Wild Tree Purple Moonlight

Wild Tree Purple Moonlight White Tea from Jinggu, Spring 2018 from Yunnan Sourcing.

There’s a lot to unpack in that very long name.

Starting from the end, the tea is from “Jinngu” County in the Simao Prefecture of Yunnan Provice of China. The Simao Prefecture is also sometimes called “Pu’Er” and it is the heart of Puerh tea production in China.

This is a “White Tea”, meaning the buds and leaves are picked, briefly faded, then quickly dried.

It is made in the “Moonlight” style, which is a style of white tea made in Yunnan which is allowed to oxidize slightly more than is normal during the fading, expressing more of the fruit character of the tea.

In the more mountainous regions of Puerh, there are trees whose buds and leaves are higher in anthocyanins, it is believed in reaction to the elevation. These trees are called “Purple”. These tea trees are often used to make PuErh and Black Teas, but the anthocyanins contribute to making them rather on the bitter sides of those styles. (FYI, there are three distinct types of purple tea varietals in teas on the Yunnan Sourcing site, so it can be a bit confusing.)

Finally, it is “Wild Tree”, which means that the trees from which these buds and leaves are harvested grow outside of the commercial Puerh plantations. It is my understanding that this particular tea is only picked once a year and in a fairly small amount. It often sells out quickly on the Yunnan Sourcing site.

When you open the bag and smell the dry leaves, the aroma is amazing. Dried stonefruit and leather. Completely different from the mild floral or earthy perfume you might be used to from most white teas.

The only other white tea I’ve tried which is remotely similar is the Jingmai Sun-Dried “Three Aroma” Bai Mu Dan, and even that isn’t really close.

The wet tea is true to the dry aroma, as is the flavor of the steeped beverage. Dried stonefruit and earthy, leathery flavors. If you push it, and brew it hot, you will start to express a bit of the bitterness which can be present in other styles. It has a haunting length of flavor and the leaves, brewed carefully, last for many steeps.

If you like White tea, but are looking for a truly special tea with a little more zest and variety, this is a great one to try. Keep an eye out for it on the Yunnan Sourcing Instagram, Website, or Newsletter.

#Cha #Tea #Puerh #YunnanSourcing #WhiteTea #PurpleTea #YeShengCha

Nan Nuo Ba Ma Gushu

“Nan Nuo Ba Ma” Gushu, Spring 2018, Puerh Sheng Cha from King Tea Mall.

Interesting!

The wet leaves have a strong scent, but the tea itself is super subtle in flavor/scent. Slightly herbal with some savory characteristics.

It’s not until you contemplate the aftertaste, and get the bitter lightness on your tongue that evaporates to sweetness, before it even seems like you have been drinking tea.

The aftertaste is subtle, yet very long, and the buzz powerful.

“Bo Ya” Gushu and Wild Tea

“Bo Ya” GuShu & Wild Tea Sheng Puerh

Spring 2018 “Bo Ya” Gushu and Wild Tea Sheng Puerh Sheng Cha from King Tea Mall.

I had been enjoying John King’s Instagram feed when he posted the following summary of a new tea, a wild tree tea from the Bulang region in Menghai county.

“Regarding these wild tree, we still don’t know how old they are.
What it attracts me was the unique bitterness and soon coming Huigan (sweetness from aftertaste) and fell in love with it when I first tried it accidentally in Menghai.
Always hard to find accurate description words on this bitterness.
It is a wild, naughty flavor.”

I do really enjoy the way John describes his teas. It is slightly poetic, yet at the same time highly specific and descriptive.

As someone who enjoyed bitterness, (Broccoli Raab is one of my favorite vegetables, when I was drinking I imbibed copiously of the Amaro…) I almost felt like he was daring me to try this tea!

Who wouldn’t want to try a tea with, “a wild, naughty flavor”?

When I finally got around to ordering a cake of the tea he was describing, he said he would include some samples of others he thought I might like, given my interest in his Bitterly Wild and Naughty Tea.

I suppose I should have considered myself warned.

This tea is a blend of tea leaves from Wild trees and Old trees from the BanPen (班盆 which belongs to BanZhang tea area).

The opening flavors are quite bitter, they lead to middle flavors that are OK, but not amazing. Tobacco, Leather. Where this tea shines is in its outstanding and lengthy finish, camphor like flavors which seems to almost evaporate from your tongue. Oh, and it is one of those teas where you’re a couple cups in, and realize that it is zippy. Very Zippy. Or as John says, “Strong ChaQi makes mind clear and breath smooth and clear.”

Isn’t something like that the Mental Mantra from Frank Herbert’s “Dune”?

The Tea Must Flow!

#BoYaGushuPuerh #KingTeaMall #Cha #Tea #DrinkTea

“Man Ka” Puerh Style Tea

Man Ka Puerh Style Tea

2018 Spring “Man Ka” (Laotian Village) Puer Sheng Cha from King Tea Mall.

Another sample which came along with an order from King Tea Mall.

As I mentioned before the Chinese region of Yunnan borders Vietnam, Laos, and Myanmar in a sort of indistinct mountainous area. Tea trees grow naturally in the neighboring areas of of all three countries.

As I understand it, John King, the proprietor of King Tea Mall tried some teas in small villages of Laos near Burma and became entranced with the potential of the tea trees there.

Usually, when we say “tea trees”, calling them “trees” is being generous. Most are kind of bushy and spindly, not getting much taller than a man. In commercial tea producing areas, it doesn’t make much sense to let them get too big, it just makes them harder to harvest.

In these areas of Laos, some of these tea trees have been growing wild, apparently for years or decades.

John has some great pictures of the workers climbing trees like squirrels to harvest the tender shoots and leaves of these enormous tea trees.

I’ll let him describe the tea.

“That is a flavor I have never tasted before. Though there is near the south border of YI WU tea region in China, but the taste is far different. Also different from teas from other regions in Yunnan.

“Ever the bitterness turns out in the beginning or sweetness which comes from aftertaste are obvious like a weather I experienced these days in that tea sourcing trip. The sun was shining brightly. Soon a group of cloud dropped by and brought a sudden rainfall. Meanwhile, the sun was still shining from higher sky. When the cloud passed by minutes later, sky turned back to normal as before.

“Rich taste with complex. The mouth feeling varies when tea liquid passes into throat.”

I can’t do any better than that, but I will say the later steeps of this tea exhibit some great fruit flavors that I believe will only be enhanced as it ages.

Usually, the term “Puerh” is reserved solely for tea made in Yunnan, China. Others can be called “Dark Tea”, but they aren’t Puerh.

John brought in tea harvesters and processors from Yunnan, did the early stages of tea processing in Laos. Then moved the tea to Menhai, Yunnan, where the processing was completed. So, at the very least it is Laotian Tea processed in Puerh Style.

#Tea #Cha #LaotianTea #DrinkTea #PuErh #KingTeaMall