According to the dictionary, by definition ‘art’ is the quality production, expression, or reals, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance. Art comes in many different ways, and can be used to provoke a certain emotion because of how it resinates with you. By definition, can tea be art? Personally, I believe so. In the world of tea, especially blended teas such as puer, there is an art to creating a new flavor using natural resources, and can help make you feel a certain emotion. Some of these pieces of art happen to come from White2Tea, and specifically, their 2015 puer blend named ’72 Hours’. Here’s why I consider ’72 Hours’ a masterpiece, and why it made me cry the last time I experienced it…
Steeps 1 - 4
For this session, 6.6g of tea was used in a 100ml vessel, with a heated water temp of 180ºf. After a quick rinse (which is done to rid the tea of any dirt or dust), the first infusion was well under way. The first sip of 72 Hours brought a light sheet of sugary infused oil, which progressively got thicker and heavier. It was really surprising because puer usually needs a few steeps to open up in the same way that 72 Hours opened up — just in the first infusion. Towards the end of the fourth infusion, the sweetness became more pronounced and embodied the likeness of mixed berries and apricots.
Steeps 5 - 8
As the infusions kept going, so did 72 Hours. This sheng puer unleashed one hell of a body, which was revealed through its lubricating mouthfeel. This piece of art continued to inspire the taste buds as the heavy oil brought fourth the stevia like sweetness with a tasting note that best resembled cotton candy; yes, you read that correctly: cotton candy. As the taste of this delicious carnival treat made its way past my throat, it left behind the aftertaste of freshly-mowed grass. A million things were going on at once with my tastebuds, and they were trying desperately hard to attach to the tea that floated past it. At this point, the tea also carried a punch. However, all of this bliss made one hell of a statement.
Steeps 9 - 14
72 Hours began to mellow out around the tenth infusion. While the oily cotton candy sweetness was still present, every single aspect of this tea started to flow together harmoniously, like a well rehearsed orchestra. Everything came together creating a trance like state on the tongue which blasted my tastebuds into orgasmic orbit. Not only that, the combination of everything was so beautifully pieced together that I questioned rather if I was steeping crack-cocaine instead of puer tea. While questioning the nature of this tea, all of 72 Hours’ attributes went straight to my heart and before I knew it, an overwhelming sensation blanketed me. Now pausing for a long deep breath, tears rolled down the sides of my cheeks, almost like boulders falling off the side of a cliff. In fact, every bit of tension I was holding onto, 72 Hours freed me from, and propelled me into the gates of heaven…
In my lifetime, I’ve never had a drink that made an emotional impact, especially enough to evoke such a loss of tension that it reduced me to tears. While this tea wasn’t on anyones radar at time of release, it’s a damn shame that not too many people had a chance to experience a tea like this. Despite whatever field your hobby lies, or line of work you’re in, it’s easy say that the greats truly stand out. Whenever I say great, I mean Paul of White2Tea. In the world of tea, White2Tea released a sheng puer that showed us it’s more than possible to turn puer tea into an art form. So while this Banksy of a tea is no longer in the market, I sincerely hope you have the chance to experience a tea that’s as captivating and beautiful as 72 Hours, and hopefully you'll get the chance to sip on this work of art for yourself someday.
Rating - King