Simple question from a, hopefully, new member of the Pu Crew


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

Simple question from a, hopefully, new member of the Pu Crew

Postby chad » Oct 3rd, '08, 21:44

My spouse already thinks I've lost my mind, but then, we've been married 29 years...

What would be a good Pu to try first time out. I'd prefer one that does not taste like the bottom of a fish tank, not that there's anything wrong with that! :D

Recommended sources and a recommeded year/name/etc. would be greatly appreciated.

I've been looking at Puershop and other web sites for hints. I realize Pu is a bit of an aquired taste - and so I'm looking for entry level goodness...not overly concerned about price but would prefer an entry level price even if it's a sample.

Thanks.
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Postby shogun89 » Oct 3rd, '08, 22:42

Hi and welcome aboard the pu boat.
Here what I would suggest, I have been into pu for about a year now and have had many different teas to taste. This was my second cake and is still among my favorite. This is the cake that I always recommend to new comers
http://www.puerhshop.com/index.php?main ... cts_id=153

Check out my review of it here,

viewtopic.php?t=5842
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Postby chad » Oct 3rd, '08, 23:18

Thanks. I'll put it on my list.
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Postby beecrofter » Oct 4th, '08, 00:04

Since a sheng has been suggested I will pipe up with a shu that I find affordable and enjoyable from Awazon tea via Ebay
2006 Mengk Gold Medal Ripe Pu-erh Tea Small Cake 145g

The listing has a mis-spelling so searching for mengk will bring it up right away ( it should have read Mengku)
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Postby chad » Oct 4th, '08, 00:26

Thanks. This will go on my wish list, too.

I do want to understand the difference between sheng and shu and develop an appreciation for the total Pu experience. :D

I'm a foodie at heart and have competed in BBQ cookoffs for the last several years. One thing I learned was an appreciation for different nuance.

Your input in greatly appreciated.
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Postby thanks » Oct 4th, '08, 04:14

chad wrote:Thanks. This will go on my wish list, too.

I do want to understand the difference between sheng and shu and develop an appreciation for the total Pu experience. :D

I'm a foodie at heart and have competed in BBQ cookoffs for the last several years. One thing I learned was an appreciation for different nuance.

Your input in greatly appreciated.


Sheng is "raw" Pu'er. Sheng can be thought of as basically green tea that is usually aged through secondary oxidation process and microbial fermentation. You can drink young sheng "as-is", but once you have had a lot of different Pu'er, most people agree that sheng is undrinkable unless aged for quite a long time. Sheng can be aged for decades without losing flavor, and usually just becoming better and better.

Shu is "ripe", or "cooked" Pu'er. Shu goes through a fermentation process to loosely mimic aged Sheng Pu'er. It's Sheng that's been piled, sprayed with water, and covered to increase heat and humidity to aid in the developing of microbial fermentation. Poorly made Shu tastes horrible, properly made Shu tastes good usually after a few months of being produced (after it loses it's "fermentation flavor", or dui wei), and can be aged to further enhance it's flavors among other things.

Usually this is a controversial topic simply because of the specific words used when describing both, which if you use the wrong word (for instance mixing oxidation with fermentation) people start to get riled up, so hopefully I didn't butcher the explanations. Since a Sheng and Shu have been suggested, might I suggest samples of a Sheng, Shu, and aged Sheng so that you may see the differences. I'm basically going to copy and paste (with some slight modifications) something I posted in a similar thread earlier last month. If this is too long of a post I apologize.


http://cgi.ebay.com/2007-Mengh...m153.l1262
This is my favorite raw Menghai recipe. Very finicky and hard to brew when young, so this is a good place to hone in your sheng brewing skills.

http://cgi.ebay.com/2005-Guoya...m153.l1262
This is a fantastic young sheng. Also worthy of the price, believe it or not.

http://www.jingteashop.com/pd_1999.cfm
This is a great adolescent pu'er that I find to be very good, but still needs some years of mellowing out. It's notable for it's age in that it's not just a camphor, woody, mellow tea with some astringency like most Menghai's of similar vintage (especially 7542's of around this time), but that it also has some great complexity and cha qi. Wonderful potential in this one.

This tea, http://www.houdeasianart.com/i...ts_id=559, and this same tea, but stored differently http://www.houdeasianart.com/i...cts_id=799 are both fantastic for their age, and are decently priced. The dry stored version is, in my opinion superior of the two, but only slightly. This is the best way to see what different storage conditions can do to pu'er. Great learning experience, and delicious too! Great way to broaden and "train" your pallet.

http://www.houdeasianart.com/i...cts_id=746
I love this tea. Really love it. Only was able to snag one cake before it sold out, but I'm so glad I did. Extremely active tea, dry stored, excellent flavor profile, and very complex. Great durability, it's showing excellent potential. First session with this tea proved a bad experience, but by the time I was done with the sample I knew I had to get a cake.

