Should puerh be aged?

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

Should puerh be aged?

Postby kasey » Aug 1st, '12, 06:33

I'm probably opening up a can of worms here, but I'd like to bring this up.
Exposing a plant (after it's picked) to oxygen harms the plant's medicinal properties. Any herbalist will confirm this. But apparently, something about the way puerh is produced arrests the aging process. However, as an herbalist, I simply cannot believe that puerh totally resists the deterioration of polyphenols with age. What I am implying is that fresh young pu is most likely much higher in polyphenols than naturally aged pu.
Ripened pu may be a different story. The way it is piled and stored in a humid environment affects its entire biochemistry, since it excites the growth of bacteria which may (or may not) be beneficial to us. Who knows? This is a new technology, if you can call it that. There's not a man alive who can confirm that ripe puerh is a healthy drink.
So how will we ever know whether raw or ripe puerh is better for us?
We won't.
But I must conclude that naturally aged pu is probably not much good and we're better off drinking green tea or oolong if we want flavor.

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Re: Should puerh be aged?

Postby yanom » Aug 1st, '12, 07:43

I don't understand. How are tea's medicinal qualities related to its taste?

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Re: Should puerh be aged?

Postby SilentChaos » Aug 1st, '12, 09:06

kasey wrote: What I am implying is that fresh young pu is most likely much higher in polyphenols than naturally aged pu. ... But I must conclude that naturally aged pu is probably not much good and we're better off drinking green tea or oolong if we want flavor.


I assume you forgot to include fresh young pu along with green tea and oolong? Also, taking Yanom's point above, SUPPOSE you concluded that drinking green tea or oolong (or fresh young pu) is medicinally better than aged pu, I don't see how you could get from 'fresh young pu is medicinally better than aged pu' to 'green tea or oolong is medicinally better than aged pu'.

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Re: Should puerh be aged?

Postby iovetea » Aug 1st, '12, 09:51

kasey wrote:I'm probably opening up a can of worms here, but I'd like to bring this up.
Exposing a plant (after it's picked) to oxygen harms the plant's medicinal properties. Any herbalist will confirm this. But apparently, something about the way puerh is produced arrests the aging process. However, as an herbalist, I simply cannot believe that puerh totally resists the deterioration of polyphenols with age. What I am implying is that fresh young pu is most likely much higher in polyphenols than naturally aged pu.
Ripened pu may be a different story. The way it is piled and stored in a humid environment affects its entire biochemistry, since it excites the growth of bacteria which may (or may not) be beneficial to us. Who knows? This is a new technology, if you can call it that. There's not a man alive who can confirm that ripe puerh is a healthy drink.
So how will we ever know whether raw or ripe puerh is better for us?
We won't.
But I must conclude that naturally aged pu is probably not much good and we're better off drinking green tea or oolong if we want flavor.


As far as i know green tea has the most polyphenols and i think (this is just a guess) that japanese green has the most because its steamed and not roasted.

Ps according to a tea master if you drink it for the flavor you should drink oolong and not pu erh, but then again someone said that at some stage pu erh is from fermentation just like oolong.

Anyway i have to taste some Pu erh myself, from different vendors to get a picture. I also haven't drunken enough Oolongs to know enough. Well time will tell but I'm still eagerly awaiting my Pu and see for myself the truth how they stack up to the other Pus.

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Re: Should puerh be aged?

Postby jaderabbit » Aug 1st, '12, 15:22

Everybody's taste buds are different. Some people appreciate the different flavor profiles of variously stored pu'er and others can't.
As far as medicinal properties go, the effects also depend on your own physical condition. Green tea while it may have a lot of antioxidants, it tends to make me personally feel really cold. Sometimes if I brew it too strong I get a head ache similar to a brain freeze from eating too much ice cream.
I also tend to get a negative reaction from drinking pu'er. But oolong and hongcha work well for me by improving my circulation and metabolism.
The wide variety of teas and humans make generalizations about tea kind of futile imho.

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Re: Should puerh be aged?

Postby teaisme » Aug 1st, '12, 15:29

kasey wrote:But I must conclude that naturally aged pu is probably not much good and we're better off drinking green tea or oolong if we want flavor.


:shock: :shock: :shock: :mrgreen:

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Re: Should puerh be aged?

Postby TwoDog2 » Aug 1st, '12, 23:09

teaisme wrote:
kasey wrote:But I must conclude that naturally aged pu is probably not much good and we're better off drinking green tea or oolong if we want flavor.


:shock: :shock: :shock: :mrgreen:


*DING* ... my popcorn is ready

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Re: Should puerh be aged?

Postby JakubT » Aug 2nd, '12, 01:29

kasey: That's nice what you conclude, however, if I remember correctly, just a few weeks ago, you said you started with different maochas (and not from that a reputable vendor I think). Are you quite sure you should start drawing such a definite conlusion yet?

Aged tea not much good because of polyphenols? So just buy some pills in pharmacy and throw them to your teapot to dissolve, it will be a most mind stimulating tea session 8)

Actually, why to have good tea at all? You may buy vietnamese green tea (high on polyphenols by default) for a dollar per kilo, break down the antioxidant pills in it and have an awesome tea session for a very little money. Oh wait... maybe there just is something besides polyphenols in tea.

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Re: Should puerh be aged?

Postby theredbaron » Aug 2nd, '12, 01:35

kasey wrote:I'm probably opening up a can of worms here, but I'd like to bring this up.

...

But I must conclude that naturally aged pu is probably not much good and we're better off drinking green tea or oolong if we want flavor.



I don't drink aged sheng Pu Erh for its polyphenols, i drink it because it tastes awesome and puts my mind at rest. Therefore i must conclude that it is good for me indeed.
And by the way, many semi fermented teas, such as Wu Yi rock teas, do enormously benefit from aging as well.

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Re: Should puerh be aged?

Postby debunix » Aug 2nd, '12, 02:00

kasey wrote:I'm probably opening up a can of worms here......
But I must conclude that naturally aged pu is probably not much good and we're better off drinking green tea or oolong if we want flavor.


Yes, can o' worms.

But please, skip the aged pu, and convince as many others as you can to not buy it. This will drop the price for those of us who enjoy it, polyphenols or no.

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Re: Should puerh be aged?

Postby solitude » Aug 2nd, '12, 03:14

I think that the health benefits of aged shengpu dont come directelly form the antioxidants, but rather form the chemicals which are produced by the bacteria during the natural fermentation. So the health benefits of fresh green tea and puerh have different origin.

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Re: Should puerh be aged?

Postby Proinsias » Aug 2nd, '12, 09:12

From the herbalist point of view surely there is more to the tea plant than polyphenols?

The experiment I tried was drinking lots of different teas over a period of years and seeing how I felt & how they tasted. It's ongoing and a fun experiment to try.

Shu can be a bit of gamble but my rule of thumb is that I don't drink it if it's still smelling suspicious after 4 or 5 rinses.

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Re: Should puerh be aged?

Postby teaisme » Aug 2nd, '12, 10:25

TwoDog2 wrote:*DING* ... my popcorn is ready
:lol: so true

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Re: Should puerh be aged?

Postby tenuki » Aug 2nd, '12, 12:04

There are ample examples of aged agricultural products being viewed as 'better'. Wine and cigars come to mind.

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Re: Should puerh be aged?

Postby TomVerlain » Aug 2nd, '12, 20:42

Let's just hope no one mentions some folks like it with rancid yak butter. That will totally prove their argument.

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