White Pu-Erh (Shou - Spring 2015)
The finished cup is superb, weaving sweetish layers that hint at musk, earth, damp moss, leaves after rain and subtle orchid leading to a light lingering finish – a stunning tea. (We put this one in the life-altering category!)
With a 5000-year-old product like tea, developments are always news. While pu-erhs have been around for centuries, white pu-erh only appeared in marketable quantities around the year 2000 – at the time, big news! Before 2000, white teas of any sort were produced in such limited quantities that to even dream of experimenting with them was unheard of. Certainly, extremely small quantities of white pu-erh had been produced in the past, but these were generally scooped up by the cream of Chinese society, government officials or tea loving high rollers in Hong Kong and Macau. This all changed with the democratization of the Chinese economy. This development saw a rise in the overall standard of living in China and with it, new interest in rare specialty teas. These rare teas, white pu-erh among them, are generally only produced for the internal market. From time to time however, they can be purchased and brought over to the West. (The trick is to be in the right place at the right time.) We're thrilled to have been at the right time and place for the release of this tea.
Picked in the spring of 2015, artisans hand select the buds and top leaf of the broad-leafed white tea genus. Next, the crop is piled on a table and selected leaf by leaf for perfect color and form. The tea is then fermented very mildly and hand sorted a second time. [Now, we'll stop for a moment. Fermented white tea? Yes. In order to be officially labeled as pu-erh, even traditionally unfermented teas, (white varieties included), must be fermented. According to the Bureau of Standard Measurement of Yunnan Province, pu-erh teas are officially: "products fermented from green tea of big tea leaves picked within Yunnan Province.” After fermentation, the tea is pressed into traditional pu-erh molds, steamed, packaged and stored.