Shu and young sheng


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

Re: Shu and young sheng

Postby tenuki » Apr 1st, '12, 02:15

Who really cares what people used to do? Are they drinking your tea for you?

Pour the water in, sip. Decide for yourself. Peace.
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Re: Shu and young sheng

Postby yanom » Apr 1st, '12, 11:38

Who really cares what people used to do?

I do, else I wouldn't have asked the question! :D
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Re: Shu and young sheng

Postby G-off-re » Apr 2nd, '12, 21:54

tenuki wrote:Who really cares what people used to do? Are they drinking your tea for you?

Yes, they took one sip and rolled over in his grave and began mocking me for drinking low grade tea. I was so embarrassed that i quickly tossed out my whole stash and decided if the old guy wasn't happy drinking my tea than i'm not either. It was then that i heard him say "just wait 30 years" but by then it was too late the garbage man had already picked up my trash. :(
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Re: Shu and young sheng

Postby kasey » Apr 19th, '12, 14:34

I'm a bit late to this post and something of a maverick as I'm not a fan of gongfu style, but let me get my 2 cents in.
I got lucky and stumbled onto puerhshop while they had a Menghai 2011 raw 250 gram brick on sale for $8. I broke this up and brew it at 180 degrees for 3 minutes and it is absolutely luscious! Grab some of this while you can.
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Re: Shu and young sheng

Postby Wan Ling » Jul 6th, '12, 02:56

James @ Wan Ling Tea House here. This is a personal statement and not company one. At the end of the day, tea is such a personal choice.

In my view, fresh sheng puerh is one of my favourites, in fact better than old 60-70-80's in many cases. As we all know, there is a time, a place and a mood for many different teas.

A good quality sheng puerh, has more in common with a light oolong (though I guess technically you could say a white tea? - sun wilted/dried processing). Like both these teas, they need to settle and stabilise after harvest.

An important point to remember is that the quality of Sheng Puerh has shot up since the 00's, if you look at the availability of artisan, single source cakes. The cakes that are so eulogised and sort after for their age (50's-90's), were made from average raw materials, from a mix of plants and sources, with limited QC then produced in mass volume by a factory (no comment on work conditions...). Pre-revolution teas from the private companies that ruled market post-Qing Dynasty are another story and I envy those who have had the chance to try these - these are true master pieces.

If you want to think about what people used to do, then think about the people that used to drink these raw teas. Except for tribute teas that were sent to the government officials around the country, most Puerh tea was sent to places like QingHai, Tibet, Sichuan and the surrounding areas of Yunnan. People drank for necessity i.e. health, heat and nutrients. There was no fancy tea ceremony. People certainly didn't think oh I will keep this tea for 10 years because it will taste better. They were very poor and society was primarily agrarian.

The 'puerh tea aurora' has grown since China's opening up. The growth of Chinese wealth and the HK/Taiwanese influence. At the end of the day, we each as tea lovers have to set our cost/value budgets. Bear in mind the volume of consumption verses availability too. If you look at the factory output of 60s to 90s you have to wonder where all this old tea is still coming from.

Returning to the drinking of the tea. In my view drinking young puerh comes down to selecting teas that suit. Some young cakes make a superb cup of tea, complex range of flavours/tastes that layer upon each other in a balanced way, with enchanting aromas, beautiful liquors and strong cha qi. Some are from the first sip more suited to storing and enjoying after 5/10/15+ years. For some reason I find too, that I prefer new young teas only, when they are neither new nor aged, they loose something. Some of that youthful vigour and freshness is gone and they haven't had time to mature, deepen and the flavours to fully meld together. Anyone else find this out of us 'freak' young puerh drinkers?

On the angle of personal choice. We have some friends, that make some very traditional 'medicine' style puerh which is absolutely stunning, but my word is it bitter (until about 10th+ infusion), however this style they enjoy and all of the batch is pre-sold (at around 250USD per cake). Are they wrong?

