Balthazar wrote: ↑
Fri Aug 14, 2020 2:03 pm
I agree, and I had the suspicion that you and StoneLadle might actually not disagree either, which is why I wrote that his statement would not be controversial "if we agree that (HK) "natural storage" is the same as "wet storage"/"traditional storage"
When he talked about "naturally aged raw PE" from Hong Kong I took it to mean basically sheng puer stored in HK under the normal conditions of that time, which would be traditional/wet/basement storage, rather than what we today call "natural storage" (which is a term I kinda loathe as it implicitly invokes the naturalistic fallacy - but that's another topic).
I may have read him wrong, though, perhaps he really meant that ripe puer was invented to mimic dry Hong Kong storage, in which case I too disagree... What do you say, StoneLadle?
Please allow me to unpack this a little:
HKG traditional storage is my benchmark because that was where it all started for me, my family always had tea around for things like dinners, mahjong games and gatherings. Basement storage is just part of it and is common as described by MarshalN, then the tea gets moved to a buyer like a restaurant or tea house or another merchant or gets shipped abroad. The trick here is the quality of the storage. Water spraying is a no-no...
In the 90s, lots of tea was brought out here to Malaysia in places like Penang, Ipoh and Kuala Lumpur for storage and aging as the weather is warm and humid year round, compared to HKG which has two distinct seasons with marginal springs and autumns (falls). The cliche was that a year in the SE Asia is equivalent to 4 in China and 2 in HKG. Conditions here are much the same. A space or room with minimal exposure to the outside, but kept well ventilated and tea kept off of the ground or on shelves or urns or whatever... And the combination works well.
Dry storage to takes too long and doesn't result in my pre-requisites: body, texture, dustiness, smoothness, endurance and above all, Root Beer-ness... I learned this term from @EarthMonkey
who does not seem to be no longer active... but dry storage can work wonders on old Xiaguan sheng tuochas (found a bunch of these little bad boys in my dead old dad's office from the early 90s and after being kept in aircon in an office for 20 years + the smokiness is totally integrated and the broth just started to brown up this year)...
So for me, as I was told, Shu was made to imitate HKG aged Pu Erh, read into that what you will, in that the tea is fermented quicker to make it drinkable, but the technique kind of got adapted from Liu Bao production, and that's why the 7581 bricks pre-2000 are so so highly sought after... light fermentation with some sheng leaves thrown in, and these dudes form my benchmark for what is a good Shu and there are good Shu's out there. The question of wet/dry stored raw doesn't come into the equation for me, as i'm looking for well stored product to pass the taste, hence, acquisition test...
In the end, the tea if shu, if stored properly, should be smooth, velvety and be like dark liquid comfort... pretty much solid and consistent to the end... if sheng, stored and aged properly... it's just magic, giving one a journey thru time. Each has their place.