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I embarked on my tea journey when I studied abroad in China in 2008 and traveled around Taiwan that summer. I'm here to share my experiences and offer my own opinion, advice, and comments on tea.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

To Pu or Not to Pu?

The title sounds crass, I know, but I couldn't resist...much like how I can't resist saying "that's what she said" when the situation calls for it...

So I've had the occasional pu'erh here and there, but I've never bought any on my mine. Out of all the pu'erh I've tasted (which isn't saying much), I think I like young sheng, old sheng, and middle-aged sheng...in that order. Once I start drinking more pu'erh I will probably have more nuances in this list, but this will do for now. Anyway, I digress from the point of this post.

Unlike other tea drinkers I know, I have been blessed/cursed with coming across tea at a (relatively) young age. I'm like a teenager compared to all the tea drinkers I know, whether in person or by guessing/implying peoples' ages on TeaChat. I'm blessed because I have the time to age teas and by the tea I can enjoy "aged" teas I won't be at the age when I'm senile. Now it's a curse because I don't have the cash to spend on tea, especially as a part-timer in this shitty economy. So my budget is limited, which means compromises need to be made.

So I enjoy young sheng, and I feel like it's about the right time to starting exploring that particular genre...the final frontier in my tea journey. All the heavy hitters in the blogging world, A Tea Addicts Journal, The Mandarin's Tea, The Half-Dipper, etc. talk about pu'erh alot, and a part of me feels like I won't be validated as a tea blogger or even a tea enthusiast without owning a few cakes/bricks/tuocha of my own. I couldn't be comfortable calling myself a tea geek until than. It would also allow me to enjoy these blogs even more, since I love to read them despite my non-knowledge of pu-erh.

A new month is approaching, and as my previous postings have indicated, I have begun to run dry on certain goods, mainly high-fired TGY and Yancha, though WY saved me by generously donating some samples of Shui Jin Gui. But I only have enough high-fired TGY for one more session, and I've been thinking ordering some from Aroma Tea House.

I was thinking of putting a massive order with Yunnan Sourcing at the beginning of November, consisting of a few "classical" Menghai and Xiaguan cakes, as well as some single-estate Nannuo and Bulang cakes. Why the single-estate cakes? Well, I want to slowly learn the characteristics of each mountain, and though these regional characteristics will differ from cake to cake(due to a whole slew of factors: plantation vs. wild arbor, vintage, processing, producer, etc.), when someone talks about a cake having that "classic Nannuo/Bulang/Menghai/etc. flavor," I want to be able to nod along and know what they're talking about. From what I've read on TeaChat and the blogosphere...these two estates sound appealing to me.

So, back to the original question...to pu or not to pu? Should I embark on a new journey now, or should I replenish my reserves first? My tea future is up to you, dear readers!


Steven Knoerr said...

Pu or get off the potty! :)

Maitre_Tea said...

I knew I shouldn't have been so cavalier with my title! This is actually a very serious issue...and although I know the stuff I want won't sell out at Yunnan Sourcing, who knows when some pu-head suddenly decides he wants the entire 2008 production of 7532!

Stephane said...

Start with some samples of various styles and quality.