“Drink ripe tea, stash new tea, savor aged tea.” This saying has likely been seen by most folks who have visited Chinese tea forums regularly. After reading Ulumochi’s post: “Planting Trees and Buying Flowers” I was suddenly reminded of this simple sentence and its philosophy. Since I’m still a young sprout with plenty of time to plan out my future tea “strategies,” I figure it can’t hurt to start considering my approach. From the standpoint of my current life and economic situation, the aforementioned sentence presents an appealing rational approach.
What is meant by “Drink ripe tea, stash new tea, savor aged tea?” In short, the average consumer doesn’t have super deep pockets to casually buy decent productions of tea. We have to carefully consider where to spend our money to get the most value out of each purchase. That said, there is certainly value to be found in trying different types of teas. The value gained may help in future decisions of which teas to try and purchase for collection. Ideally, one should avoid closing their eyes and squeezing the trigger; each tea should still be selected with a specific purpose. While there is educational value to be found in almost any tea you may pick up, it would be wise following this philosophy to compare and select teas with the highest amount of personal value. Remember that this is a journey rather than just a process – keep in mind that haste makes waste. “Drink ripe tea, stash new tea, savor aged tea” as a general tea buying philosophy can be used to help pursue a balance in resource allocation. It also takes elements of Ulumochi’s “planting trees” and “buying flowers” and combines them into a comprehensive package. Being a grad student with somewhat limited allowances for tea, following this general philosophy for pu’er has helped fortify decent direction and control over my own tea funds.
何謂「喝熟茶, 藏新茶, 品老茶?」 總之, 一般的消費者, 口袋裡沒有多餘的錢來買好茶, 我們平民百姓得仔細參考錢花在哪裡最划算. 盡管如此, 還是要偶爾出點錢試喝各式各樣的茶. 不過也不是說要急著去隨便亂買普洱茶! 喝茶不是一個過程, 而是一個旅程. 欲速則不達. 「喝熟茶, 藏新茶, 品老茶」這說法最大的貢獻在於幫大家追求買茶的平衡點. 實際上可以將這句用於實踐. 「喝熟茶, 藏新茶, 品老茶」的道理適合「買花」與「種樹」兩個道理都能夠接受的茶友, 將此兩者融合為一. 身為一位研究生, (大家應該都知道美國的學費開天價) 我認為最聰明的選擇就是聽這句話.
The first aspect of this collection strategy is to drink your relatively cheap ripe teas while waiting on your collected new productions to age. Ripe tea possesses that great “drinkable now” quality, and on top of this, most average to decent factory productions have a perfectly acceptable flavor while never breaking the bank. Of course, ripe teas fall short compared to a good aged sheng, but at least while waiting for your own teas to reach that stage, ripe tea at the very least won’t irritate the palate with immature green qualities. To put it another way, ripe tea’s function is to help “scratch that itch” in between chances to savor aged teas.
首先, 在等待著您的新茶轉化的過程當中, 先乖乖喝便宜的熟茶. 普洱熟茶的現飲性很好, 而且大茶廠大部分的產品味道已經很OK. 當然, 熟茶遠遠敗給老生茶, 但是最起碼味道已經成熟了, 順順甜甜的, 更何況比老茶便宜一百倍. 換句話說, 喝熟茶具備「抓癢」的作用.
While drinking away at your shou, the two other “objectives” are:
1) look into cakes that you wish to lock into the “pu’er retirement vault,” and
2) taking time to treat yourself with small doses of aged tea baked into your regular programming.
Considering samples are already a popular choice in the West, sampling aged teas can educate folks on the different potentials of teas. While it’d be nice to have aged teas as part of your regular diet, it isn’t very practical. Ideally, since the goal here is to age your own cakes, someday that pipe-dream could become a reality. While waiting, the educational value and personal enjoyment of sampling aged teas cannot be overstated. As for how to select what teas you may wish to bring into your own stash, I support a post written by Tianye (a participant on the blog “T4U”) that I believe sums up the idea of how to approach seeking out teas:
I think that comparing shops and prices as well as collecting information are things buyers should do. Get online and do research, check out reviews of teas, and find reliable vendors. I can’t guarantee that this will always save you from let-downs, but it should at least reduce the chances (even experts will make poor buy choices from time to time). Find reliable sources and buy teas you enjoy!
