Happy Poo Year

Well here it is 2009. Cool, it is a year filled with uncertainty for the nation and the world. As always I reflect back on history for  perspective that gives some comforting frame of reference and I found it.

Historically many cultures place great emphasis on New Years Day food I have done so in the past making all kinds of gourmet and/or traditional regional concoctions that take hours and keep  life interesting. This year I have taken a very different approach to enjoying the new year, the meal is simple chicken noodle soup and salad with homemade thousand island dressing BUT the drink is exotic and incredibly good for for the palate and for the system. It is green tea.

Specifically it is Puerh green tree. (Poo/ er) It is pronounced differently in the US mainly because it is largely undiscovered by the general population. It is not found in the usual stores but only at a speciality shop. I advise ordering it on line actually unless one lives on the west coast. Websites to follow.

I discovered Puerh through a business contact in Eastern Europe. I was told it tastes like dirt (translation leans more towards “earthy”). So I was intrigued enough to ask around. People looked at me as if I was actually speaking in tongues but I finally had a return call from a wholesaler that recommend a site in Portland that he had bought from as having a solid selection of Puerh teas. SO I sat about educating myself on what was what.

Seems tea has been around for hundreds of years having been a valuable trading commodity on the silk road of Marco Polo’s time and before. There are many varieties, red, green, white, black, oolong, darjeeling. There are many processes to make and distribute tea and it is quite fascinating to learn about, website to follow.

Puerh tea is a green tea that is made form old growth trees in southern China where the climate and old growth forest blend to supply a very unique flavor. It is harvested by families in small villages that have their own unique ways of “manufacturing.” All processes are centuries old and some are closely kept. It was not available in the US until the 90’s, but throughout the rest of the world it is highly prized. One of the reasons is that it can be aged, and it improves greatly with proper aging. Like fine wine it can be aged for decades and is collected and stored just like wine. The young puerh can be a bit harsh but the aged is Divine.

I had to discover for myself if the taste  justifies the price. I first bought 5 year old then 10 year old and each time I read carefully and made an informed selection I was not disappointed. The better Puerh comes in cakes (Bing Cha) about the size of a small plate and tapering from 1 1/2 inches in the center to 1/2 inch at the rim. They retail from $50 to $1,000 a cake depending on the age. Some are much more expensive.

Finally I dug deep and ordered a few ounces of 1970 harvested Puerh for $120. Today is the first taste day, Jan1 2009. OMG it is worth every penny to the palate. What a way to start the Poo Year!

I have ordered many times from these sites and can state I have seldom been disappointed. Happy tasting!






8 Responses

  1. $120 for a few ounces!? I thought I was being “extravagent” to spend $6 a pound on coffee.

    So is this tea like some wine…the older it is, the better?

  2. Yes it is better.. if it is good to begin with, and aged properly. The obvious problem is that this process only occurs in Asia and one has to rely on truth in advertising.

    The leaves can be reused through several infussions and I use an automatic tea brewer. I might get 40 cups of very good tea out of this selection. So if you do the math thats $3 cup. Still very expensive for tea, but its not about the money it’s about the experience/taste/pleasure. The normal Bing Cha I buy is about $100 and I will get several hundred cups from it so it costs less than the American and British labels on the shelf. And the taste and enjoyment is far superior (assuming one likes this particular taste)

  3. It’s nice to hear that it gives your palate great pleasure. I am also happy to hear about tea other thatn the two for $5 gallons of Arizona iced tea I usually drink. The way you describe it, for that kind of money I would have probably tried to smoke it rather than drink it.. Can you get pureh at a local coffeee shop already brewed?

  4. You know it is very similar to the look and feel of grass and can be stored in a plastic baggy so as to much resemble it. The smell of raw Puerh can be “plant like” too, but it does not get you stoned through brewing, I haven’t tried smoking it.

    Recently I went to San Francisco and me and a bud headed to China Town for some Puerh. Imagine here I am in SF sitting in a dang tea shop and lovin it. The guy who brewed samples for us was like The Engineer in Miss Saigon (like a Carney guy.) quite a dealer of many commodities but we were only interested in Puerh which most Caucasians don’t yet make a fuss about so he took special interest in our education. It was more fun than Hard Rock Cafe which we went to next.

    Nick I don’t think there a Teavana in Tallahassee so its doubtful that you can find it, my search proved fruitless. You will have to order some on line I fear. I could not find it except in a shop that only does tea.

    However in the spirit of friendship I will be happy to send you some so that you can become familiar with it. (I have a rather large supply at the moment)

    I am thinking Gu Hua Zhuan Cha (tea brick) harvested in autum of 2003. Perhaps you can share it with Anarchist and Fakename. I will tell you more about brewing it when you have it.

    “So let me do you this service and one day (and that day may never come) I will ask for a favor in return…….”

  5. What a neat post. Thank you for alerting me that you were once again posting on wordpress. I’ll stay tuned.

  6. Oh, and what fun…a tea party! I guess I will get to be Alice, and ee and Anarchist will have to fight over who gets to be the White Rabbit and who gets to be the Mad Hatter.

  7. lol well that analogy seems appropriate, ee seems to have fallen into the rabbit hole, or else he really doesn’t want tea. Some one will have to provide a shipping address to have this treat. I have a sealed “brick” just waiting for you guys.

    The history and production of puerh is quite ineresting and a recent discovery for me. It has become like exercise to me if I am without it I am distracted and miss it much.

  8. nick hardy
    425 gaither dr.
    tallahassee, fl 32305

    fakename, i think that i am more suited to being the mad hatter.

    one of my bad habbits is following threads but word presse’s new feature allowing emails for comment is great.

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