On a final note, Shu Puerh. It has it's place. Again in my view and we drink a reasonable amount between all the team, it is one of the nicest teas in the winter and can be very satisfying. It soothes sore stomachs, clears 'foggy' heads. It is not a connoisseur class of teas, but if you find a good one, it makes a very enjoyable tea usually for an acceptable price. Remember most (all) of the raw material for Shu Puerh is not of the single source sheng puerh grade. In many ways it is unfair to compare Shu and Sheng. They are different beasts.

Enjoy your tea. Enjoy your tea journey.
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Re: Shu and young sheng

Postby yanom » Jul 6th, '12, 06:51

I take your point about sheng being very different to shu, and about earlier factory teas being very different to lots of single-source small-scale teas available in the last 10 years. I guess we can say on the one hand it's all tea. On the other, it's very different tea.

So, to emphasise another difference: young sheng and old sheng. Both tea. But very different. So it makes sense that some people will like both but others will only like one or the other, or at least have a preference.

I'd love to like young sheng but it just isn't happening (I do keep trying!), although I do like lots of non-pu'er green tea a lot. For me, it just doesn't come close to the older stuff. Although I will say that one or two year old pu'er tends to be nicer than anything I've drunk that is between two and eight year or so.

Also, there are uncanny similarities with wine from Bordeaux. The locals think their older market (the British) drink it too aged, and their newer market (the Americans) drink it too young. The risk there is that by catering to their new market they produce aggressive flavour-first wines which taste good young, but upset the more traditional drinkers. I hope in 20 years there'll still be old, non-dry stored pu'er for me to drink!
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Re: Shu and young sheng

Postby bagua7 » Jul 6th, '12, 07:01

wanlingteahouse wrote:We have some friends, that make some very traditional 'medicine' style puerh which is absolutely stunning, but my word is it bitter (until about 10th+ infusion), however this style they enjoy and all of the batch is pre-sold (at around 250USD per cake). Are they wrong?


What do you mean by that? Mixing the tea leaves with other Chinese herbs perhaps?

Cheers.
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Re: Shu and young sheng

Postby Wan Ling » Jul 8th, '12, 21:36

bagua7 wrote:
wanlingteahouse wrote:We have some friends, that make some very traditional 'medicine' style puerh which is absolutely stunning, but my word is it bitter (until about 10th+ infusion), however this style they enjoy and all of the batch is pre-sold (at around 250USD per cake). Are they wrong?


What do you mean by that? Mixing the tea leaves with other Chinese herbs perhaps?

Cheers.



It is a pure Puerh but using wild/untended trees that produce very large leaves but extreme bitter teas. From what I have been told this style is one that has been used in Yunnan and surrounding areas for a long time more for medicinal purposes than day to day hydration/drinking.
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Re: Shu and young sheng

Postby TIM » Jul 8th, '12, 22:04

wanlingteahouse wrote:
bagua7 wrote:
wanlingteahouse wrote:We have some friends, that make some very traditional 'medicine' style puerh which is absolutely stunning, but my word is it bitter (until about 10th+ infusion), however this style they enjoy and all of the batch is pre-sold (at around 250USD per cake). Are they wrong?


What do you mean by that? Mixing the tea leaves with other Chinese herbs perhaps?

Cheers.



It is a pure Puerh but using wild/untended trees that produce very large leaves but extreme bitter teas. From what I have been told this style is one that has been used in Yunnan and surrounding areas for a long time more for medicinal purposes than day to day hydration/drinking.


Which area(s) are you referring to?
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Re: Shu and young sheng

Postby bagua7 » Jul 9th, '12, 21:23

wanlingteahouse wrote:It is a pure Puerh but using wild/untended trees that produce very large leaves but extreme bitter teas.


Basically the real "wild arbour" puerh, not the one that is marketed as such, which is probably just a blend say 1:4.

