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Ancient Tea Tree Puerh Tea - An introduction

The first in a series of articles where we set out a few basic guidelines for assessing and drinking Ancient Tea Tree Puerhs.

By focusing on characteristics uniquely present in Ancient Tea Tree Puerhs teas, we hope that these basic criteria will enhance your drinking experience. Before we introduce these aspects it is important first to establish what exactly is Ancient Tea Tree Puerh?

What is Ancient Tea Tree?

Generally speaking, Ancient Tea Trees (gu shu 古树) are defined as tea plants aged 100 years and above.*

Teas made using leaf from Ancient Tea trees command much higher prices and as such are in high demand. In China, the prevalence of Ancient Tea Tree Puerh seems to be constantly expanding, yet the production output of ancient tea trees is far from prolific. Some advocate only two picks per year, per tree as over-picking is detrimental to both the tree and the subsequent quality of the leaf and tea.

Actually, it is very difficult to establish a precise age for any tree and it either is determined by local hearsay or sellers (generously) estimate from the size and thickness of the tree trunk. As you can imagine, both methods lack objectivity and are prone to exaggeration. Furthermore, surely there isn't much difference between a 90 year old and 100 year old tea tree? Might this be hype designed to ratchet up the cost of Puerh?

Wan Ling and Ancient Tea Tree. Yunnan 2013

An historical explanation given for the necessary distinction of Ancient tea trees - trees aged over 100 years, is that large-scale planting of tea plants, occurred between the years 1820-1850 and again at the very beginning of the Chinese Republic (1912). Surviving trees from this period, as well as those in existence before these two phases, are distinct from those tea plants grown in the modern era. Mass propagation of tea plants from these existing tea trees, using modern cutting techniques, only began in the mid-1980s. Therefore, Ancient Tea Trees are those trees remaining from the aforementioned large-scale planting that took place both at the beginning of the 19th and 20th century and any trees pre-dating these two periods.

* Another view is that genuine Ancient Tea Tree age should be defined as 300 years and above. And that tea trees between the ages of 100 - 300 should only be referred to as 'Large Trees'.

Looking to learn more about Puer tea? Visit our Puer tea facts.

Puer Tea Facts. What is puer tea? Learn more online.Buy Puer tea online. Sheng puer, Shu puer and a wide selection of Ancient tea tree puer available.

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