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24/11: On ripe Pu-erh tea, Part IV

Let the truth be told, a good ripe/fermented Pu-erh tea is NOT necessarily tasted dirt/earthy, pondy/fishy, or sour when you just bought it.

The tea fermentation is not a hi-tech per se, but it does require a lots of experience and know-hows before you can nail it to the perfection. There are hundreds of factories doing the fermentation without a skilled hand, you know what would happen. I dare to say, even under an ideal situation with a seasoned fermentation master, you cannot guarantee a sure success.

Remember, the tea fermentation is not a reversible process that you can un-do the damage.

The problem was that many faulty products were sold to the market, and they were telling you that a ripe/fermented tea should taste like such. They also tried to tell you that if you laid the defective tea around for a long time, the tea would miraculously become something better, its 'off' taste would be dissipated or become non-existed!

True, a good ripe tea would become better, but a bad one, I don't think it can repair itself.

The fact is that a newly fermented Pu-erh tea should be laid around in manufactuer's warehouse at least for a period of one to three years, and check again and again before they become products. During that time, a tea undergos a stage that we call it stabilizing and maturing. If it is a good tea, so it should be compressed into a tuocha, a brick or a cake then it can be marketed as a product.

Well, too many short-circuits were taking place. You would find many ripe teas were coming from the fermentation workshop just a few months old ( good thing about it is if you wait, it would be better), and even the bad batch was made into a product (it should be thrown into garbage!).

As a tea merchant, the task is actually quite simple. You are not going to buy anything unless you check the stuff and taste the stuff yourself. Don't mis-guided by these persons whom said the tea would improve soon enough, or a taste is what it should be, or the tea is the works of famous Mr. who, or the tea is from what's the name factory.

Use your own common sense, forget about the lowball price they offered. You may come ahead these games and get some decent stuff.

Comments made

Hi Jim!
You're making me rethink Shou a bit. For me it's more medicinal. There really is nothing better when your stomach is sour or you're feeling under the weather and the Qi of sheng is too much for you. Shou is perfect, it seems, for balancing you again after stress or illness.

The thing about being able to tell where a Shu came from. For me the regional differences that are present in a Sheng seem to dissapear in shu. I couldn't tell you if a Shou was Lincang or Menghai for example, certainly not which mountain or season. Can you? WHat offerings do you have that you think preserve terroir?

I see you're offering a Shou from Mengku, one of my favorites. Does Mengku character make it through the fermentation process?

By the way you're 1105 is so astoudingly wonderful that I ration myself and make it a treat! MMMMMMMMM VERY NICE!
25/11 19:23:50
Thanks for your comments.

If you go throught On ripe Pu-erh tea, Part I one more time, You would properly know a bit how to make a judgement on where the tea is coming from. I have a pretty good idea to decide if a tea is harvested in Spring or in Fall from its look and taste, but it is hard to pass the judgement on which mountain the tea is from - I am still in that game by drinking more pure mountain teas to learn.

It is true the character of a tea from a certain area is diminished quite bit after the fermentation, but you could pick up a trace of it late on.
26/11 20:16:14

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