Thanks!
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Re: Shu and young sheng

Postby needaTEAcher » Jul 10th, '12, 11:14

As I have learned from my teachers in Seoul, and like Wyardly posted, shou production style is older than the 70s, but not anywhere near as common before. The "wet-pile" method used to speed up fermentation is very similar to how Liu Bao is fermented for nearby Guanxi, and was developed off of the Liu Bao method. This production style become more developed and mainstreamed in the 70s. My teacher once had a shou from the 40s. It was taught to me that there were blends as well as pure shou, but the latter was rare. I also heard an independent teashop owner in Malaysia mention that older puerhs are often shou method, borrowed from Liu Bao.

Shou does sometimes have a bad repuation, but it shouldn't. It is not worse than sheng, just different. The flavor is deeper and smoother, and is drinkable immediately, not after many years, but shou is nowhere near as complex as sheng (both in terms of the range of flavor in the cup, as well as in terms of the range of flavors you can find in different teas). But they both are important and are great. I drink more shou than sheng. That said, I agree with Wyardly that there is a limit to how good shou can be, and that sheng can push beyond that, but only older sheng.

As per young sheng, I have actually come to enjoy it now, when I brew it a bit weaker (especially in Yixing clay), and when I think of it as a type of strong green tea, rather than a black tea, as mentioned above, though I prefer boiling water. I feel like you can get the most out of it with boiling water, less leaves, and a flash steep.

As per your options, the sky is the limit! You can find affordable older sheng that isn't so great, but is good enough, as well as learn to drink young sheng, as well as enjoy the whole range of shou. I vote you buy some young sheng, young shou, and then a small amount of old sheng (even just a few samples!) for special occasions.

Side note:I have been asking SOOOO many people their takes on the age at which shou hits its ceiling. I have heard strong assertions not to drink older than 5-year-old shou, and I have heard that it levels out at 30 years, and I have heard that it continues to get better, even after 50!

Finally, I'd say that the idea of high-quality sheng being drunk young and saving low-quality for aging is not as I have learned it. Rather, both are drunk both young and aged, as it is different aspects of different teas that taste good young or that will age well. So, I guess, "good" young tea may or may not age well, and "bad" young tea might even age to be great. Of course very old, wild trees tend to produce better flavors young or old, etc. etc. Storage makes a huge difference too. It is so complex!

Sorry for the marathon post, and good luck!
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Re: Shu and young sheng

Postby needaTEAcher » Jul 10th, '12, 11:16

Oh, and as per something being right or wrong, I believe the only rule is that tea should make you feel good. If you prefer your 50s Red Label with milk and sugur, then rock on! If you like super strong young sheng, then go to! It is only wrong for you if you don't like it, but every path is a "right" path if the people on them have a good time.

:lol:

I am tired of people saying one way or the other is better or right. These are such personal choices and tastes, so who can say?!?!?!

:D
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Re: Shu and young sheng

Postby teaisme » Jul 10th, '12, 13:39

needaTEAcher wrote:I am tired of people saying one way or the other is better or right. These are such personal choices and tastes, so who can say?!?!?!


needaTEAcher wrote:there is a limit to how good shou can be, and that sheng can push beyond that, but only older sheng.


hehe buddy you are a starburst :mrgreen:
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Re: Shu and young sheng

Postby needaTEAcher » Jul 10th, '12, 18:08

Aaahhhh, but here's the rub!

needaTEAcher wrote:That said, I agree with Wyardly that there is a limit to how good shou can be, and that sheng can push beyond that, but only older sheng.


"I agree with Wyardly that..." Just my opinion, not solid fact, nor is it anyone's reality except my own (and apparently Wyardly!), though I bet there are more than a few people out there with a similar view!
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Re: Shu and young sheng

Postby wyardley » Jul 10th, '12, 19:03

needaTEAcher wrote:"I agree with Wyardly that..." Just my opinion, not solid fact, nor is it anyone's reality except my own (and apparently Wyardly!), though I bet there are more than a few people out there with a similar view!

Well, I do actually have a book which says this explicitly. It's in Chinese only, but the marking of the percentage sheng / shu material in various teas (dating back to the 40s or so), is pretty clear.

So, I'm not saying that I think it's for sure so, but it's not a random opinion either. It's based on one author's opinion, which seems to jibe with things I've heard from folks who have read other books about old pu'er.
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