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Saturday, February 19, 2011

The fallacy of Aged puerh

I am writing this post somewhat disheartened, as I had always found the aged puerh samples from hou De to be wonderfully worth it. At least worth it in the sense that they allow for roughly 2-3 good sessions of aged puerh without going through the expense and risk of buying an entire cake. While I wish them luck with their new family member who looks wonderful. The sample I had today left me amazingly dissapointed in a way aged puerh has never done so before.

Aged puerh has let me down in the past by being overly wet stored, i.e. being incredibly musty and moldy tasting many many infusions into the session, almost so much that it is unpalatable. Most of these being aged puerh offerings I got in my early years of drinking Aged Puerh, where I thought mold and must were the key points of aged puerh. I have since moved on to a bit of a middle ground, where I look for more than a damp musty basement.

It has been said and while I do not proclaim to be any puerh or puerh storage expert, but the aged puerh Hou De usually offers is usually on the drier side in terms of storage. So keeping that in mind for my personal tastes I should look for closer to 20 years or older, rather than 10 years or so. But what I had today begs the question, could puerh go into dormant times, even beyond the 7-10 year old mark, or perhaps is due to the dryer storage could this one still be in a "sick" period. The reason I brought this up is I drank a sample I bought many months ago from a 1998 Sheng cake supposedly fashioned after 8582 (one of my favorite recipes) and I found it incredibly flat after the first few infusions. It did not have the staying power puerh is known for, and while the taste has definitely matured, it seemed so incredibly tame for its age compared to young items, and lacking complexity that it should have acquired through age.

Now I do not know who to blame for that, and while I thought I might have gone slightly light on the leaf the wet leaf basically filled the entire gaiwan which is what I usually aim for with my aged puerh. This though might explain why on a gram by gram base this puerh came with double the number of grams compared to similarly priced offerings form other years.

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