2022 "Wild Sky" Sheng / Raw Puerh Tea
80 years ago Yunnan was a much different place. Most of China was being ravaged by the Japanese in what they call "The War of Japanese Aggression". It was a tough time for everyone. Yunnan was able to remain free of Japanese occupation. This was the only province in China that was able to do so. They did so in large part because of the bravery of fighter pilots from America and Britain who volunteered to come and fight. It was dangerous and not exactly legal.
The planes they used were the Curtis P-40B Warhawk. They had shark mouths painted on them, but no one in Yunnan had seen a shark before. They had seen tigers and seeing these planes loudly growling across the skies with open mouths the locals quickly nicknamed them the "Flying Tigers". For a little over a year they saw great success defending the skies over Yunnan and Burma from attack from Japanese fighter planes. Yunnan was kept free and critical war supplies were able to be brought safely in from British controlled India.
This is a really fascinating part of history and one in which many people have no idea. Yunnan, and by extension, the tea industry would be entirely different if the Japanese had been able to gain full control of China. Especially given current political climates it's important to remember a time when America and China were able to work together as friends.
In our research we found that just a few miles from our warehouse in China is where the Flying Tigers pilots stayed. Our weekly hikes in Kunming take us to the top of a local mountain where the original RADAR installation the Flying Tigers installed still operates. The airport they used is gone now and has been replaced with progress. It's easy to forget the sacrifices made when we're living in the good times.
We created this design and this blend to remember the shared history our two countries have in Yunnan and to commemorate the pilots who gave their lives to keep Yunnan free.
There is a lot of history in this design. The map used is the actual map that was printed on silk and kept in the jacket of each pilot. It contains everything they needed to escape via land if they were shot down. The Chinese characters were intended to offer them safe passage and reads "This foreign person has come to China to help in the war effort. Soldiers and civilians, one and all, should rescue and protect him."
You can learn more about the Flying Tigers here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flying_Tigers
Great story, but how does the tea taste?! This is a custom blended sheng puerh tea. It has a dense, floral, jungly aroma with lingering sweetness. The wet leaf introduces a brothy umami with a slight saltiness. It has a vibrant body with a distinct bitterness and grassy aftertaste. It is a smooth tea that is immediately centering. It has good throat sweetness with a pleasant fruitiness. It is a juicy tea with good energy.
Use 5-10 grams of leaves and brew with 75-150ml ( 2.5-5oz ) of water at or near boiling. Rinse once for a few seconds. Start with quick steeps under 10s. With each re-steep adjust the steep time to your taste.
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