1998 Hong Kong Shou Puerh

Shou Brick.jpg
Shou Brick.jpg

1998 Hong Kong Shou Puerh

from 20.00

A classic and wonderful aged shou (ripe, fermented) puerh. Earthy, full, and centering.

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The leaves in this puerh brick were grown in Yunnan in 1998, submitted to an initial Chinese-style wo dui (wet piling) fermentation on site for about two months, and then aged in Hong Kong for a couple decades. The latter is an important detail because Hong Kong-style aging is considered the best, an art in and of itself that requires great skill, knowledge, and patience. Each individual tea undergoes its own particular aging process depending on the nature of the leaves, their origin, their style of initial processing and/or compression, and the desired flavor and aroma. Given this, not surprisingly, the specific methods used (humidity and temperature levels, and even the type of stone that forms the cellar walls) are carefully guarded trade secrets. This is also, unfortunately, an endangered practice since the market now tends to prefer the taste of the mass produced puerh you might find in a Chinese restaurant (which is also great, but perhaps in a different way). While contemporary puerh aging tries to emphasize smooth textures and umami flavors, Hong Kong aging typically aims for more structure, a more “fermented” taste, and a grainy, coarse texture (the result of the transformation of tannins over time in a high humidity environment). The character of this particular tea is defined by both this structure and a mellow, soft sweetness. It smells (and tastes) like a hike in the forest after a light rain: wood, moist ground, undergrowth, and fresh mushrooms are backed up by that nice minerality that many aged teas have. There’s also a hint of caramel and nuttiness in the middle.

Instructions: 3-4 g tea, 6-8 oz. of 208° water. Steep once for 5-10 seconds then dump 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.