; Cwyn's Death By Tea: Little Green Apples ;

Friday, December 19, 2014

Little Green Apples

Been on a bit of a puerh hiatus lately. The truth of aged sheng is the caffeine is aged out, and I need the boost so I've been drinking a good deal of black tea instead. And I've had my reasons.

My roommate is a psychopathic maniac with an alcohol problem. He's out of meds and won't go get any more. I just can't manage to chop up a tuo with any appreciation when he's drunk and calling the cops who don't quite believe me when I say I only have a tea problem myself. I wish I were the crazy one making jokes, because the truth just seems made up. But I really do share a household with a person with a severe mental illness and it's been a bad year for him and consequently it just cuts into my tea hobby, especially when I'm chopping up the front door frame with a chisel to install a yet another deadbolt instead of sniffing my tea collection which I'd rather be doing. Right now I'm trying to type whilst said roommate is obsessively vacuuming, something of a conciliation on his part because I caught him drinking mouthwash this morning. At least the vacuum drowns out his singing.

To the rescue, my tea friends have been so very generous and I don't know what I'd do without you all. Managed to sneak out of the house today to the post office to pick up a very generous, unsolicited sample package from Neil over at Teaclassico.com. Cracked it open to try the 1998 CNNP Apple Green tuo cha, I recall reading Hobbes' review on this tea back in August and I think Teadb covered it as well.
I'd get stopped at airport security traveling with this baggie.
Aged tea is difficult to come by, and this tuo confirms further my belief that if we older people want to buy some tea with a bit of age on it already, we need to look out for examples like this. The tuo has had a year or two of Hong Kong aging, so it has that touch of humid storage which works out the smoke and bit of char I see in the strainer. The bitterness too is basically gone, making this a reasonably priced example of tea with a little age that is drinkable now. I get a bit of tingle in the mouth from this, and a bit of dry mouth which as I've said before can be triggered by medications I take.
These tight tuo leaves open up quite a bit over multiple steeps.
My sample seems to be completely aged out. In the 10 or so steeps I got out of this, all were fairly brown and smooth. Gives out the darker brews early in the first 4 steeps. The leaves are larger and have a leathery dried look, I'm not seeing any green here. No work needed on my part to age this further, the humid storage lingered in the steeps but I didn't air the sample. All the tea needs now is just airing and no special storage.
Second steep. I find brushing my tea pets a calming ritual.
Is it mind-blowing, life-changing sheng? No, but a nice daily drinker for those with a taste for aged tea.

Now, this tea sells for $93 at Teaclassico.com for a 250g tuo. USA-based Tea shoppers might want to take a look at what is likely the same tuo at Generationtea.com. I've heard that these two online sellers buy from the same distributer in Taiwan. Generation Tea also calls this tuo "Apple Green" and overall tends to charge a bit more for puerh, in this case $100 for what they are saying is a 230g tuo. At Generation Tea, differences of $7 in price and maybe 20g of tea (shaved off for samples, maybe?) might be offset when comparing the shipping cost from Teaclassico. Currency exchange rates might be a factor for other buyers as well.

The question comes down to this, do I have the time to age newer tuos and hope to live long enough to drink them at this level of age? Can I be bothered to deal with years and years of storage? For some, the answer might be "yes," and young people can likely pick up the latest $20 Dayi tuo for much less cash and hope to drink the results in years to come. If you are older though, and money is less of an issue, it might be worth paying an extra $70-ish for aged tea you can drink right now. The Apple Green tuo is worth considering if you are in the aged category as I am. Either way, if you can get ahold of a tuo with a year or two of Hong Kong aging under its belt, I think this is one of the best ways to guarantee a good tea down the road. Your years of dry storage following a humid start to a tea is likely to be a good bet if you live in the west. When I brew this again, I think I'll use an Yixing to add a bit of that mineral taste and tone down the storage flavor.

If you decide to pick this up, plan on airing the tea and drinking it fairly soon. It's ready now.

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