The past couple of days are a case in point. My last blog post featured a couple of teas that some might not consider all that young, 2004 and 2005. But these teas were stored dry, and still are very green to me. The leaves taste good in these teas. I hate to waste tea so I've been trying to steep them out. The Menghai is getting close to done. But the Jianshen is like a young boy toy who won't go home and doesn't seem to sleep.
|2005 Menghai and 2004 Jianshen, aren't they done yet??|
My mother was one of those people. She had a mission in life to eliminate all possible mustiness and mold because of a constant allergy problem. Seeing her all stuffed up and puffy in the a.m. was typical. To add to the challenge, she insisted on living in a lakeside home, where a bit too much rain led to water in the basement and frantic efforts with dehumidifiers and bleach to dry everything out. When she changed her clothes closet between seasons, anything she planned to store got packed into vacuum-sealed bags to avoid the tiniest spore. Even the pillows on the beds were covered with plastic cases, which seemed to me more likely to cause mustiness than simply washing them often, or replacing them as needed. Eventually she gave up on the battle with mustiness and moved to Arizona, where she started a battle with dust and sand instead. Mom would have hated the musty tea I drink, and anyway not worth trying to move her away from the sugary, powdered Lipton lemon iced tea she drank for decades. But humidity ages a teacake far more quickly and is a godsend to someone of my age and health issues, making a puerh tea much easier to take.
An inspection of my stoneware crocks turns up this 1990s Menghai Red Star sample I picked up from Tea Classico last month.
|1990s Menghai Red Star, by Tea Classico|
You can see in the presentation dish that the 20 gram sample I have includes some loose tea underneath with a few smaller compressed pieces. I put away the big chunk for now, and focus on the loose stuff weighing 6 grams in total. I have a tiny Yixing pot, but I'll go with the gaiwan instead so you can see the brew. Look at that dark brown color! Just the ticket for too many young sheng sessions. One rinse, because the loose tea doesn't need much more help to fall apart.
|Go to bed with a boy, wake up with an old man.|
I don't have any actual tea advice to offer aged people, but a few things work for me.
1. Buy the best aged tea I can afford.
2. Develop a palate for at least some humidity in the tea cake, it widens out the choices of buying tea considerably than restricting myself to just dry storage choices.
3. Grandpa-brew a little bit of leaf in a Yixing mug with lots of water if I need a bit more hydration. Medications are drying on the body and rough on the kidneys.
4. Focus on teas I can drink right now. When someone recommends the latest plantation cake, I try not to feel tempted. I don't have the time. Unless I plan to give a gift to a relative, those cakes are for the young people.
Requiescat in pace.