http://www.houdeasianart.com/i...cts_id=756
This is another great example of dry storage at it's best. While a great tea, I think it's still overrated and overpriced. However, even with that being said, this is a tea you must taste at least once. It's tenacity will challenge you. The most active tea I've ever had at this age. Impressive.

http://www.houdeasianart.com/i...cts_id=989
I absolutely love this tea. I'm very upset it sold out so quickly Sad. This one will also challenge your brewing skills, but the payoff is more than worth the effort. Great potential in this adolescent cake.

http://www.nadacha.co.uk/index...p;Itemid=1
For it's price and age, this tea absolutely cannot be beat. When I had my first session with this tea, I really was not that impressed. It came off as fairly generic for such an old tea. Wood, camphor, etc. The next session I had with it showed an evolving complexity over multiple brews and really surprised me. The next session also was fantastic. I brewed this tea for hours until it gave up. The storage of this is especially impressive considering it's an 80's tuocha.

http://www.nadacha.co.uk/index.php?prod ... 1&Itemid=1
Really cheap and excellent Shu. Hard to overbrew. Nada said it better than I could have, "This 2008 Shu (Cooked) puerh is I think the best young shu puerh that I've tried". Excellent value.


These are a few teas that I think really give a fairly broad range of pu'er flavors. Samples are so incredibly important, and try your best to hesitate on buying cakes until you're able to sample them one way or another. Samples are also great in that the more different pu'er you drink, the better your brewing methods, the better your flavor profile, and the better you're able to pick up on a tea's quality. I own teas that I impulse bought when I first started because they looked good, but now think are complete trash.

I also think (and most of all of this is subjective, really) that some knowledge of gonfu brewing should be learned. I don't understand people who brew young raw Pu'er for longer than 10 seconds off the first rinse.

Hope this helps! The more the merrier, and the less crazy our obsession seems.
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Postby augie » Oct 4th, '08, 09:54

chad wrote:I'm a foodie at heart and have competed in BBQ cookoffs for the last several years. One thing I learned was an appreciation for different nuance.
Your input in greatly appreciated.


Welcome to pu-dom. I am a newbie after 2 years of waffling back and forth between sheng and shu! We are also amateur bbq'ers, having just bought a Big Green Egg this past spring.

I second the puehrshop.com & houdeasianart.com, have ordered good pu ehr (and other teas) from both. There are others here who do business with yunan sourcing on e-bay as well. If no one has told you already: do not order any loose pu ehr (it generally stinks) and don't bother with those little mini-toucha thingies (they're loosers too). Puehrshop has samples, but ordering too many just made me more confused than ever!

The Pu Ehr Pass Box would be a good way to familiarize yourself with sheng/shu, but you have to be a forum member for some time before you can participate.
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Re: Simple question from a, hopefully, new member of the Pu

Postby orguz » Oct 4th, '08, 10:58

chad wrote:My spouse already thinks I've lost my mind
What would be a good Pu to try first time out. I'd prefer one that does not taste like the bottom of a fish tank, not that there's anything wrong with that! :D

Recommended sources and a recommeded year/name/etc. would be greatly appreciated.



I'm afraid to say, once you start ordering 1 to 2 cakes you won't stop and order a LOT MORE, if you get hooked that is. Last night I broke up a cake ordered from yunnan sourcing.

http://cgi.ebay.com/2007-Hai-Lang-Hao-J ... dZViewItem

This is a real tasty tea, no bitterness, thick tea soup, and sweet. A good raw tea to try. For a cooked get something that has aged a bit try one 2000 vintage at least, my personal opinion here. More recent vintages have that pond taste, unless the cake is pressed now but with fermented leafs from previous years. Stick with the known factories for quality, though not guaranteed but a safer bet.

DRINK TEA IT IS GOOD FOR YOU.
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Postby chad » Oct 4th, '08, 15:08

Thanks so much for the information, encouragement, and welcome!

I've got to "ease" into this -- my interests and hobbies tend to grow beyond initial interest...my 13' long trailered BBQ cooker - is a good example. And to think that obsession began with a $40 Brinkmann Gourmet smoker (also known as the ECB - El Cheapo Brinkmann). :shock: :D

I appreciate the explanation of the different "types" of Pu. I'm sure I'll be order several (I typed that while keeping straight face, too!) of each and I'm sure I'll start "investing" in new pu in order to age my own.

Thanks again for the welcome and information.
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Postby hop_goblin » Oct 4th, '08, 20:24

I personally recommend the 2003 Henry Special Order. It personally believe that it has a great flavor without all of the more acquired hints that people enjoy when they learn to appreciate puerh more.

You can find it at www.houdeasianart.com

under the Tea sampler section
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Postby TIM » Oct 7th, '08, 13:52

i recommend this for any puerh starter:

http://www.theteagallery.com/2004_Silver_Tip_Puer_p/pgc-2004st.htm

Enjoy.
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