In the Spring of 2017, I met this eccentric chap.
Shou (or cooked/ripe) puerh is difficult to market. Hell, puerh in general is difficult to spin. How do you convince people that something that’s fermented is something they want? Fermented leaves, no less; in cake form.
The conundrum gets even hairier once you try to explain to people what the “cooking” process even is. Example: “Oh yeah, and over here we have some shou puerh—sometimes called cooked puerh. Not to be confused with raw puerh, which ages naturally. Unlike that stuff, wet leaves are composted by piling them together in a hot roo— . . . hey, where are you going?”
And I didn’t visit it once.
In my mind, I kept saying, Eh, I’ve already tried everything they have to offer.
What I should’ve been thinking was, I really need to solidify some of my vendor networking contacts!
Hindsight and all that.
Russians love tea. Like . . . really love tea. Even the British and Irish look at the Russian love affair with tea and say, “Would you kindly tone it down?”
I learned of this secondhand when I was doing research a couple of years ago on tea grown in Russia. Not exactly sure how it happened, but Russians took a rather strong liking to low-altitude Ceylon. Brewed as a concentrate . . . from a giant brass water heater . . . that was stoked with a boot. Yes, a Samovar.
But in recent years, there’s been a shift in the Russian tea palate. One I learned of from – of all places – Instagram.
Young Russians love dark tea (or “heicha”). Like . . . really love dark tea. Puerh, to be precise.