Friday, October 26, 2018

Reflections on the Future of Modern Style Puerh Tea - Updated 30 Oct 2018

Beautifully packaged and engineered by design to be compliant to a wider audience ... but are we seeing signs that the modern style of puerh tea is fraying at the edges. Has the intent to satisfy commercial interests compromised the traditional values of puerh tea?

My first encounter with the modern style of puerh tea came in 2005 at a Chinese tea market in Kunming. During that time such teas were not taken seriously and were treated as a gimmick which often resulted in them being offered to new tea drinkers. The market sentiment was very different during those times. It was a speculative market with fast money and investing in puerh tea provided a roller coaster ride of emotions. The vast majority of buyers were Chinese and there was strong demand for puerh tea that could potentially make future profits. Buyers wanted puerh tea that was age worthy and that would give them a return on their investment. The modern style of puerh tea was an unknown quantity and its docile qualities were so different to the standard puerh tea at the time that some even questioned whether it was genuine puerh tea. The hardcore Chinese buyers were dismissive of the modern style of puerh tea and as a result the more competitive buying revolved around traditional and renowned producers and factories like Menghai Tea Factory.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Old Tea – Beyond Taste, Aroma, Flavor

Photo credit goes to

Tea enthusiasts who take the time to appreciate and respect their experience with old tea will find the experience can be deeply spiritual and profound. By paying our respect to the memories and meaning that the tea represents we open ourselves to another dimension of appreciation and enjoyment. Old tea is a representation of their respective era, the state of society from olden times shaped by key historical events and ideology. Furthermore an old tea can also represent something deeply personal and in the instance below a beautiful reflection of a life.

I greatly enjoyed the following podcast/article and wanted to share it with my fellow tea enthusiasts. The account reminisces beautiful memories of a unique life lived by Francis Lam’s grandfather through drinking an old puerh tea that was left to him as an inheritance. Tim Hsu kindly prepares the tea and provides guidance during the course of the tea session.

Podcast (from 15.30 - 30.30min)

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Comparative Exploration of the Old & Modern Style of Puerh Gushu - Early Stage of Ageing

Gushu raw material is the most highly prized and sought after for puerh tea. The raw material is harvested from big trees that can be well over a hundred and even a thousand years old. Old gushu represents a natural origin of tea leaves that is rich in nutrients, possessing a depth of character and layered in complexity making the characteristics of old gushu very unique and compelling. The transition from the old to modern style of puerh gushu is representative of the changes within the industry shaped by time, the limitation of natural resources against growing demand, changing traits to entice growth into new markets, new technology and the pursuit for quick profits.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Complementing a Tea Session with Japanese Nerikoh Incense

Heating a Nerikoh ball (Japanese Incense) on charcoal. The strong projection of aroma is enough to scent a small room and create a nice ambience for a tea session. A nice complement to the appreciation of age tea.

Tip: Flatten the Nerikoh ball on the mica plate creates more surface area to heat contact and prevents the ball from rolling freely across. Allow a layer of ash to form on the charcoal before placing the mica plate and incense. This helps to buffer the heat and prevents burning and strong acrid smoke.

More on Handcrafted Incense – Age Nerikoh Balls

Friday, April 6, 2018

Educational Series – The 3 Eras of Liu An Tea

The 3 Eras of Liu An Tea is an experience that spans a lifetime. A period of over 60 years of Liu An tea history is captured in these ancient leaves and old baskets that hold them. The story of this renowned and at times forgotten tea is told through the magical brew that connects us to the people and the times of each era.