I’d like to share my experiences recently with a 2004 “Ordinary Treasure” Sheng Puer from Global Tea Hut.
I had tried this small package of Puer once casually when we got it in the mail, and I enjoyed it immensely. I love a good raw Puer (Shēng chá, 生茶) now and then, but most of my collection is still fairly young. Older raw Puer tends to be expensive, and certainly wasn’t something I expected to receive with my magazine.
Fortunately there was enough left in the tin for another try because I wanted to write a little about my experience. Today I brewed the last 7 grams in my Jianshui pot, gongfu style.
The liquor had a beautiful golden orange hue, like a sunset over the water. Being fairly loose, this tea does not need any rinse, nor a lengthy first infusion. The sunset appears almost at once. In fact, I had to cut my first infusion with a little extra water because it was a bit too intense. It actually felt elegant as I added the extra water and watched the tea’s deep orange fade to gold. Perhaps that’s where I saw the sunset for the first time.
Smooth and mellow, the flavor was comforting and energizing at the same time. While there was a definite sweet taste, it wasn’t the sweetness of fruit. More the earthy sweetness of oats and barley with a little bit of toasted almond. Despite it being only early afternoon, sipping this tea brought to mind the beautiful mountain sunsets of Yunnan; I think I could feel the cool breeze on the evening of a hot summer day.
At the third infusion the body became thicker with more of a eucalyptus effect, though still sweet and mellow. How enchanting! I found the heaviness unexpected for a Sheng and yet very welcoming. I wonder if this is the stage between a young Puer’s sharpness and the aged earthiness that I’ve found often arrives when raw Puer gets closer to the 20 year line.
The fourth and fifth infusions mysteriously remind me of nothing short of a Hong Cha! So rich and mouth filling with that hint of tannin. Even the liquor’s color belied its processing.
The sixth infusion went back to tasting more like Puer with a cedar flavor and a hint of an astringency along my tongue. It was still very drinkable though, and that’s with only about a two minute infusion.
Brewing this tea was quite a delight, all the way to the last drop. Many thanks to Global Tea Hut for bringing these leaves to the community. I hope to find more gems like this in the mysterious world of aged tea, and I hope you find some too.