Shu Pu’er – Yiwu Mountain – 2005
As much as I love Pu’Er, I still have trouble appreciating a story of Shu Pu, post-fermented Pu’Er.
To be sure, I understand the economic rationale. And yet, we all know Shu Pu is never going to be as good as a naturally aged twenty-years old Pu’Er. This whole story to me sounds as a kind of anti-botox, as if I got crazy and were asking a plastic surgeon to make me look twenty years older…
So isn’t this tea just a great pretender?
To me, the only way to enjoy Shu Pu is to accept that it is NOT a substitute for an older, naturally aged Sheng Pu and to appreciate Shu Pu for its own undeniable qualities.
A good grade Shu Pu has very regular dark dry leaves that smell wood and game. Wet leaves smell of undergrowth, leather, mushrooms, moss. You may detect marine notes (although there are other dark teas with much more powerful iodized notes). Liquor’s colour and texture intensity is a function of steeping time – varying from dark amber to dark brown; I suggest you keep steeping time short and make more infusions. The dominant aroma of the liquor is undergrowth; gamy notes show up as secondary. The greatest thing is texture, silky and smooth.
Now, to pairings.
TEA & FOOD
One great pairing here would be game birds with some mushrooms: Roasted guinea fowl with truffles – heck yes!
TEA & WINE
I suggest you choose from the two reds that, from 6-7 years of age, manifest nice and delicate tertiary notes of undergrowth and go extremely well with roasted game birds. One is AOC Chinon from Loire valley, made from cabernet-franc and cabernet-sauvignon, the other AOC Saint-Julien, in Medoc, made from cabernet-sauvignon, cabernet franc and merlot; unfortunately, Saint Julien is much more expensive…
TEA & MUSIC
Two ladies with deep velvety voices and very similar vibe: Leon with “I Believe in Us” and Seinabo Sey with the acoustic version of “Younger” – we’ve made a full circle and returned to topic of age with which we started