"3917" 1996 (sheng)
"3917" 1996 (sheng)
Extra! Raw tea comes ripe! Get it while you can!
- Vintage: 1996
- Category: Lao Sheng (old, ripened raw)
- Format: Tuocha (bowl shaped)
- Size: 250g
- Production: Kunming
- Seed-grown, organic plants
3917 is a very drinkable cusp tea graduating from raw, racy, and astringent to ripe, contemplative and mellowing. This is a tightly compressed tuocha with layers to peel.
In the last five years it has started to become drinkable due to the techniques of our senior tea masters using dynamic low elevation valley storage techniques. I was given one of these as a gift by one of my teachers in 2010 - I just assumed it would be at least another 15 years before it started to be drinkable (because of how green it was). Tasting it with him in 2014 in Kunming I couldn't believe it was the same tea. It has darkened considerably and now was more than easy to enjoy.
What's It Like?
This is a very tightly pressed tuocha and is still considerably young. It mellows and deepens as it opens so we suggest two rinses and a three minute rest before the first infusion. It is very bright and awake tea, good for study, hiking, meditation...
leaves a uniform moss green/brown • somewhat broken mid-grade leaf sizes with medium luster
gorgeous cherry amber red broth • taste is sweet and fruity with a pleasant astringency
this tea still has potent forward moving energy • it can be found to be incredibly inspiring in studious endeavors and creatively motivational in artistic pursuits
Being into pu-erh for a while now, we see the vintages come ripe from raw and expereince a poetic perspective analogous to the coming of age of a child. How lovely it is when a tea that isn't ready to be drunk turns up as not only drinkable, but matching the potential of its speculative outlook. Just as a child is protected, nurtured, and encouraged along the lines of its intrinsic nature blossoms into a capable adult, a tea with a stellar outlook may, with the proper care, come into its own as a fine, balanced product. How many times however do we see the converse. Nurturing a tea requires a master who is intimately involved in its life just as a student requires a teacher that truly cares about their progress.
This 3917 is an interesting study for us. Watching the progress it has made in the hands of one who knows how to expediate its process and keep it clean has been a revelation. There are methods that take the seemingly unrestrained energy and taste of an immature tea and bring them to quick graduation without the sloppiness of a rushed job. This tea is still offered at a very reasonable price for the realized outlook it is revealing - it's heading places and it knows it.