'Oolong Puerh' processing


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'Oolong Puerh' processing

Postby nada » Feb 5th, '13, 05:16

This is a continuation of a discussion from the 'Official Pu of the Day' thread.
http://www.teachat.com/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=7045&start=1755

TIM wrote:...'Oolong Puerh' processing... Good material, not time proven process (modern). High aroma, flat in the body, and not aging well so far.


debunix wrote:"Oolong puerh" processing???


TIM wrote:Those high aromatic new style Puerh which goes stale in 8 plus years. They can't age and a total waste of time and money.


nada wrote:Tim, I'm curious to understand. What do you mean by Oolong Puerh processing? Is it simply a puerh tea that has been withered for longer, and hence oxidised more, or is there another process you're referring to?

You were very specific in stating that it goes stale after 8+ years. I don't doubt it, but do you mind sharing why you think this is the case?


TIM wrote:Perhaps should start a new topic Nada?


Sure...
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Re: 'Oolong Puerh' processing

Postby Teaism » Feb 5th, '13, 05:43

Sounds like a Beaujolais in a Petrus bottle. :lol:

They are both great by itself, but putting the two as one really baffled a lot of people.

So why bother with such Pu?

A wild guess is that it is likely to be a large batch of very high fired, quick factory process tea from either Guizhou, Schezuan or Hunan brought to Yunnan to be transformed into a tea with an "eye catching" name call Oolong Puer.

Anyway, it just a wild guess :)
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Re: 'Oolong Puerh' processing

Postby bannacha » Feb 5th, '13, 14:49

I think we should not classify tea too much. Tea leaves can be processed in many different ways, some give good results, other do not.

For me, the main characteristic of Pu-erh is that it is sun dried, even though other kinds of tea can also be sundried (eg. Yunnan black tea).

If you're refering to tea that got too much Sha Qing, they are quite easy to identify: the leaves are very green, they are astringent and they get bland very quickly, just like green tea.

By controlling the Sha Qing time and the wok temperature, you can make redder or greener tea, and, as long as it's not extreme, I think there's a large span of well processed tea. Then, it depends on your personal taste, what kind of aroma you prefer, and which mountain you're dealing with. I like a greener processing on Mengku tea, because it brings out the high pitched fragrance of this area. Redder tea might be good to emphasize on the body, the mouth feeling.
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Re: 'Oolong Puerh' processing

Postby TIM » Feb 5th, '13, 15:59

bannacha wrote:I think we should not classify tea too much. Tea leaves can be processed in many different ways, some give good results, other do not.

For me, the main characteristic of Pu-erh is that it is sun dried, even though other kinds of tea can also be sundried (eg. Yunnan black tea).

If you're refering to tea that got too much Sha Qing, they are quite easy to identify: the leaves are very green, they are astringent and they get bland very quickly, just like green tea.

By controlling the Sha Qing time and the wok temperature, you can make redder or greener tea, and, as long as it's not extreme, I think there's a large span of well processed tea. Then, it depends on your personal taste, what kind of aroma you prefer, and which mountain you're dealing with. I like a greener processing on Mengku tea, because it brings out the high pitched fragrance of this area. Redder tea might be good to emphasize on the body, the mouth feeling.



Thank you banna for starting this conversation. That's based off these "oolong Puerh". I labeled them "oolong puerh", because "oolong" in Cantonese can also mean "Careless" or "Silly".

Chinese tea to me is a crafted tea. The combined efforts of Nature and Craftsmanship: Nature is the base and Craftsmanship is the tradition of time proven methods. Methods which are not provide by time and generations of practice might not be labeled as such, especially in tea.

A good example is the neon green Tikwanyin that started in early 2000. These kind of newer, quicker process teas will only hurt people's stomach and leave them with a feeling of uneasiness if consumed daily. The silliness of "New Puerh" or "Greener Puerh" is in this category. It is a higher floral and green version of the old traditional processed puerh. You might get a good aromatic experience, but it will be more flat in the body and goes stale rather than aging in the traditional way.

Anxi is going thru a big change at the moment to move back to traditional processes, eg. roasting, more proper oxidation or sha qing, etc. But the Puerh market is at least 4 to 5 years behind the awareness of such a problem.

I do agreed with not classifying tea too much but if something is going backward and not refined or improved upon, we should be aware of them and not even classify them as good tea or even good for your body.

Just my 2 cents. Toki
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Re: 'Oolong Puerh' processing

Postby shah82 » Feb 5th, '13, 16:00

That sounds an approach for drinking now. The objection was about 8 years down the road...
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Re: 'Oolong Puerh' processing

Postby shah82 » Feb 5th, '13, 16:02

Hmmm, I think there is beginning to be a broad awareness in Chinese tea circles that Shuangjiang Mengku's processing has been problematic in the sense TIM talks about.

