Puerh – A Sheng Takes the Palates
Snow has that wonderful natural ability to paint big swaths white, and slow everything down to a trickle. “Cooperate or perish” say many Himalayan inhabitants of the natural elements and their forces. Snow and Puerh seem an ideal way to begin!
The little tea that did from one of our favourite mountains, Bulang Mountain Sheng Puerh.
And so, things slowed in Toronto for this most edition of the Toronto Tea Festival, amidst snow that came in delicious diagonal chunks from above.
No better way to offer up sustenance at a tea fest than to do it with leaves that carry clean, powerful vegetal stimulants into the blood system. Tea was roaring into the cups and bloodstreams throughout the two day festival…exactly the way it should be. For us of course we had our line up of Puerh on offer.
The Jalamteas’ team. From left: Aurelien, Allen, and myself before the doors open….Photo courtesy of Debra Tan.
During the Puerh tea tasting competition our very own Jalamteas’ Bulang Mountain Autumnal harvest ‘raw’ (Sheng) gently took first place while another Bulang Mountain offering from us, a Lao Ma E Shou took third place.
Raw Puerhs have been our mainstay and our ‘push’ for all of the years we’ve been sourcing and it is pleasing that this tea, which for years was considered a rough hewn caravan tea full of chicken feathers and dust, has come to be regarded and appreciated for some of its power and vegetal bite.
Celebrating nothing in particular with leaves and friends. It needs little else. The leaves on offer included an old bush white, some cracking Oolongs, and a ripping Naka Puerh.
Another aspect that pleases as well is that it isn’t just the hype and deliberate mystification of the so called ‘aged’ Puerhs that is getting attention. The Bulang winner wasn’t even a Spring harvest but rather a late autumn. It was an entry level Puerh from younger bushes, made by hands with exceptional care and carrying with them very specific flavours of the soil that won. It was, like many teas, one that has been curated to remain simple and reflect that hands and terroir. No flashy names, wraps, titles, ages, purported qualities….nada!! Taste will always be subjective but when a tea is sampled shorn of its titles and wrappers and name, it does come down to something quite visceral and simple.