There's a persistent myth in the tea community that older means better when it comes to pu er (puerh). Many have been led to believe that aged tea holds much greater value, and this is simply not true. We should not be placing age as the highest factor to determine value. There are many benefits to enjoying pu er tea while it is still young! The practice of aging tea is very new to Chinese tea, so the “traditional” method (and what most farmers and people in tea country still prefer today) is to drink young pu ers.
Evaluating Is Most Accurate While Young
We first must understand more about the tea, which is most approachable at a young age. We assess the tea while it is young and can decide if the tea is worth aging. Aging teas is similar to the practice of aging wine; you would not put the same high value on an aged Yellow Tail as you would an aged Grand Cru Burgundy; we must understand what we are aging before assigning it value.
If someone tries to sell you a tea saying it's not good now because it's too young, we advise you not to trust them. This method is a sales tactic. If the tea isn't good today, the tea will not be good tomorrow. Not only is a young pu er perfectly drinkable, but it also offers a profile distinctively different from aged teas.
The Sentimental Joy Of Truly Knowing A Tea
We don't age tea for its value alone; the joy of aging tea comes with experiencing the entire life span of the tea. Tasting the same tea over a long period is how you truly get to know the vintage characteristics independent of other factors. For a true tea connoisseur, this journey with a tea builds sentimental value and increases the pleasure derived from the drinking experience.
The Greek philosopher Heraclitus had it right when he said, "You can not step in the same river twice, for other waters are continually flowing on." You can not have the same tea twice in this same vein, as so many factors change the tea with every brew. We love this sentiment, and it truly makes aging tea a fun exploration for us.
You can't turn back the hands of time, so now is the best time to start experiencing a young pu er. We encourage you to create a journey with a young pu er and see how it evolves and changes with you over time.