Today as a part of my ongoing exploration of Pu’er tea, I had the chance to try a wild arbor raw Pu’er from 2012. This tea was produced from trees growing on Wuliang Mountain in Yunnan province that were supposedly 200 years old according to the vendor. Wuliang Mountain is one of the more northern tea producing mountains in Yunnan. According to the vendor this tea is grown at a higher altitude (approximately 2300m) in a village called Zhong Cang Cun (中仓村).
The dry leaves of this tea have a very sweet and captivating aroma, especially when heated in a warm teapot. The smell is grassy, flowery, and also has some dried fruit notes similar to apricots or raisins. The first infusion of the tea is smooth, light, and sweet. My girlfriend’s father has a vegetable garden, and the flavor of this tea reminds me of snap peas and fresh green beans that we would pick together. There is also a slightly nutty flavor, and a creamy quality in the texture of the first steeping. As I continue to brew the tea the flavor becomes richer, and the texture grows thicker. This is paired with a slight bitterness that is enjoyable, but never overbearing. The energy of the tea makes me feel alert, but it never reaches a point where I feel jittery or uncomfortable. One final quality of this tea that I enjoyed was that it brewed out fairly consistently over the duration of the session (roughly 8+ infusions) rather than being very strong at the beginning but dying off quickly.
The best component of this tea for me was that it felt very smooth and clean. The vendor of this tea is currently selling it at $58 / 400 gram cake. I feel like the price is reasonable considering the 5 years of age on the cake. Looking back at another bloggers post from 2012 however, they mention that as a brand new tea the price was $23 / 400 gram cake. If I had the chance to pick up the tea new back in 2012, I feel like that would really make the tea as it is today quite a bargain. This is assuming that I would have enough space, patience, and storage conditions decent enough to not ruin a tea over 5 years of aging. Currently I’ve just sampled Pu’er teas from different age ranges, and picked up a few cakes that I’ve found enjoyable. However after drinking this tea and reading that old blog post from 2012, I’m becoming more interested in the idea of aging new teas myself. In this way I can hopefully find some good bargains, enjoy their development over time, and become more sensitive to the different stages of aging that Pu’er goes through.