The ‘Eternal’ Sheng
A tea known for strength it is a tea that is often given by villagers as a kind of tonic while they recover from illness, fever, or dehydration.
Fitting in some ways that we finish the year - and our present subscription model - with a tea and region that has given…and given more throughout our ‘Jalam-time’. While we are calling this genuine high altitude offering, the ‘Eternal’ Sheng, the source region is one we have long returned to in searching for quality and deep notes of strength: Zhang Lang. One of our few genuine high altitude offerings the qualities of the region and in particular the Sheng Puerhs has been something of a joy for us to be able to source and offer up every single year.
Bamboo and tea have long been eternal mates in Asia growing together and feeding one another.
Long flavour notes from the impeccable soils and climactic conditions, careful handling and consistent production have all contributed to making this Zhang Lang (and every single Zhang Lang we’ve offered) a sumptuous example of everything ‘good’ in a Sheng. We’ve thus called this tea our Yǒnghéng (永恒) Sheng, or “Eternal” Sheng.
Jeff in action cooing on about his favourite tea frying ‘pans’ near Menghai.
From the Bulang minority areas this end of year tea has been caked at a small factory outside of Menghai by the Dai people. We’ve heard from people who’ve enjoyed this particular region’s tea in both traditional ceramic ‘gai wan’ and in quality clay vessels. Many have noted that the clay pots have enticed different and slightly softer flavour notes from the leaves.
Though this photo may seem inappropriate, it is very much tea related. In some parts of both China and Japan fish are ‘treated’ with tea to neutralize certain flavours and enhance others.
This ‘Eternal’ Sheng has a wonderful ability to unleash in successive infusions, much variances and it is a leaf offering that continues to give. As with all great offerings, we recommend at least once the joy of taking this tea first thing in the morning on a ‘clean’ palate. Before any meal or brushing of teeth, take a cup and let it sit and drop in temperature and slurp it in with some oxygen and allow it to stay within the mouth. Some malty notes are often detected by sippers as well as some of the traditional mineral strength that will come out with a little more ageing.
Different cultivars add different strengths and adaptability components to a tea as well as flavour notes - though the issue of cultivars remains something less spoken about. Yunnan is known for its big leaf versions.
Our procurer Jeff has long held to the notion that if he had only three teas for the rest of his days to sip at, Zhang Lang would be on that list. Power and distinct vegetal notes continue to pour from this tea and with some careful ageing, the mineral notes are only enhanced.
A late Spring harvest of this year (2019), the leaves have already had ample time to ‘soften’. This is very much a tea to sip in the present and it adheres to our principle that Puerhs should be taken fresh with their terroir and inherent strengths intact and not altered with time and environmental influence.
Enjoy this last little leafy tribute of the (western calendar) for this year of 2019.
Play and tinker with infusion times with our “Eternal” Sheng and play with the leaf amounts. This Sheng does not necessarily require a first rinse, though this is always at the discretion of the server and drinker. Our procurer Jeff loves to take old tree Sheng’s first infusions down, particularly when he knows that the teas have been well produced. We encourage sampling in both ceramic and in clay vessels as the flavour notes will variate. A tea of strength and depth that reveals more of its mineral content in successive infusions, this is a great tea for ‘now’.
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 grams being recommended. Shorter infusion times with more leaves are the way in southern Yunnan’s Puerh cultivating regions and we’re in agreement that philosophy. Fully boiled good quality water is highly recommended
Don't be shy to ask me any questions about your tea leaves or anything related at firstname.lastname@example.org. You have my ears and I will get back in touch with you.