Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Broadening Our Experiences with the Aging Process

The magical influence of time in connection to the aging process is a topic that has long captivated me. For those who share the same interest and have the passion and drive to willingly pursue information and knowledge I would suggest considering additional avenues to broaden your experiences. The process of aging and its benefits extend far beyond the subject of tea. It covers various items of food and drink that have become a part of human consumption for many centuries from cheese, to pickled vegetables, cured meats, vinegar, soy sauce and a great assortment of alcoholic beverages. The aging process forms an integral part of our relationship with food, satisfying a need within our bodies beyond fresh produce.

i) Cheddar from Hookscheese, aged for 20 years, ii) Jamón Ibérico Bellota Gran Reserva, aged for 64 months, iii) Famous Yuan soy sauce from Hong Kong, aged for 1 year. iv) Traditionally made kimchi ripened in clay jars buried in the earth

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

1980s Bamboo Wrapped Melon - NA

This well aged puerh melon is estimated to be from the 1980s. The tea comes in a simple bamboo tube consisting of 5 pieces, bare and unadorned by labels. For an unlabeled puerh tea there is no hype, no marketing and no brand premium. As a result such a tea can be good value, adding a little excitement and mystery to our tea sessions. However at the same time unlabeled puerh can be a risky proposition for buyers as the quality of the tea greatly varies and is an easy way to pass off fake tea by dishonest merchants. With no written information to clearly reveal the production and origins of the tea an unlabeled tea is judged solely on the quality of the tea leaves and our experience from drinking them.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

1997 Loose Leaf (Dry Storage)

This 1997 loose leaf is an intriguing puerh tea. What caught my attention was that this tea represents one of the few very clean dry stored puerh teas of the 1990s going against the trend of traditional (wet) storage which was the general norm at the time. The character of this tea reminds me of the famous Menghai 88 Qingbing dry stored teacake. It is my belief that the combination of dry storage and leaf material made to the standard of Menghai Tea Factory are key contributing factors to this resemblance.

 Earthenware containers are slightly porous and make great containers for storing and aging puerh tea.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

1990s Menghai Green Label

For a long time I drank tea rather indiscriminately without understanding how to optimize the benefits of this wonderful drink to match the lifestyle and constitution of my body. After encountering my own health challenges and improving my lifestyle I became very interested in health and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), often testing ideas by conducting self experimentations. I have become more in tune with my body since. I have learned to listen to my body through simple observations based on my body’s reactions throughout the day and especially during times when I am consuming food. As a tea enthusiast I enjoy drinking tea on a daily basis and I am always keen to observe how my body reacts to a certain tea under different conditions and environments. These observations have led me to conclude that I have a Yin constitution. Generally this means that I have a cold body type and I need to limit my consumptions of cold foods and eat more warm foods.

 The 1990s Menghai Green Label being both fermented (under mild wet storage conditions) and aged possess a warming nature.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

1990s Menghai Orange Label (HK Private Commission)


Hong Kong is known as one of the four Asian Tigers (the others being Taiwan, Singapore and South Korea). The rapid growth and wealth of this port city made Hong Kong one of the wealthiest Asian cities in the nineties and remains so to this day. This private tea production made for the Hong Kong market highlights the important role Hong Kong played as a consumer and trader of puerh tea. To satisfy the local taste and preference this batch of raw teacake was aged under HK traditional (wet) storage.