A good first pu? also, recipe numbers--what do they mean?


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

A good first pu? also, recipe numbers--what do they mean?

Postby zacstill » Aug 17th, '08, 16:06

Hi, I am looking to buy my first pu, and was wondering if I could get some advice on a good one to try.

I've been lurking and doing my homework for about a month or so, and I think this would be a good first raw one. I figure that menghai would be a safe bet.

http://www.puerhshop.com/index.php?main ... cts_id=522

I thought it would be best to order a sample before I go plunking down 20+ bucks only to find out that pu-erh isn't my thing.
However, I don't like the idea of getting a sample chunk from a whole cake, because how am I to know that the sample they sold me is really from the cake that they say it is? Do I just have to trust in the reputation of these businesses?

Also, could someone shed some light on what the digits in a factory's recipe code stand for? Is it how long the recipe has been around, a batch number, leaf grade?

Thanks for your help!
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Postby shogun89 » Aug 17th, '08, 16:26

Hello and welcome to pudom.

The sample that you listed should be good, I haven't had it but the 7542 is a classic recipe and has been know to make some great puerhs. The number system work as so. . .
1st 2 numbers (75)= date introduced, 1975
2nd number (4)= leaf grade, 1-10, 1 being the best
3rd is the factory code= 1; Kumming, 2; Meng Hai, 3; Xia Guan, 4;Lan Cang, 8; Hai Wan

You do not have to worry about getting a "false" sample from PuerhShop, Jim is a trust worthy dealer. If you have the extra money I highly recommend this cake,
http://www.puerhshop.com/index.php?main ... cts_id=153

It is excellent for beginners, well priced. It may just be me, but if brewed correctly I dont know how anyone could not like this tea. Its Sweet with hints of fruit, wood and honey. It was my second cake and I couldn't of been happier! Check out my in depth review of it here. If you are not a fan of really strong tea I would probably stay away from blends right now as they are made for aging so the flavors can mellow, A 2005 is no where near aged so you may get an unhappy first experience. Thats whats neat about the Jinggu cake, you will not see any of that bitterness.

viewtopic.php?t=5842

This cake would also be good. It was my first cake, Although, this one is slightly bitter and smokey and is slightly powerful because this is also a blend that is meant for aging, but you should like it, I did.

http://www.puerhshop.com/index.php?main ... cts_id=191

If you insist on getting a sample This would be a good one
http://www.puerhshop.com/index.php?main ... cts_id=273
This will make you much happier than the 7542.
Good luck and if you have anymore questions dont hesitate to ask! :D
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Postby zacstill » Aug 17th, '08, 23:41

thanks for the advice, I think I will go with the 2005 sample you suggested, even though I've never heard of the factory. The other ones you suggest look great too, and I will probably end up ordering them somewhere down the line if I find pu-erh to be my thing.

Maybe trying a 5+ year old tea like the one you suggested will help me to consider whether I would want to go through the trouble of aging.

I'm also thinking about buying some shu puerh.
What is generally different in taste between a shu pu and a properly aged sheng pu? Is the shu just a little muddier tasting?

Is it common for some people to prefer a shu over a properly aged sheng, or is the 'cooking' just a way to get close to the flavor of an aged pu without the time/money investment? I'm assuming that cooked is a totally different beast.

For now I'm sure I can't go wrong with your suggestions, thanks shogun
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Postby shogun89 » Aug 17th, '08, 23:52

Hi,

The 2005 I suggested is not a sample, it is for one full cake. The 2003, although very good will not show you an aged sheng, I find it very simiilar to the 2005 Jinggu but costs $10 more. As much as I love sheng I also love shu, Shu is very hard to describe, but as far as comparing it to aged sheng, It lacks the complexities that us pu heads seek. If you like black tea you should like/love shu.
Here is a great shu for beginners, cheap, smooth and sweet.
http://www.puerhshop.com/index.php?main ... cts_id=420

Take care.
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Postby heavydoom » Aug 18th, '08, 14:23

wikipedia can be very useful. try it.
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Postby Dizzwave » Aug 18th, '08, 14:32

I've been wondering too... What exactly makes a recipe? How is an 8582 different from a 7582? (I'm not sure if those are both actual recipes, but for the sake of this....) Is it just the blend of leaves, or is there something different in the processing itself?
Probably a different answer for sheng and shu, since (I would think) the shu cooking/composting/fermenting process has more variables I guess?
thanks,
dave
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Postby shogun89 » Aug 18th, '08, 14:35

Dizzwave wrote:I've been wondering too... What exactly makes a recipe? How is an 8582 different from a 7582? (I'm not sure if those are both actual recipes, but for the sake of this....) Is it just the blend of leaves, or is there something different in the processing itself?
Probably a different answer for sheng and shu, since (I would think) the shu cooking/composting/fermenting process has more variables I guess?
thanks,
dave


The processing usually does not vary too much. Those two recipes could not be existent because it is the same recipe but saying they were invented and different times. :roll:
I may not be right but that is my guess.
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Postby Salsero » Aug 18th, '08, 14:44

Dizzwave wrote: I've been wondering too...
Me three
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Postby nada » Aug 19th, '08, 06:26

Hi Shogun,

I believe this to be incorrect - it is the complete 4 digits that ensures the uniqueness of the recipe (see 8542 vs. 7542). Otherwise it would be the case that one factory could not made a different recipe from the same grade of leaves, leaving only 10 numbered recipes possible per factory.

