If I were a Pu’er tea I would be revered. I have reached a “certain age”
Pu’er tea is fermented over a long period – from 10-50 years in some cases, by which stage it is understandably highly sought after not only for the respect that is due to those who care for it during this period of time but also for its flavour and numerous health benefits.
Sheng Pu’er teas are not considered mature until they are about 30 years old by which time they are referred to as vintage. Personally, I think humans should be mature by then as well (though I can think of some who haven’t a hope in Hell of ever hitting that level of existence). These amazing blocks of tea are made by steaming the processed leaves then compressing them into various shapes. Air contact slowly oxidises the tea and improves its flavour. By the time a Pu’er tea reaches the ripe old age of 50 then everyone must be dropping to their knees to beg for a taste. .
At least as humans we have a few more years than 30 before we’re referred to (usually by our own offspring) as vintage. I now consider myself to be maturing nicely in terms of wisdom, experience, health, career, family etc. However, society doesn’t seem to show the same reverence to the passing of years in humans as it does towards pu’er tea.
Pu’er teas come in all shapes and sizes. There is the traditional cake and also a brick, a cube, a mushroom, a nest and a pumpkin. There are even custom shapes created. Same with humans…..but whilst we may all start off as ectomorphs, endomorphs or mesomorphs, time and temptation gnaws away at the basic shapes and bits start to droop, wrinkle, drag, ache, and generally give in to the pull of gravity. Not so the pu’er cake which manages to retain its taut little shape AND boast bucket loads of inner unseen qualities such as helping to lower cholestrol, promote a healthy immune system and aid digestion. Now you wouldn’t know that just by staring at a brown lump of compressed tea, would you.
I ponder these inequalities as I drink my third, early morning cup of tea, and before I crank the ‘vintage’ plus bones into life again, Now where did I leave my inner qualities?