Tuesday, November 14, 2017

A Short History of Wild Tea/Yesheng As I See It

Traditionally, wild tea/ yesheng was not aged like puerh tea.  This is a rather recent idea.  The qi of wild tea was to Clear Heat in the body and the leaves were consumed fresh by the minorities of Yunnan.  The more bitter the taste the more effective it was at Clearing Heat.

It is almost impossible to find aged wild tea or anything earlier than after around 2000.  This is because it was not readily consumed outside of Yunnan and there was not much of any market for this product outside of Yunnan.  Really, its history is that of a local medicinal (however, puerh tea also was historically thought of as medicinal).

My hypothesis is that its popularity coincided with two factors discussed below.  First was the steady increase in puerh prices to a point that was not sustainable and the resulting burst of the puerh bubble.  The second factor was the steady influx of outsiders trying to make money off of the puerh boom.

To me it seems like 2008 was the first big year in wild tea production (just based on what I saw that year and years previous not on actual data if such data even exists).  As those buying up fresh maocha for puerh encountered inexcusably high prices of raw material in 2008 people thought to buy and press much cheaper wild tea into a puerh like shape and market it as such.

So essentially, the puerh bubble marked the birth of modern wild tea/ yesheng as we see it today.  Ever since then wild tea has steadily increased in popularity and has also carried increasing prices to reflect this.  As reported in a previous post, the 2017 year brought very expensive prices for the wild tea of famous area Qianjiazhai.

Aging wild tea is therefore a relatively new concept.  However, the recent consensus is that wild tea actually ages quite well.  The jury is not 100% out on that one because I don’t know if there is anyone out there to sample truly aged wild tea but so far so good.  The aged wild tea that I have aged and sampled are doing quite well.


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