Collector Offering: Yiwu Old Tree Sheng





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Collector Offering: Yiwu Old Tree Sheng

‘Da Shu’

Content

Quick Facts
The Story 
Suggested Serving 

Quick Facts

  • Yiwu Old Tree Sheng (Raw)
  • Region: Mangla County, Yunnan Province
  • Type: Med Altitude Puerh (1400-1500 meters)
  • Harvest: Spring 2017
  • Harvesters: Han and Bulang minorities
  • Slightly smaller leaf varietal of the Yunnan Big Leaf bringing more subtle flavours.

The Story

  Certain of tea’s homes, regions, and sources bring with them a long history of not only the leaf, but of histories that relate to an entire cultural age. Yiwu is one those places in the world of Puerh. Long a departure point of tribute teas destined for either China’s capitals, south into southeast Asia or along the daunting Tea Horse Road into the Himalayas, Yiwu remains one of the most heralded names in the Puerh world, though fakes carrying the moniker “Yiwu” abound.

  We have arrived to Yiwu…by waiting and following a little trail of sips and we’re now immersing ourselves into what we think is a great accessible find of a Yiwu. A Spring 2017 harvest, it is an already mature and ready to drink offering.

A close up of your Yiwu cake showing the a ‘not-too-tightly’ compressed cake that will age well and allow air through the packed leaves.

  One of our first of a line of teas that we’re calling our Collector's Collection, it is a move to offering single-origin small batch teas with unique profiles and differing terroir notes. The sometimes overly complex and deliberate mystification of Puerh does nothing to clarify what makes good teas good. Fresh Sheng Puerhs should not carry much bitterness, not be over complicated for the palate, be fragrant, and carry a slightly sweet finish. The nectar should be - regardless of ‘colour’ - clear and not murky. Beyond that, the terroir, and distinct mountain climate and the precious hands take over and either manicure something already stunning, or tear it apart.

Your Yiwu cake from slightly above allowing a view of the different ages and sized leaves within the cake itself.

  Produced from leaves from old trees that are 100+ years, this Yiwu carries some of the soft and mellow notes that the Yiwu region is known for. Yiwu’s teas range in altitudes from just under 800 metres to 2000 metres, though this current offering comes from trees at about 1400 metres. The traditional leaves of the Yiwu region are slightly smaller than those of the Menghai region (another of the Puerh cultivating zones). Slightly rounder notes with a bit of honey and melon, it is one of the flavour profiles that we are offering as part of our Collector's Collection. Clean and soft with no overpowering elements, there is a stunning little mix of stems, large leaves from further down the stem and the smaller buds, it is a tea that’s had a year and a half to age in cake form. It is a tea that will do well with another couple of years of ageing, if you are so inclined to wait, but is it also entirely ready now for some sips, and perhaps a few more sips.


What is left of a portion of the main Tea Horse Road in Yiwu town from where caravans would leave laden with tea to Beijing or Tibet.

  Yiwu sits in a pocket along the southern Yunnan border with Laos where ancient trees line ridgelines and mountains. Yiwu has long been a favourite amongst Korean drinkers for its perceived mellow tones and light subtle notes that further develop with time.

  As cakes go, this cake is uniform in leaf and bud consistency throughout and it is pressed just firm enough to compress without over squeezing the cake so that it is too solid. Air needs to circulate throughout the compressed tea leaves in whatever shape it comes so compressed cakes, bricks, or balls shouldn’t be overly ‘tight’ in form. Puerh needs and loves air!

Tea ‘houses’ are any space with some electricity for water, a tea table, and some friends with a thirst. This little table rests in Yiwu town.

  The flavor is long and continues to roll in the mouth starting softly and unrelentingly circulating and though light, the profile will remain long on the palate. For the leaf size and the vital stems, it remains delicate and enduring and we recommend taking this Yiwu on an empty palate so that its layers can be enjoyed fully, with each successive infusion. Fresh Sheng Puerhs are as much about their flavor/terroir as they are about the digestive qualities.

  There is a flavor and sensation that locals will often refer to that references a light but full flavor that continues to give and roll on in the back of the mouth. This Yiwu carries this sensation in its layers.

High in the mist-rich mountains where your tea is sourced from outside of Yiwu town. Here young trees and bushes mix with ancient trees in a collection of vegetation that is more bio-dynamic and permaculture friendly than many realize.


  The colour is a deep, clear, apricot that continues to retain its rich tannin tones infusion after infusion. On the lighter side of the stimulant chart, our Yiwu offering is a tea that gently continues to give and develop. Try to catch the light notes that linger in the back of the mouth.

  We recommend that you don’t throw away the first infusion, as with well made Shengs that first infusion can be a wonderful first bit of sipping, though we leave this entirely up to you.

Enjoy this Yiwu.

 

Suggested Serving

  While we encourage each drinker to tinker with infusion times and amounts of tea used according to taste, the below is a good base from which to begin the JalamTeas’ Yiwu experience. Do not be afraid to tinker with the below recommendations. Try playing with slightly different infusion times as well as the amount of leaves to find the right feel and strength. It is often in this testing that only a small alteration hits the right note. This is generally more of a subtle and neutral tea so increasing the infusion time or the amount of leaves used (or both) isn’t necessarily anything negative. Do try and sip with a clean palate to enjoy the soft elements in this Yiwu.

  If this is your first tea cake, here is a step-by-step guide on how to break and prepare a tea cake.

  We recommend 8 grams per serving, though locals in southern Yunnan will use as much as 12 grams and wring out more than a dozen infusions, keeping the infusion times relatively short. Use fully boiled water for infusing.

    • First rinse infusion - It should be approximately 20 seconds to open the leaves can be consumed. Do not thrown away this first infusion, it's a consumable infusion. Skim off any bubbly froth that might appear with the first preparation infusion.
    • Second infusion - 10-20 seconds or more depending on taste.
    • Third and tenth infusion - We recommend increasing times by 5 and 10 seconds per infusion to wring as much of the full flavour from the leaves as possible. Once again though, be sure to experiment to find what works for your palate. Increased infusions draw more of the inherent mineral content into and onto the palate.

Look for that light second feel of the tea’s flavours at the top of the mouth and enjoy.

Read all about, and tips, for storing your puerh collection.

Don't be shy to ask me any questions about your tea leaves or anything related at jeff@jalamteas.com. You have my ears and I will get back in touch with you.