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