1990s Chiang Rai Sheng Puerh

Puerh 0.jpg
Puerh 5.jpg
Puerh 12.jpg
Puerh 0.jpg
Puerh 5.jpg
Puerh 12.jpg

1990s Chiang Rai Sheng Puerh

from 17.00

An exceptional, 20+ year aged sheng puerh with a unique history, a complex flavor, and as thick a mouth feel as you will find in any tea.

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Puerh is one the most ancient surviving tea traditions and it emerged in the birthplace of tea culture. In the area around the Mekong/Lincang River, at the conjunction of what are now China’s Yunnan Province, Myanmar, Laos, and Thailand, indigenous groups like the Akha, Bulang, Dai, Jinuo, Lahu, and Yao have been making and consuming tea for four thousand years. While most people associate puerh with a now nationalized Chinese tea culture, other puerh and fermented tea traditions have, not surprisingly, existed in this geographic milieu for centuries as well, transcending the boundaries of the more recently invented nation-state. This particular tea, grown and processed in the 1990s in Chiang Rai Province in the far northernmost part of Thailand and aged there since, is a great example of the interesting, strange, and singular teas that thousands of years of fluid and hybrid indigenous cultural traditions have created. In fact, the tea maker’s own story reflects a more modern version of this reality. Born in Yunnan before deserting the Chinese army in the 1950s for the mountains of Laos, he eventually settled in Chiang Rai where he learned to produce puerh in the ancient, local style using leaves from old, wild trees surrounding the high mountain village of Lahu. He continues to do so today well into his 80s. The result is a radically atypical and fascinating fermented tea that is particularly rich and super thick, with a strong presence of warm, waxy wood, fresh cherry, porcini mushrooms and incense, but that also somehow preserves a hint of young, green, bitter freshness despite 20+ years of aging. Notice also what Chinese tea drinkers call hui gan (literally “sweet return”): this is the amazing experience where a flavor and mouthfeel momentarily disappear but then return as a kind of echo, accompanied by new sensations (here, for example, I taste sweet almond and candied cherry on the hui gan). It is hard to overstate what a unique experience this sheng (raw, unripened, but aged) puerh is. And since it’s a puerh you can enjoy it all day long, noticing how it evolves across many steepings.

Instructions: 4 g tea, 6-8 oz. of 208° water. Steep once for 5-10 seconds then discard this liquid. Steep again for 15-20 seconds and enjoy. Repeat up to 10-12 times, adding 5-10 seconds each time.

See our Temperature Guide for help.