Wuliang Shan style?) -- I'd be curious there, too.
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Postby edkrueger » Apr 12th, '09, 21:03

hop_goblin wrote:Well, in theory it's supposed to dissapate.

I've never kept a cake long enough to tell, but I have my doubts about this theory. With all of the good old blends, that I have had the new version of, the new version was not smokey. The new versions were often weak and disappointing, but never smokey.
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Postby MarshalN » Apr 12th, '09, 21:05

Smoke does go away, but only with enough age (10+ years in some cases) and in the right climate. If you're in a place where the tea probably won't change much, good luck, it might not ever go away.

Bricks are almost always inferior to the same tea in cake form -- always has been, always will be. Which is why I almost never buy bricks...
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Postby Drax » Apr 12th, '09, 21:30

TomVerlain wrote:I just looked at my brick, it has aged, the bright green is gone. I wil have to try some next weekend .....

I'm glad you said that... I noticed the pictures from DTH were obscenely bright green, but my bing is definitely dark green -- the brightness gone, as you say.

I do appreciate the info, everybody. I'm guessing I should just put this one on the back shelf and check it in 5 years! :D
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Postby sp1key » Apr 12th, '09, 22:45

sometimes the overwhelming smokiness could be due to the master's stir-frying skills...
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Postby teaskeptic » Apr 12th, '09, 23:43

TomVerlain wrote:is this the tea you have? (image stolen from holy mountain website)


I have this brick, and it is not very smokey to me. Not sure what year mine is, but has same box.

I tasted that brick recently as well. There was definitely no smokiness.

The brick is from 2006, and it sounds like it has very little in common with your 2007 Yun Zhi.
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Postby entropyembrace » Apr 13th, '09, 01:11

I haven't drank nearly enough pu-erhs to get an idea of how they age but the smokiest of teas, Lapsang Souchong does change over time becoming something rather different and not nearly so smoky in only a few years...
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Postby tony shlongini » Apr 13th, '09, 10:30

sp1key wrote:sometimes the overwhelming smokiness could be due to the master's stir-frying skills...

Or lack thereof?

This is a great thread- thanks for all of the input.

I hope that excessive smokiness does dissapate with time, as it would offer hope for otherwise unenjoyable cakes. A good example would be Changtai's '06 339, an aggressively smoky sheng. Whether time will tame its other brutal (but intruiging) elements is another story.
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Postby Proinsias » Apr 13th, '09, 17:10

I've not got a lot of experience but if it's just one brick and it's a little over powering in the smoke department I'd be inclined to break it up and stick it in a jar, pot or drawer for a while. From what I gather this is a bit of a fast forward cheat. It has certainly helped with a load of cheap pu my friend gifted me that came as a kilo of tea in a bamboo log from Scott, the stuff I've broken up and chucked in a clay pot seems to be far more palatable than the stuff he is still chipping out the log.
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Postby puerhking » Apr 14th, '09, 17:38

Ive said this a few times about a couple of bings I have - they seem to have some leaves that were more deeply oxidized or pan fried and distributed throughout the cake. When I compare them to other leaves they are dark, tough, leathery and have a deep smokey smell. Even the other leaves in the bing smell differently. These are so smokey I had to separate them from the rest of my stash.
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