I bet you weren’t expecting that as a tagline were you!! Don’t worry we’re not actually talking about actual chicken soup! He he he!
So speaking to one of my wholesalers in Guangdong recently. Our conversations can sometimes run very long. Alongside discussing the available teas of the moment there are many chances for offshoots of discussion on tea in general. It’s always a good idea to have a chat with these guys because you never know what interesting morsels of information you can pick up. We were talking about Pu Erh tea storage and the different storage conditions, Guangdong versus Kunming. The cultural preferences of these two locations regards to tea storage is quite interesting.
So in Kunming they highly prize the fact that they can age their tea gracefully and that it will keep hold of at least some of its personality moving through the years. Of course the tea with the change in this time floral notes would dissipate and sweetness would most likely replace the bitterness albeit very slowly but the aged tea will at least have some unique characteristics that would set it apart from the others. Of course when talking about a Pu Erh That could be 3,4 or maybe five decades old this probably wouldn’t be viable to say.
In Guangdong and Hong Kong Many people regard a Raw Pu Erh tea to be drinkable unless It has had most of its bitterness kicked out of it. As mentioned in a previous blog I have had the benefit of tasting Hong Kong stored raw Pu Erh from the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. The 70s roar was incredible it could probably surpass 50 infusions very easily! Generally a tea that is stored in these regions (naturally & dry stored to a degree) will age very rapidly leading to a very diminished character of tea but massive gains in sweetness and aged taste!
Picture below: A no name 2005 Hong Kong stored raw that I’m drinking while writing today’s blog.
Anyway as I was saying to my wholesaler, “I do find Myself more biased to Kunming ageing, I do find it quite sad that the characteristics of a pu erh tea will completely disappear and there isn’t much to tell one over the other with these aged teas here”. He replied “no no no no, chicken soup! “. Me = 🥺.
So he went to explain that if you were to boil up chicken soup for only half an hour it would smell beautiful but the taste will be lacking. If you were to further boil that chicken soup for maybe 12 hours to 24 hours the soup may not smell amazing but it will taste amazing. All of the wonderful chicken soup aroma has been trapped in the broth and that’s exactly what these guys are looking for in an aged pu erh tea!
So I hope you found that interesting, it’s always great to find out about subcultural intricacies with tea. Thanks kindly for making it to the end of my humble blog I appreciate your time. Happy Cupping!