A tea with the power to unwind time

By Inara Verzemnieks
Published in Portland’s premier gourmet food and wine magazine “Mix Magazine” in April/May of 2008.

I had never heard the term “tea drunk” until I met Paul Rosenberg. Now I can say I know exactly what it means. I’m talking head floating off your shoulders I’ve never felt so good in my life why shouldn’t I run away to Paris drunk. All from a cup of tea.

It’s the strangest thing. Beautiful and unnerving and quieting all at once. And it all starts in the attic of a rambling Portland bungalow, where Rosenberg, 49, a former chef and Asian antiquities dealer, regularly hosts tastings of incredibly rare teas, hoping to expose people to the nuances and poetry of the drink. He specializes in rare Chinese teas and one tea in particular: Puerh.

Picked from Camellia assamica trees- some more than a thousand years old and as thick and tall as Douglas firs – that grow in Yunnan province in southwestern China, puerh tea has developed a passionate worldwide following in recent years, stirring the fascinations of collectors and speculators into heights normally reserved for oenophiles. Some of the older, sought after puerhs can command $1000 a pound.
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