At a guess, I'd say that it is the combinations and ratios of different grades of leaves from different areas that comprise a recipe, but i may be wrong.

nada.
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Postby shogun89 » Aug 19th, '08, 08:45

nada wrote:Hi Shogun,

I believe this to be incorrect - it is the complete 4 digits that ensures the uniqueness of the recipe (see 8542 vs. 7542). Otherwise it would be the case that one factory could not made a different recipe from the same grade of leaves, leaving only 10 numbered recipes possible per factory.

At a guess, I'd say that it is the combinations and ratios of different grades of leaves from different areas that comprise a recipe, but i may be wrong.

nada.


You are correct that the leaves may be from different areas and slightly different amounts but that recipe tells me that it was made in factory 2 from a blend of 4 grade leaves and first released in 1985 and then 1975, so my question is why would the same factory (2) create the same recipe 10 years apart? unless it is for a ripe cake.
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Postby hop_goblin » Aug 19th, '08, 08:49

nada wrote:Hi Shogun,

I believe this to be incorrect - it is the complete 4 digits that ensures the uniqueness of the recipe (see 8542 vs. 7542). Otherwise it would be the case that one factory could not made a different recipe from the same grade of leaves, leaving only 10 numbered recipes possible per factory.

At a guess, I'd say that it is the combinations and ratios of different grades of leaves from different areas that comprise a recipe, but i may be wrong.

nada.


Nada, you are correct
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Postby hop_goblin » Aug 19th, '08, 08:54

shogun89 wrote:
nada wrote:Hi Shogun,

I believe this to be incorrect - it is the complete 4 digits that ensures the uniqueness of the recipe (see 8542 vs. 7542). Otherwise it would be the case that one factory could not made a different recipe from the same grade of leaves, leaving only 10 numbered recipes possible per factory.

At a guess, I'd say that it is the combinations and ratios of different grades of leaves from different areas that comprise a recipe, but i may be wrong.

nada.


You are correct that the leaves may be from different areas and slightly different amounts but that recipe tells me that it was made in factory 2 from a blend of 4 grade leaves and first released in 1985 and then 1975, so my question is why would the same factory (2) create the same recipe 10 years apart? unless it is for a ripe cake.


Shogun, recipes designate totally different formulas. As Nada had mentioned, although some recipes can call for same leaf grade, they may be comprised of maocha from different growing reasons. To use an analogy if I may, a Margarita is still called a Margarita even though it may have a different tequila and or mixer. Crappy example I know! lol
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Postby Salsero » Aug 19th, '08, 09:45

nada wrote:Hi Shogun,

I believe this to be incorrect - ~ snip ~

nada.
Are you the Nada of A Felicific Life?, who just documented a wonderful visit to the Yunnan tea areas? Either way, delighted to have you here. Stop by TeaDay if you care to share what is in your cup, and I look forward from hearing more from you in the future.
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Postby Dizzwave » Aug 19th, '08, 12:18

I read an interesting thing last night in The Art of Tea vol. 3, about recipe numbers, and leaf grades in particular.
A leaf of grade 1 is not necessarily "better" than a leaf of grade 2, 5, 8, etc. The grade is more about where on the tree branch it came from. Grade 1 leaves are the smallest leaves, from the tips, and since they are smaller, they are more expensive by weight/volume (more leaves/kg, basically). Grade 2 leaves are from a little bit further up the branch, and are hence a little bit bigger, thus generally a little cheaper. And so on.
It's a great article, but it didn't deeply answer our question about what really makes a recipe besides the leaf grade. It did say that it is based on the blend of leaves (e.g. 20% Lao Ban Zhang, 50% wherever else, 30% somewhere else), and the "processing technique." But it didn't say what sort of processing variables are changed between, say, a 7532 and an 8542. Perhaps that's just Menghai's secret. :)
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Postby nada » Aug 19th, '08, 13:56

Hi Salsero,

Yep, the same Nada. Glad you enjoyed my humble blog. I've been pondering what to do do with it now that I've returned home - but perhaps it will just remain more or less dormant until my return to Taiwan later this year, (unless some inspiration comes my way!).

nada.
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