It is always bewildering for beginners that the prices of Pu Erh tea on the market vary a lot ! After making tons of mistake, I finally rely only on reputable tea merchants I am familiar with.
Since we have this up rising of the “ Strong Country “ , natural and authentic aged Pu Erh tea became an unreachable extravaganza. The HKD 10 per guest tea that you can drink in the Dim Sum restaurant consists either artificial colouring or the unpleasant smell of ammonia from the additives of malolactic fermentation.
This is very unfair to the tea because athentic and natural premium Pu Erh tea can be as palatable as Romanee Conti. Nowadays , a Blue Printed Label of 60 years old from a reliable tea merchant may costs HKD 600K.
I recall my childhood days when detergent is not popular, the most wonderful natural grease washer is raw Pu Erh tea.
In a wedding banquet, after serving the steamed prawns, deluxe restaurant always serve a finger bowl of Pu Erh tea to wash away the fishy smells. Now the cost of the fine Pu Erh loose tea of the standard that we used to swipe the floor is some what like HKD5000 per pound.
With my idiot’s luck, I happened to have collected a log of very lovely raw Pu Erh loose tea from Jiang Chen 15 years ago.
It is from old tree with broad leaves. Now it becomes a lovely young lady with curvaceous body. Tannin is still rich but fine and smooth. I estimate that it can be aged for another 30 years. First infusion is a bit opaque but smells leather like young red Chateauneuf Du Pape . Second infusion is with aromas of vanilla. It develops to dates in the third infusion then young camphor wood comes out in 6th infusion until the 20th.
This tea is pricey, but for a beginner to fine and rare Pu Erh, this is an affordable luxury. In term of a collectible, it is value for money.