After setting up the Cloud's Tea Diary, Cloud often receives e-mails and private messages with questions related to Puerh tea. Those questions are good questions. Beginners may also have similar doubts when they start their Puerh tea journeys. Thus, Cloud decides to gather these Q&As to the Cloud's Tea Diary so that the later comers may make reference to my answers.
The Puerh tea lover, M, raised a question, "Is aged Puerh a must?"
Cloud replied, "In the old days, people would only accept aged Puerh tea in Hong Kong tea market. However, nowadays, aged Puerh tea and young Puerh tea have their own market with their own fans respectively. Therefore, when people are talking about Puerh tea, he/she may be talking about young Puerh tea cakes within 2 years, or over 10 years aged old Puerh tea cakes or even well aged Puerh vintages and antiques. Although all of them were from different eras, they are all Puerh tea we are referring to."
Aged Puerh - how old is it?
Aged Puerh and Young Puerh are relative concepts. Generally speaking, they are the words used by people when comparing Puerh tea from different ages. For example, whether the Early 1990's 7542 Raw Tea Cake is aged tea or young tea depends on with what tea it is comparing.
By comparing the 1970's Small Yellow Mark Seven-son Tea Cake with the Early 1990's 7542 Raw Tea Cake, the latter one is a relatively young tea cake, at least, not being at its peak of appreciation. However, if the Early 1990's 7542 Raw Tea Cake compares to Millennium Puerh Tea Cakes, the 1990's one is a relatively old enough tea for drinking.
Certainly, similar comparison can be applied to Antique Puerh Vintages and Masterpiece Puerh Vintages. However, there is a common market acknowledgement of the age range of aged tea cakes. Generally speaking, aged Puerh vintages are normally over 30 years of age (no matter what tea it is comparing to). In order to differentiate between aged Puerh vintages and young Puerh tea in Chinese, some Chinese tea lovers would name the 10 to 30 years Puerh tea cake as Old Tea.
Thus, in Chinese, we have these special terms:-
- Aged Puerh Vintage - 30 years of age or above
- Old Puerh - 10 to 30 years of age
- Young Puerh - less than 10 years of age
Certainly, to some novices, the 10 years aged old tea is already their precious tea. However, the degree of preciousness is only limited to his personal collection. That 10 years aged old tea is still a quite young tea comparing to other available old teas in the market.
Is Aged Puerh A Must?       Back to the thread, "Is Aged Puerh A Must?"
In fact, there is no absolute model answer. Cloud is of the view that when one is trying to appreciate Puerh tea, some newly made young Puerh tea is quite unique and attractive. Aged tea, sometimes, is not a must. Of couse, when young Puerh tea ages into old tea, it will offer attractive, mellow, amazing and gorgeous aged aroma and flavor, which is very fascinating. If these aged teas are affordable to you, well aged Puerh old tea can bring you quite a lot of fun and enjoyment. Cloud loves aged tea, especially those from 1970's and 1980's. The taste and flavor of these aged tea will let you have a comfortable sensation as long as they are old enough. The astringency from the young Puerh tea will fade out generally through time. The only drawback is expensive. However, on the other hand, young tea has its appreciation uniqueness such as their freshness and certainly degree of astringency, which cannot be found on aged tea.
Anyway, as long as tea lovers are choosing their own tea according to their preferences and flavors (not necessarily expensive), they are drinking their personal good tea. Therefore, aged Puerh is not a must.
29 December 2008 wrote in Chinese
26 October 2009 translated into English
Cloud (Hong Kong)
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