Provocative thoughts on Puerh

Puerh and other heicha
swordofmytriumph
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Sat Oct 12, 2019 3:14 am

Noonie wrote:
Mon Sep 02, 2019 8:12 pm
Fortunately my palette is satisfied by teas I can afford, and when I’ve paid more for supposedly higher quality teas they didn’t make me dislike my daily teas.

In the end, I continue to be impressed by the complexity of tea
This is my position as well.

Regarding young vs aged sheng (I can’t stand shou), I have never had the pleasure of trying a good aged sheng. I don’t even know what it’s supposed to taste like. I have, however, been blessed to have young sheng that I really enjoyed. Whether that young sheng was what experts would consider “the good stuff” I don’t know, since I don’t have the wallet size :mrgreen: for a comparison.

@mbanu’s observation that people in the west tend toward the collector and gadgetry end is fairly accurate, but I would disagree as to why that is. Aged puerh is expensive. Young is not. Not many people have the funds to just buy aged puerh. And if you really love puerh, it’s worth it to age it yourself as it is more cost effective, plus you get to control the conditions yourself. It is an investment, not in money, but an investment towards your love of tea. Thus, the gadgets are necessary to get the results that you want (and in my case, a necessary evil lol).

Because of the fact that I mostly don’t have the patience to wait, or the funds to buy already aged stuff, I was about ready to give up on puerh as I found it too bitter, it hadn’t yet developed enough of the the huigan it should have to make it enjoyable, echoes were there, but they were overshadowed by the bitter. Plus I’m sensitive to bitter so that didn’t help any. Anyway, then I ended up getting one of the Mumyoi teapots from Hojo that has a fabulous effect of increasing the sweetness of a tea. Now my young sheng has a lovely balance and I can drink it young! Happy day!
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phyllsheng
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Sun Oct 13, 2019 5:11 am

Hi @Bok,
Maybe we can rephrase: in order to make premium quality Oolong, a la Yancha you need the same expertise in farming and taking care of the tea trees/bushes, the same skill in harvesting and processing of the leaves to a certain level. But then, the Oolong maker needs additional skills on top of that, like further processing and roasting. So in the sum, we could reasonably say he needs more skills to deliver the same result: a premium tea.

Both could not do the others tea, so each is the master of their own category. Equally skillful tea makers, just one needs to know more to achieve the same result.
So, if we go by your analogy -- that more steps means more skills required -- a sushi master-chef like Jiro Ono requires less skill and knowledge to create his crafts than, say, Chef Grant Achatz in gastronomy craftsmanship? Irregardless of the different teas (or cuisines), we are discussing about human endeavors with what nature/earth provides, and said endeavors is a cumulative result of centuries of R&D.

I agree that roasting is an art form, and it's not done in pu'er making. On the other hand, blending is also an art form, and it's not commonly done in high-end oolongs. I have a strong feeling that the intangibles of a step cannot be summed up. And in reality, the steps that require much skills are done by a specialist of each step under the tea master's vision and instructions (i.e. masters of roasting, blending, of rolling, etc.).

I'm neither a tea maker nor a chef. But you seem to be familiar with TMA. Does it take less skill to deliver a 1" punch properly than, say, a jab properly? When all is said and done, I think it's reasonable to say that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts when it concerns arts and craftsmanship, whatever it may be.
Indeed, just talk to Tillermans Laoshi and you get two ears full of complaints about how no one is doing it properly anymore! In the end, sadly, it is the demand of the market, people produce what people want to drink and are willing to pay for. Add rising labour costs and you got trouble for old-fashioned quality tea.
Yeah. I brought up the hongshui oolong issue on purpose: because a similar thing is happening with pu'er tea making, too. But that's another long story.
Side-lining this thread - You are not happening to be practising Hung Sing Choy Lay Fut?
Are you, @Bok? I very much admire the history and life of GM Chen Xiang, who founded the Hung Sing CLF lineage in Guangdong Province. The art I practice originated in Quanzhou, Fujian, however :)
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Bok
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Sun Oct 13, 2019 8:00 am

phyllsheng wrote:
Sun Oct 13, 2019 5:11 am
When all is said and done, I think it's reasonable to say that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts when it concerns arts and craftsmanship, whatever it may be.
I think that would be a good conclusion!
phyllsheng wrote:
Sun Oct 13, 2019 5:11 am
Are you, Bok? I very much admire the history and life of GM Chen Xiang, who founded the Hung Sing CLF lineage in Guangdong Province. The art I practice originated in Quanzhou, Fujian, however :)
I used to, once upon a time... :mrgreen: It just came to mind as there are not many that do have as many as CLF, to its detriment I might add, but that is a topic belonging to a different forum. Let's just say I do not walk the line any longer.
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