Of course, in the english speaking circles, Muyechun 002 is getting a little acclaim for aging well.
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Re: 'Oolong Puerh' processing

Postby TIM » Feb 5th, '13, 16:24

shah82 wrote:Hmmm, I think there is beginning to be a broad awareness in Chinese tea circles that Shuangjiang Mengku's processing has been problematic in the sense TIM talks about.

Of course, in the english speaking circles, Muyechun 002 is getting a little acclaim for aging well.


I am mainly concern about those new small companies production after 2004, that they have no idea of how to properly process/product puerh. The old big companies are fine like Menghai, but there was a change in directions from Dayi after 2006 already, which many people can sense. The quick turnaround and lack of knowledge of those smaller production are more "Building-Brand" and "Cash-driven" and try to reinvent the wheel, while lacking in experience and naiveness is what I am concern about. Specially in the Western market with an infant idea of what puerh is or should be.

A good exercise will be to how many new puerh our fellow teachatters have in there collection which is flat in the body, dont last many brews in a balance way (aroma and body) but high aroma from the production of 2006 to current?
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Re: 'Oolong Puerh' processing

Postby thanks » Feb 5th, '13, 16:28

I believe the issue with a lot of Shuangjiang Mengku's products over the years were that they were not sun drying the leaf put into cakes. Instead, they were baking them. I've seen this process mentioned here and there with small label productions which would explain people having a bad time aging Mengku and a lot of boutique label productions over the years. I tried a lot of Mengku's teas a while back, and was deeply unimpressed with most. There are exceptions though, as I believe their Mengku Hao and Wild Arbor King (haha) are processed in the traditional way that we would all feel safe storing for future consumption.

I took a break from young raw pu'er for a handful of years, only to come back recently and discover a whole new world of small production teas. I've encountered a couple of teas from Yunnan Sourcing that I think could be called "oolong pu'er", but still no one has put forth a proper way of identification. No one has also really pointed out specific examples either which makes the conversations vague. I would be very interested to hear some experiences with oolong pu'erh that we could come across. I feel that a lot of us buying younger pu'er are buying to age, and if it doesn't age well then I feel that's an important discussion we should be having as consumers.
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Re: 'Oolong Puerh' processing

Postby teaisme » Feb 5th, '13, 18:14

thanks wrote: No one has also really pointed out specific examples either which makes the conversations vague. I would be very interested to hear some experiences with oolong pu'erh that we could come across. I feel that a lot of us buying younger pu'er are buying to age, and if it doesn't age well then I feel that's an important discussion we should be having as consumers.


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Re: 'Oolong Puerh' processing

Postby fdrx » Feb 5th, '13, 20:28

in 2012 i've sampled lots of awful green and floral puers and i guess that's what you call oolong pu, but i'm not shure because the few Shuangjiang Mengku i've tried were differents, not that green. For this kind of pu, i think the aromas (EDIT: from the leaves, not from the soup) are sometimes even worse than the flavors.

I've bought two 2012 tuos from JianShen (健身) just to check how they will age because they were more interesting than the others, with body, nice mouth/throatfeel, and some good notes hidden behind the bad floral notes... i'll tell you in a few years if they became good
Last edited by fdrx on Feb 7th, '13, 03:33, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 'Oolong Puerh' processing

Postby nada » Feb 6th, '13, 18:41

TIM wrote:Thank you banna for starting this conversation. That's based off these "oolong Puerh". I labeled them "oolong puerh", because "oolong" in Cantonese can also mean "Careless" or "Silly".

Chinese tea to me is a crafted tea. The combined efforts of Nature and Craftsmanship: Nature is the base and Craftsmanship is the tradition of time proven methods. Methods which are not provide by time and generations of practice might not be labeled as such, especially in tea.


Thanks for clarifying that Tim. I was wondering what you were referring to by 'oolong puerh'. I'd missed that interpretation completely.

On the point of the processing - what can we call the traditional method of making puerh tea. Should we call the machine production of plantation teas over the past 50 years traditional and time proven, or would complete hand-processing of old tree leaves shared by many 'modern' teas and also by the antique cakes of the early 20th Century be more traditional? I'm not sure there's an easy answer - both methods have quite a bit of history.

On the post 2006 cakes you mention - what do you think the difference has been in the processing that has produced these changes? On my part, I'd suggest that the drying of the newly pressed cakes in heated rooms plays a part, perhaps also the inexperience of many farmers who are processing the leaves themselves by hand. What do you think? Something else?
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Re: 'Oolong Puerh' processing

Postby apache » Feb 6th, '13, 19:11

TIM wrote:I am mainly concern about those new small companies production after 2004, that they have no idea of how to properly process/product puerh. The old big companies are fine like Menghai, but there was a change in directions from Dayi after 2006 already, which many people can sense. The quick turnaround and lack of knowledge of those smaller production are more "Building-Brand" and "Cash-driven" and try to reinvent the wheel, while lacking in experience and naiveness is what I am concern about. Specially in the Western market with an infant idea of what puerh is or should be.
...
... flat in the body, dont last many brews in a balance way (aroma and body) but high aroma ...

