Spring 2019 "Slumbering Dragon" Sheng / Raw Puerh from Crimson Lotus Tea
Year after year this is one of the most interesting and singularly unique puerh teas that we source. This is a rare puerh. Of all the tea we sell this is the hardest to source and the hardest to pick. There is a village in Kunlu Shan that isn't even on Google maps. Once you're there you need to hike another 3 kilometers into the mountains to get to these trees. The hike is often steep. You gain 500 meters and it takes more than 3 hours to get there. No one there knows how long the trees have been there or anything about their history. When you ask locals the age they simply reply that they are as old as the earth itself. Check out the video below.
On the north slope of a steep mountain ridge, surrounded by dense forest, these trees reach to the sky. The trees at 20-40 feet tall literally scrape the ceiling of the forest. Impressive does not begin to describe these ancient beings. The Chinese call these trees '高杆'/gāogān which means "Tall Pole".
These skinny trees often grow in a trio and remain branchless until near the top. Barefoot, only the young and the brave, carefully climb to the top to pick the Spring harvest. There are no ropes, harnesses, or soft landings. It is dangerous work. In an attempt to conserve their strength for the ages these trees each produce precious few buds and new spring growth. A day's harvest for a young eager picker often maxes out around just 2kg of fresh leaf. After roasting and sun drying perhaps half a kilo is all they have to show for the days work.
There is not that much material available each year from these trees. We get as much as we can. This is a very unique puerh. The flavor is strong, pure, natural, and noticeably bitter, but with a transcendent chaqi. There is an aroma in the dry leaves that is reminiscent of wild blueberries. Wet aroma is honeysuckle and alfalfa. This is a tea that is hard to define. The aromas are both familiar and mysterious. Everything about this tea is distinct and individual. The profile is at times sharp and distinct. The energy is mentally energizing. It creates a calm, but it is a waking calm.
The bitterness in this tea isn't off putting. It moves from the mouth to the tongue to the back of the throat and lingers beside the aftertaste.
We named this puerh "Slumbering Dragon" because of the visual image of these ancient trees growing so peacefully in the mountains. They seem to us like dragons of a previous era in a deep slumber for eons. The strong energy in this tea mirrors the strength of dragons in our active imaginations.
We present this tea as is. This is pure single origin, high altitude, wild tree puerh. It will not taste like a lot of the puerh out there. Even in Kunlu Shan this tea is unique. It is strong and intense with a very unique bitterness that can linger. The intensity of bitterness will fade with age. Our 2014 has mellowed quite nicely. The energy in this tea is quite strong, it will sneak up on you. We hope you get a chance to try this amazing and unique tea.
- Prefecture: Pu'er
- Elevation: 2000+m
- Wood Fired
- Hand Rolled
- Direct Sun Dried
Each tong is bamboo wrapped by hand and contains five 200g cakes. We only have a few bamboo wrapped tongs for sale.
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. This tea is generous and can be re-steeped many times. Experiment with brew times and ratios to find what suits your palate.
Watch video from Kunlu Shan here:
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