A tea that is almost a tonic in itself with long malt notes.
Spring harvests from some of the old regions of Puerh production aren’t always ensured to be available but this one was, and we’re fortunate to land some of this long flavoured raw ‘Deep’ Sheng.
The origin of the leaves is from an area from the west of the Xishuangbanna region close to Zhang Lang, where old trees blend in with new bushes and the ancient trees which are well over a century old. This present offering’s leaves are harvested from trees that are roughly a century old. Being a fresh harvest from this past February 2019, this tea retains much of the fresh green zing and power as well as the coveted ‘qi’ or life energy.
A portion of one of the many strands of tea caravan routes in Yunnan which spanned valleys and mountain passes.
One of procurer Jeff’s favourite zones to hunt teas because of the raw materials and consistent attention to detail during production, the soil and climate conditions in the region make it ideal for teas with depth. It is one of the reasons we’ve called this offering the Deep Sheng. Long flavour notes, and a tea that continues to give multiple infusions.
Cobbled stones that sit deep in the forests of southern Yunnan that linked the tea growing regions to Southeast Asia, Tibet, and beyond.
One of the little tests that Jeff learned from tasters in Yunnan is to deliberately over brew teas that are of interest. Five or six minute brews that are sampled still carry flavour notes and aren’t overly astringent, make the cut. It is in this way that one can mark out teas that have been well produced and that carry the desired notes. This tea came out near the top of Jeff’s list of tests for the entire Spring season for this year.
The Yangtze River (above) as well as the Mekong acted as demarkation zones and borders for both tea regions and tea caravans. Caravans taking tea would often use rivers as their unofficial guides. Upstream straight ahead in this photo will take you right into Tibet.
The region has been a stronghold of the indigenous Hani people for centuries, and the 1500 metre altitudes continue to be perfect little providers for teas to slowly take root in soils and conditions that are some of the best in Yunnan. It has been a long-favoured origin for locals in Jinghong and Menghai for decades but its teas rarely made it out of Yunnan. Locals covet the strength of the tea and the ability of the tea to be over or under infused in terms of time, while still proffering up rich and deep tones. We urge giving the tea an over-steep just to see what notes might appear on the palate.
Market towns and capitals alike waited for the tea caravans to arrive. Leh, Ladakh, above was no different and in the not so distant past drinkers were very familiar with teas that came from Yunnan and Sichuan province in China.
Soft, deep strength with some light malt notes and rich vegetal mineral hints, this ‘Deep’ would be an ideal tea to age as it carries inherent strength and would mellow beautifully.
So much of the vernacular of tea descriptions and notes in China lacks an exact translation into English, but one of the terms that came up again and again is Shēn, 深, or Deep. Long finishing teas with a second or even third wave of flavour notes rolling around in the mouth are sometimes designated as ‘Deep’, so we went with that.
Enjoy this tea. It is one of our favourites thus far this year. It is an example of a tea that has a direct and immediate impact in the mouth and throat.
Play and tinker with infusion times with our Deep Sheng and play with the leaf amounts and in particular we urge some longer and stronger infusions to sample and test. This Sheng does not necessarily require a first rinse throw away. Our procurer Jeff loves to take old tree Sheng’s first infusions down, particularly when he knows that the teas have been well produced. This Zhang Lang is a superbly made tea that deserves to take the first infusion down. Soothing, with a great finishing notes, it is a tea that opens up beautifully over successive infusions.
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 not less than 6 grams per serving with 8-12 recommended. Shorter infusion times with more leaves are the way in southern Yunnan’s Puerh cultivating regions and we’re in agreement that philosophy. Use fully boiled water for infusing.
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