We're happy to present our new 2020 tea cakes. There's a bit here this year for everyone - those looking for super high end rare material, those who love wild tea, and those who are looking for high quality for not a lot of money.
We will have a few more offerings in the coming months and towards the end of the year - for now here's a review of what we've got for you:
2020 Secret Forest Wild
From the same huge wild trees as our Secret Forest White tea, this one is processed with the kill-green and sun-drying steps and made into puerh.
The taste is initially light, but grows with the infusions. It's very refined and clear and the energy of these ancient trees and forest environment is obvious and very comfortable.
The aftertaste is very pleasant... what began in the first couple of infusions as a subtle tea, ends the session coating the mouth and throat and lingering nicely.
2020 Kunlu Ancient Tree Wild
From the same trees as we made tea from in 2018, this is from a strain of wild trees, known as "Bitter Wild". The trees are huge, with trunks that shoot up to the forest canopy. They're easily hundreds of years old & have grown wild in this protected forest.
The flavour is fresh, with medium thickness and nice aroma. There is a bitterness that is characteristic of this type of wild tea that emerges in later steeps, though this year seems to be more controllable than when we pressed it before. There is a strong, relaxing energy to the tea - one of the main reasons many people seek out this type of tea.
I would say, this isn't a tea for beginners - the bitter note is one aspect that some people really seek out and love, but also that some people do not find attractive. We decided to buy and press this tea again for those in the first group :)
2020 Jinggu Forest
This tea came to us through a chance encounter. A couple of years ago in Kunming we met this farmer and his wife by chance. We exchanged WeChat (Chinese social media) details and parted ways. This spring we were passing through Xiao Jinggu and the farmer spotted a post Kathy had made on her WeChat account. He got in touch and invited us to come to visit them for dinner. While there, we tried some of his teas, which unfortunately weren't so interesting for us, but we asked him if there were any trees growing in the forest in the mountains around his village. He replied that there were, but people didn't pick them much since they're quite spread out and not so easy to harvest. Since it was still early in the season, we asked him if he could arrange some people to pick these trees for us & he could process it.
The result is this cake. The quantity was very small - just over 8kg and the trees aren't super old, but the environment is excellent and the tea quality is very nice.
It's bright and fresh, with a pleasant, almost floral aroma. The aftertaste is long and steady, and pleasantly evolves in the mouth.
For the price, this tea is excellent - it definitely punches above its weight.
2020 Xu Jia Liang Zi
This was a new tea for us this year from an area near Yiwu's Zhang Jia Wan village.
The tea is from ancient trees growing at the edge of a protected forest. The tea is very refined and smooth, with a special aroma and flavour that burst in the mouth and nose.
The aftertaste is steady and sweet and there is a good body to the tea, coating the mouth and throat.
2019 Yao Zhu Di
This is one of our favourite gardens we've come across in Yiwu's Guoyoulin (protected forest).
The trees are old, with many gaogan (tall pole) trees throughout the garden. The farmer is also very special - he is very patient with the processing, performing the kill-green slowly & hand-rolling with great care.
When we visited him this Spring, it was still early in the harvest & he didn't have any of this year's tea for us to buy. He did have some from last year though, which he was planning to press to store by himself. He sold us a little of this tea from 2019 and promised to save us some tea from this year too.
The tea is thick and rich, with a good balance of strength and refinement. The aftertaste is long and steady. This is a very nice Yiwu Guoyoulin tea.
2020 Tian Men Shan GaoGan
We've had our eyes on tea from this land for a few years, but haven't managed to buy it until this year. The lack of buyers in the mountains this year due to the virus and abnormally late harvest meant we could arrange to hire some people to pick the fresh leaves and a friend of ours processed them. Tianmenshan (天门山）has shot into fame in the past few years due to the perfect forest conditions and the tall GaoGan (tall pole) trees from which this is made.
The tea itself is very pure in taste. It is elegant, thick and rich with very nice flavour and penetrating aroma. The energy is very nice - slow and deep.
This is excellent tea.
2020 Lao Jie Zi Gao Gan
Lao Jie Zi (老街子）is a piece of land in the protected forest near Yiwu's Zhang Jia Wan village. It's not so well known, but in recent years it has become difficult to get these leaves and the price has risen accordingly. The demand has a reason - the tea from this land is very good. As good, or better than any of the teas from more famous pieces of land in Yiwu that we've tasted.
This tea is pure - very clean and clear in taste, made from the tall pole trees growing in this area of the forest. It is extremely elegant, merging comfortably with the body and with a pleasant cooling sensation on the breath. The comparison with the Tian Men Shan and Yao Zhu Di teas we pressed this year is interesting - they each have slight differences in character that make each of them special.
The energy is very comfortable and the feeling of the forest is apparent in the tea.
2020 Boundless Puerh Tea
From the same ancient trees as last year's Boundless cake that so many of you know and loved, this one is just as good.
This small garden of ancient trees, which nestle in the dip of two adjoining hillsides. Surrounded by forest and with a small stream running through, the abundance of nutrition and fertile natural environment is obvious everywhere in sight. This tea has been grown naturally, completely free from agrochemicals.
The tea liquid is vibrant and rich in the mouth. It coats the back of mouth and throat and the energy merges comfortably with the body.