Back in 2008, I purchased 600 grams of an amazing loose leaf sheng puer (生普洱) in Yingge (鶯歌), Taiwan. I drank it with an old man and his wife at their sleepy little puer and teapot shop (one of many) located near Yingge's old street. They appeared to be blown away by the idea of a young(ish) American who enjoyed drinking puer tea. I told them that I knew quite a few like-minded tea lovers but I'm not sure they believed me. They shared a few interesting factoids about this tea with me but unfortunately my limited Mandarin comprehension skills yielded only the following: it was made from wild trees in Xishuangbanna (西雙版納) in 1999.
The dry leaves are very long, twisted and mostly intact. They have a beautiful mix of gold, yellow, forest green and brown colors and a sweet spicy aroma. This aroma is softened by little hints of plum, pine and raisin. In order to keep the leaves safe during their long trip home to Seattle, the old man packed them gently into three large bags and then put them into boxes. I thanked him well for helping me to protect the fragile leaves.
the dry leaves
Today I filled a gaiwan half-way-full with dry leaf and used boiling hot water. After a five second rinse the leaves now look dark and have a prune and forest aroma. The liquor is fragrant like spiced wine and pours a beautiful amber color. The flavor is pretty sweet with playful little herb and grass peaks. At times it reminds me of a nice Yunnan golden bud black tea (only much lighter). My tasting notes for today's 7 infusion session included sandalwood, Darjeeling tea, and ripe stone fruits. I feel serenity and bliss while drinking this tasty puer tea.
the tea soup