Dare I say TIM already gave a lot of clues about where and how to find 'oolong style puerh' and I don't think to name specific cake publicly would be a very helpful thing to do on this Forum.

I think this problem is a recent development. I remember when I was a kid in 70s' (I gave away my age!), I never ever saw people drank pale yellow sheng pu, all the pu I knew at that time was deep red colour and no one, certainly in HK would call that yellow soup puerh tea. As new pu drinkers start learning about young sheng pu but without the experience knowing how to choose tea for aging, most of us would go for something which has a lot of aroma as this is the most obvious and first thing you would notice, whereas learning about other aspects like body, texture and others nuances quality take time to develop. So in a way, this style of oolong pu is driven by consumers. Also, as TIM said, a new tea producer wants to build a brand, his/her capital is tied with the stock and cash have to turn around quickly. Not very likely this tea trader will try to age the tea for, let say 4 or 5 years before selling to you and me. He/she need to sell it quickly to make the business viable. So combining these two factors, oolong pu was born.

Just my 2 cents worth ...
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Re: 'Oolong Puerh' processing

Postby TIM » Feb 7th, '13, 13:02

nada wrote: Thanks for clarifying that Tim. I was wondering what you were referring to by 'oolong puerh'. I'd missed that interpretation completely.

On the point of the processing - what can we call the traditional method of making puerh tea. Should we call the machine production of plantation teas over the past 50 years traditional and time proven, or would complete hand-processing of old tree leaves shared by many 'modern' teas and also by the antique cakes of the early 20th Century be more traditional? I'm not sure there's an easy answer - both methods have quite a bit of history.

On the post 2006 cakes you mention - what do you think the difference has been in the processing that has produced these changes? On my part, I'd suggest that the drying of the newly pressed cakes in heated rooms plays a part, perhaps also the inexperience of many farmers who are processing the leaves themselves by hand. What do you think? Something else?


D, puerh as a cake or pressed in other shapes have been around more then 50 years, I know you should be aware of that. Machine processing is only away to produce mass quantity since the Russian-Chinese period (or commonly known as the CCNP). Russian provided the machine and technology and Chinese were still the key tea makers, I call them the Tea Master. Like in whisky or wine, there is a head distiller or head wine maker. Tea Masters are the key people with traditional skill, knowledge, techniques and experience, Menghai have them 50 years ago, and they became the "Old Comrades" or branch out to other brands. There are many these skillful, traditional Old master around. These are the traditional method I am referring to.

What I am calling "Modern" are those whom started in the puerh bubble or got influenced by the "Gold rush" period. Heated room drying is not the key to this problem imo.

Just an example, do you remember one of those days in the mountain when you just finished harvesting the leaves and start processing them and the cats and dogs start falling? You have to dry it some how in the coal room (indoor). But once you stabilize the first process, you can dry them under the sun, right?

Greedy and inexperience farmers and vendors do play a heavy hands in this issue. Just my 2 Cents.

~T
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Re: 'Oolong Puerh' processing

Postby nada » Feb 8th, '13, 11:36

I guess I'm really wondering what's different from the point of view of processing. I'm sure 10 or 100 years ago leaves still had to be processed if it started raining. I'm pretty sure the farmers didn't just throw them out.
Maybe they just don't dry them in their smoky houses anymore, but I don't think that's the difference.

I'm searching for things that have changed, but I can't put my finger on very much. What is it exactly that is being done differently that makes the tea 'go stale in 8 plus years', give it 'high aroma, flat in the body' and make it unable to age?
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Re: 'Oolong Puerh' processing

Postby shah82 » Feb 8th, '13, 13:49

My guess?

The inclusion of leaf that doesn't really make good tea for aging. Outside of fairly isolated areas of ancient plantations, what part of Lancang or Lincang districts has tea that really ages well? I've had first stage aged Jingmai, JingGu, and DXS that reflect some kind of propensity to change in top taste to something else, and have an attractive and reasonably full taste and aroma. There are cakes upon cakes upon cakes of awful aged Jiangchen puerh, at least I think that's what they were. I've yet to be impressed by any Wuliang tea by the standards for top taste. I find that most lincangs don't change taste readily, and many of them will not change to an especially nice taste.

Most of these northern leaves are pretty fragrant, and the cheaper ones age into herbal tones that may or (generally) may not be super pleasant. So it could be blending in of inferior leaves...
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