2021 Moon Bear Yunnan raw puerh, “white” varietal, from White2Tea.
Moon Bear is a bit of an oddity. To go back a bit, Puerh tea is traditionally made from a tea (Camellia sinensis) varietal called ‘assamica’. There are also specific processing steps which are traditionally used to make Puerh tea.
Moon Bear is not made from the ‘assamica’ tea varietal, it is made from another varietal which the “locals” and farmers call ‘white’ (not to be confused with “white tea”, which refers primarily to a processing style). Beyond the growers calling it ‘white’, the seller of the tea is not sure exactly what the varietal of Moon Bear is, (though I suspect it is something close to Camellia sinensis var taliensis).
On the other hand, Moon Bear IS processed with the same steps used to make Puerh tea. I.e. Brief rest, kill green, roll, dry.
And, for the record, Moon Bear IS made from a pretty bud heavy, (1 bud, 1 leaf,) early spring pick, while puerh is typically a bit later spring and 1 bud, 2 leaf.
The flavor is much closer to Raw Puerh tea than tea processed as White Tea, but a bit on the light side, however with a fair kick of bitterness in the aftertaste.
The feel/energy is strong and definitely closer to the head/body punch of puerh than white tea.
The producer describes Moon Bear as, “another of those teas that doesn’t fit very neatly in any of the big boxes,” which seems about right.
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