A unique characteristic of Pu’er tea is that it can be aged like a fine wine: It tastes better over time if stored under the right conditions. When you buy a piece of prized Pu’er, it is important to find out where and how it has been stored as improper storage can greatly affect the taste and future auction value of the tea.
Traditionally, Pu’er is stored in the Pearl River Delta Region with Hong Kong as a base. Over the years, storage locations expanded into Taiwan, Macau, and Guangzhou. Even though Pu’er originates from Yunnan, the highland region is considered too dry for storage of the tea. Most regional warehouses of Pu’er are located in Hong Kong and Guangdong where the aging process of Pu’er tea is vastly accelerated due to the area’s high humidity. Often, Pu’er teas stored under the overly humid conditions of Southern China lose their natural fragrance.
On the other hand, tea can also be stored in Yunnan, which is the place of origin of Pu’er tea. However, due to its dry and mountainous climate, Pu’er ages very slowly there and the tea does not have the same smoothness in taste even after long periods of storage. That’s why most industry experts do not encourage storing or aging Pu’er tea there.
Storing your tea in Malaysia, however, sets the right balance. Humidity levels are neither too wet nor too dry and weather conditions are stable throughout the year, something that the other regions lack. The temperature is warm 12 months in the year while humidity is below that of Hong Kong or Guangzhou. Air convection between the Indian and Pacific Oceans help Pu’er tea leaves stored in Malaysia to age well and retain its unique aroma. In the market today, most Pu’er aficionados in China are willing to pay a premium for Malaysian-stored Pu’er.
So keep this in mind the next time you go Pu’er tea shopping: Find out where your Pu’er tea was stored, and try to find ones that were kept in Malaysia for at least a few years. There’s a noticeable difference in quality. One good example is TEASPEC 2015 Raw and Ripe Tea Cake. They were specially blended by Xiaguan Tuocha in 2015 using raw materials from the year 2012. After storing in Malaysia for 3 years, the tea has matured and mellowed so much that the taste profile resembles that of a 10-year-old tea.
Learn more about tea and it’s health benefits from our website: https://teaspec.com/our-teas/