…if we’re talking about aged tea, there are some veteran oldsters that can simply determine whether or not they buy by looking and smelling a tea. This is a matter for another time.
…So how do we go about buying brand new teas? By looks? By smell? By touch? Or because it’s a large factory production, we don’t even need to drink it and can buy on trust?
…some folks taste to find teas they like. Some folks use taste to find quality teas. Some folks use taste to find teas with potential. All mentioned avenues require taste. Tea is for drinking. Smell, looks, and touch are simply additional enjoyments.
其次, 在您喝熟茶的同時, 藏些自己認為值得收下的新產品. 在等新茶陳放到一定的年份, 買老茶的樣品趁機會細心欣賞. 西方人本來就喜歡買樣品來試喝. 當然, 也是希望可以天天喝老茶, 不過. 如果真的打算久存普洱新茶的話, 何苦花那麼多錢一片一片買老茶? 品老茶對自己能獲得的知識及個人欣賞而言就是不可取代的體驗 至於如何挑選自己認為有收藏價值的茶品, 不管是新茶還是老茶, 我非常贊成T4U論壇的天夜寫的這段:
我認為貨比三家及收集資訊是買家該去做的事. 多上網去看看,根據大家的評語去找可以信任的茶商,不保證一定不會買錯(連專家也會有買錯的時候), 但相信買錯的機率會降低很多.找到好茶商買自己喜歡喝的茶, 搞定!
Another perk of buying young: Assuming pu’er continuously increases in price as is the current trend, assuming you’ve held on to your productions until they’ve reached maturity, you will avoid having to pay such steep prices for aged tea. The aged tea that future you owns can now be savored – if you look back at what you bought those cakes for compared to what they sell for in that present market, it is possible that you have saved yourself thousands upon thousands of dollars for your cakes. Another possibility, of course, is that in a future market there is an increased availability of aged teas (assuming demand doesn’t increase parallel to this) resulting in a reduced price for matured productions. In this scenario looking back at the shou and new tea productions you purchased, this future scenario allows you to now, using money that you avoided wantonly spending on aged teas in the past, allocate to their new more affordable value. In the long term, by carefully selecting products to savor and collect, while drinking shou to fill the gap, there is again a potential to save decent amounts of money.
藏新茶品另外個好處: 如果以後的普洱茶繼續不斷炒高, 到時候你手裡已經有陳放一段時間的茶, 避免日後去買老茶付天價的困擾了. 自己早收藏的老茶打開來品飲. 回去看看那款茶當時買多少錢, 這樣就節省許多錢.還有一種可能: 如果將來由於老茶的數量增多, 到時候老茶的價格自然降低, 這樣你看到當初買的新茶及熟茶都相當便宜, 發現老茶的價錢終於負擔得起, 那長期來講也是節省了不少錢.
This post is brought to you by Nug’s recent unavoidable life experiences, leaving him a guy with a very tight budget. “Drink ripe tea, stash new tea, savor aged tea.” If you have the means to explore tea in a different fashion, I envy you! I absolutely encourage others to spend how they like. This is simply sharing my personal plan. It is no way a recommendation; it is just another idea out there to consider. There are obvious risks involved with collection: be it your tastes changing, technical difficulties with your storage, or simply having a strategy better fit to your own personal situation. As for me, this humble and economically-strapped learner: I think that buying flowers and planting trees both work together in some sort of harmony. Thus, further into the pu’er world, I delve; drinking ripe tea (scratching the itch) stashing new tea (planting trees) and savoring aged teas (buying flowers).
最近我因為人生難以避免的事情, 手頭很緊. ~別人阿ㄟ生命….係礦金又包銀~如果您是一個有車有房沒煩惱的人可以隨便買幾款老茶, 我就很羨慕您了! 我這位小弟認為買花跟種樹這兩者都有道理, 於是就”喝熟茶(抓癢)藏新茶(種樹) 品老茶(買花)”.