Puerh drinkers experience more tea panic, or less depending upon one's perspective. Those with more panic have Yunnan Sourcing Facebook feeds on their cell phone, just in case new cakes come in, or when the 12 hour flash sale is announced. The ability to hit the Buy button immediately is the best way to keep the anxiety at bay. On the other hand, puerh drinkers might experience less tea panic because they are faced with the sold-out situation far more often, what psychologists consider an "exposure cure" for a person dealing with a phobia. A really good tea cake is incredibly limited to begin with, so "you snooze you lose" is a more common scenario than not for cake-ers, or tong-ers, depending upon your buying strategy. For the budget-minded, we employ strategies like filling up the shopping cart and then not quite checking out immediately as a way to deal with the problem, to put the anxiety at bay long enough to either steal from the kids' college fund or return to a rational perspective and log out.
This week I had planned to write up the purple Dehong leaf, a tea leaf much written about over the years. By coincidence, Yunnan Sourcing just announced their new monthly tea subscriptions. I'm guessing nearly everybody reading this already knows about the subscriptions. A tea addict who doesn't is really living under a rock. More likely all my friends here probably are the RSS feed type, this sort of announcement appearing on a cell phone could cause a person to miss a bus stop or fry a client's hair with perming solution. Adding to the allure are the various subscription types: one can get just puerh, or only black teas, or green and white teas. If you're a real drunk, then you're in for the Premium to get it all. It's amazing how our tea pimps devise more ways to make it easy to keep us staggering and babbling incoherently, while spending the wife's shoe money. In the case of Yunnan Sourcing, the tea subscription is an idea that is surprisingly overdue given how long YS has been around. But not surprising that the announcement follows White2Tea's lead last month in forming a new tea club. I expect a few other companies may not be far behind, because nobody wants to lose their tea addicts. We have a real dilemma on our hands if budget is a consideration.
However, it is Yunnan Sourcing's tea subscription causing my current tea anxiety. One of my favorite black teas at the moment is the Wild Dehong Purple Black tea because it is in TWO of subscription packages for this month. Even before this week's announcement, the US site only had 18 packages left of the Wild Dehong Black. I'm afraid to look at the China site. But I'm also sitting here looking at my baggie which is starting to run low.
The Wild Purple Dehong Black has two different labels which is a little confusing when I'm already anxious. One is the "Light Roast," which oddly looks darker in the photo than the regular Wild Purple. Naturally I bought both last spring, but even stocking up ahead of time isn't enough. For me, this black tea is the best black tea I have ever tasted, and given my short time left on earth to drink tea, it might well be the best I will EVER taste. I've written maybe just one tea review on a vendor's site, and it was for this tea that I did so, because I wept the first time I drank it.
|Wild Purple Dehong Black (regular roast)|
|First steep a little light, needed a good minute to brew|
The "Light Roast" looks no different from the regular roast when comparing the dry leaf. Both teas are first oxidized and then fermented for a month or so.
|Light Roast, same leaf|
|Light Roast, steaming hot|
I get a good 4 steeps from the leaf before really increasing the steep time. Finally I let the leaf sit in water overnight and drank the cold brews in the a.m. I noticed the Light Roast had a tangy bitterness that the regular roast completely lacked, staying sweet despite having soaked all night.
These lovely teas and much history of online discussion persuaded me to purchase a few Dehong puerh bricks, despite my better judgement. By that I mean I don't usually want to buy teas that need a lot of aging before they are drinkable. However, the recent droughts in Yunnan have reportedly produced concentrated tea leaves, so even if the teas are strong they make a good buy for aging, and for leaving in my collection for my son to try in the future. I purchased a tong of five 2013 100g bricks for about $30, these are the small bricks. This has since sold out from the US site. You can find a 2008 Wild Purple 500g brick at the US site, or a 2011 500g brick on the China site. The tea is also available in 2014 beeng form, and other aged versions as well.
|Tongs are the most reassuring form of tea|
|Green glass known as Jade-ite|
|Packin' a punch|
|Dehong brick puerh, easy to see similarities with the black tea versions|
|First steep 2013 Dehong puerh brick|
|At least the bricks fit.|
|Curved clay shard takes up remaining space|
Requiescat in Pace.