Looking back through my previous T Ching posts, I haven’t said much about a subject I’ve been focused on exploring for about two years: Sheng pu’er. (Although reviewing versions and buying a cake / bing dates back to five years ago.)
Aging concerns are only part of that tea type’s scope. It might make more sense to start with reviewing origin location variations and move on to other aspect differences and input causes. But that’s too much for a T Ching post. So is sheng aging (fermentation transitions), but I’ll write about it anyway; broken by sub-theme to abbreviate things. (Lately I’ve been more focused on how slight mustiness related to storage conditions can fade over a few months, but that’s yet a different subject.)
Humidity / conditions related: The main related factor — beyond the tea itself — is how warm and humid the storage environment is. Too dry and the tea won’t age; way too dry and flavor level will diminish. This article on storage condition basics goes into more on all that, with this follow-up reviewing outside input about optimums and other factors. Relatively dry-stored sheng might not transition (ferment) very quickly at all, and much more humid storage can impart a range of different musty tastes. It’s slightly more complicated than that but those are the basic factors.
Related to the tea itself, the starting point: Some sheng pu’er is great when brand new, not requiring any transition at all (although that is a matter of preference, as with all the rest). Processing input might “design” a version to be drinkable, or to emphasize storage potential. Or variation by source area tends to relate to associated character, especially initial levels of bitterness and astringency. This subject expands so much beyond that very general level that I’ll only address it further related to other themes (with more on it here, related to the concept of “oolong pu’er”).
To be concluded in Monday’s post
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