Friday, September 22, 2017
“Wild Puerh” Tea Is Not Really Puerh Tea!
I think there is a little confusion about what exactly “wild puerh” is. I remember first trying “wild puerh” in 2008 and being completely and absolutely dumbfounded by it. In fact, I wrote a blog post about this experience and in it you can sense this confusion. I ended up purchasing a tong of this puerh not because I really loved the tea as a puerh tea but because I still couldn’t understand this tea- it really stumped me and besides the Qi sensation in particular was really unlike any puerh I had encountered before.
I believe I was the first to blog about such a tea and I think I couldn’t find anything on the English internet for years later and even then it mainly just confused me. It wasn’t only me who was confused by “wild puerh” but many other Westren puerh drinkers were equally at odds with this tea throughout the years. Even today amongst people who are well versedin puerh seem perplexed with it. Why all the confusion about this tea?
First of all this tea is commonly referred to as “yesheng” or (if the purple leaf variety) it is often referred to as “purple yesheng”. Part of the confusion, I think is that the term “yesheng” is often used to describe non-plantation puerh or is simply used at random to describe puerh (such as this 6FTM “yesheng”). The other part of the confusion is that there are many teas that are purple leaf teas that grow wild but are not “wild purple puerh” or “yesheng purple”.
Through careful contemplation and deep meditation I thought about my 2008 “wild puerh” throughout the years. I would drink it only once and a while to see how it’s aging and to again attempt to understand it. It was not until recently that I finally feel like I truly understand what is commonly called “wild puerh” and learned to appreciate it fully.
I came to the conclusion that “wild puerh” is not really puerh at all. To me puerh tea is either the sheng or shu processing style of the Camellia sinensis var assamica or other various small leaf hybrids (as found in Yibang, Mengsong, ect). What is commonly referred to as “wild puerh” is not Camellia sinensis var assamica or other various small leaf hybrids but rather is one of the other 13 camellia thea species that grow in Yunnan. The “wild purple” or “purple yesheng” is thought to be Assamica Dehongensis- this is the variety that is comprised of my 2008 “wild purple puerh” probably the most common and popular “wild puerh” variety. Recently I learned that "wild puerh" can also be classified as “sweet wild” or “bitter wild”. I think we are still in the early days of learning about "wild puerh".
I feel that “wild puerh” is processed and pressed the same way sheng puerh is processed and obviously there is some kind of taxonomical difference in the material itself. However, what makes it not puerh to me is that it has a completely different Qi, mouth/throat feel, body feel, taste and aroma than puerh. So to me, it should no longer be referred to as “wild puerh” nor should we really be comparing it to our other puerh experiences.