I wanted something mellow today for a change. Yesterday was a little much, as usual. I can only take so much tea before feeling a little uneasy.
So I opted for the cheap puerh from the Best Tea House. It’s called “Home Stored Puerh”. This is one of the grades in the traditional Hong Kong gradations. Home Stored is the lowest grade, usually, with “carefully stored” slightly better, and “unknown year” usually the best. In the old days, nobody cared much about vintage and make and all that, so puerh were just called by these names and they were all formula teas — mixed together for taste and price from different kinds of teas. The tradition lives on.
Home stored puerh at the BTH used to be about half the price of what it is now, and I have to say the quality actually went down while prices went up 🙁
It’s mostly some cooked puerh with some wet stored puerh, and a little bit of dry stored mixed in for flavour. Yeah, doesn’t sound that great does it? The brew that comes out of this tea is mostly dark brown. The taste is mellow, earthy, approaching that of cooked puerh, but I think a little more complex, and lasts a bit longer in terms of infusions.
You can see evidence of mxing in the leaves
With raw puerh — some looking like dry stored raw puerh of decent age
And then the black, charcoal-like stuff that is more commonly seen in cooked puerh
Not terrible for regular drinking. I did, after all, start drinking puerh with this kind of thing.
Incidentally, I am thinking of running an experiment with the Longyuan Hao cake I got that I don’t think i will drink very much. What I am going to do is going to go through a mini wet storage with it… using it as a sample. I will put it under the stream of vapour that comes out of the humidifier everyday, and then let it dry overnight, and then repeat this pretty much everyday, and see how it ages. It should, I’d imagine, age a lot faster with this kind of process. Will it produce something drinkable (and recognizably puerh) by the end of my time here in Beijing? Or will I just end up with a cake of mouldy tea that I don’t want to touch?
I guess we’ll find out.