Yunan Chitsu pingcha (also called Yuancha) is manufactured from Puercha, a tea of world-wide fame, through a process of optimum fermentation… Yes, optimum not opium fermentation. Mores the pity, but it’s a good drop. I bought a cow pad of it about 9 years ago, it was 30 years old even then—a black pad of compacted leaf matter that would compost instantaneously with the addition of a single earthworm, 10ml of water and 50g of soil. I keep it in an old biscuit tin that is now seriously showing its age, slightly rusted with the eggrolls image all but faded to brown, but its air tight and the tea is as fresh as it was when it was just 30 years old. Every now and then when the Lipton’s teabags just don’t cut it or exist, I scratch my head thinking there must be some tea here somewhere and remember it or I’ll drink it as a pose when an appreciative guest drops by. That’s something of a rare thing and when I explain its circumstances many are worried if it isn’t passed its use-by date already, it’s not. It’s better than ever. It tastes of the earth—a fermented grassy taste with nothing especially delicate about it, except as it lingers. Then it infuses the senses, evoking connections to the land—all heady on the nose as it slips one through to the keeper. Looking at it tonight, I was thinking 9 years and I’ve hardly put a dint in the cow pad. Is this going to be something that survives me, like my Seiko Diver watch that has been slowly dutifully counting out every second of my life since I bought it 23 years ago? I bet my kids find it when I’m gone. “Oh shit. That’s Dad’s old Puercha tin. Let’s have a crack at that. Did he smoke it or drink it?”