Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Aging Gracefully - Verdant Tea 1999 Longyuanhao Shu Puerh

I have become a puerh tea addict. Who knew this day would come? Lucky for me, there are a million perks to drinking puerh. See my earlier post on Sweet Green Puerh from Ito En for a quick refresher. For my birthday, my best friend surprised me with Verdant Tea's Longyuanhao Shu Puerh (1999). This tea is 16 years old!! And it has aged incredibly well! 

The tea was collected in the mountains of Xishuangbanna, a famous locale for ancient and wild tea trees. The brick is sold in pieces (can you imagine how much a whole brick would cost??). There are still large, compressed pieces. I give my tea a quick 3 second rinse with hot water to remove any dust and particulates. It doesn't have any immediate aroma in its dry form.

Once steeped, the tea is decidedly earthly in aroma and taste. The color is very beautiful, a spectrum of amber, depending on how much and how long the tea was steeped for. This particular tea brick is composed of large leaves and stems,  imparting a deep, woody flavor. There is a very complex aftertaste, smooth but deep. It has no tannic mouthfeel, regardless of amount of tea steeped. I'm really happy with this tea. Even after multiple infusions, I find the tea still robust and flavorful. 

My sister said that puerh takes some getting used to. So, for the first time puerh tea drinkers, I would recommend something with a less woody aroma and taste. I do think you should give puerh a chance if you have not had it. For one, puerh tea has many reported health benefits! Puerh is sometimes called a diet tea because it is thought to improve cholesterol because it contains lovastatin, a known cholesterol reducing chemical. 

My sweet friend also gave me my first Paragon teacup! So beautiful!
I had a really fantastic birthday this year. I find that as I age, more and more wonderful things happen so I am always excited for birthdays. Of course, it's always a bonus to add to my tea and teacup collection on my birthday every year! 

White spider mums and guess what else... parsley flowers from my little garden.