Aging Puerh - Pyramid or Plateau


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

Aging Puerh - Pyramid or Plateau

Postby wrcowan2002 » Aug 18th, '13, 15:47

I keep reading that raw puerh doesn't age after 50 - 60 years and ripe puerh after 10 years. However is this life span of the tea or just the aging? I thought puerh was like wine with a life span graphically showing a pyramid -- where incline = decline. But the comments I've been reading recently, infer that the aging stops but that quality holds -- lifespan plateaus. A lot of vendors are selling +10 year old ripe puerh & they aren't dropping the price. Would you buy +10 year old ripe puerh?
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Re: Aging Puerh - Pyramid or Plateau

Postby mr mopu » Aug 18th, '13, 16:38

wrcowan2002 wrote:I keep reading that raw puerh doesn't age after 50 - 60 years and ripe puerh after 10 years. However is this life span of the tea or just the aging? I thought puerh was like wine with a life span graphically showing a pyramid -- where incline = decline. But the comments I've been reading recently, infer that the aging stops but that quality holds -- lifespan plateaus. A lot of vendors are selling +10 year old ripe puerh & they aren't dropping the price. Would you buy +10 year old ripe puerh?

Raw puerh ages from the moment it is pressed. Ripe puerh will lose the "barnyard" fermented odor after a few years. I think both continue to evolve. As for pricing old tea is usually more expensive. I bought 2 Menghai Dragon cakes this year (raw) and they have already doubled in price.
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Re: Aging Puerh - Pyramid or Plateau

Postby Evan Draper » Aug 19th, '13, 14:38

Wr, you raise an interesting question. I'm going to hazard a guess that since systematically aging wine has a longer history and more of a culture of scientific experimentation and documentation, that it has come to terms with the idea of "decline from peak flavor" in a way that tea has not yet. Wine and tea experts will both tell you that "older doesn't always mean better," but without that body of scientific knowledge to bolster this assertion, it will be overwhelmed by the force of "competitive, conspicuous consumption" from buyers and sellers.
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Re: Aging Puerh - Pyramid or Plateau

Postby AllanK » Aug 19th, '13, 20:37

Evan Draper wrote:Wr, you raise an interesting question. I'm going to hazard a guess that since systematically aging wine has a longer history and more of a culture of scientific experimentation and documentation, that it has come to terms with the idea of "decline from peak flavor" in a way that tea has not yet. Wine and tea experts will both tell you that "older doesn't always mean better," but without that body of scientific knowledge to bolster this assertion, it will be overwhelmed by the force of "competitive, conspicuous consumption" from buyers and sellers.

Older definitely does not always mean better. One of the worst teas I have bought was a 2002 from Ebay while some 2012 or 2013 teas have been among the best. One of my favorites is a 2010 Tong Qing Hao.
http://purepuer.com/puer_tea/do/product ... r_Tea_Cake
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Re: Aging Puerh - Pyramid or Plateau

Postby mr mopu » Aug 19th, '13, 20:59

AllanK wrote:
Evan Draper wrote:Wr, you raise an interesting question. I'm going to hazard a guess that since systematically aging wine has a longer history and more of a culture of scientific experimentation and documentation, that it has come to terms with the idea of "decline from peak flavor" in a way that tea has not yet. Wine and tea experts will both tell you that "older doesn't always mean better," but without that body of scientific knowledge to bolster this assertion, it will be overwhelmed by the force of "competitive, conspicuous consumption" from buyers and sellers.

Older definitely does not always mean better. One of the worst teas I have bought was a 2002 from Ebay while some 2012 or 2013 teas have been among the best. One of my favorites is a 2010 Tong Qing Hao.
http://purepuer.com/puer_tea/do/product ... r_Tea_Cake

+1 on bad Ebay tea.
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Re: Aging Puerh - Pyramid or Plateau

Postby gasninja » Aug 20th, '13, 06:35

It is very tough to know these days. Unless your father was ageing Puerh or you are extremely wealthy, then it is tough to do an I depth study. Given how expensive old Puerh is most of us will be fortunate enough even to try tea of that age. Then we are left to wonder its quality relative to other teas of its in that age range.
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