Once upon a time a young monk came to Lao Cha and said:
— Shifu, pu-erh gives us energy, warmth, and strength. It’s incredible! Although sometimes just having energy is not enough, and I want a sense of celebration. How can I reach this?
The wise master answered:
— Celebration is felt in the scent and taste of tangerines. If you want the pu-erh to be filled with a sense of celebration, we have to dig the pulp out of the tangerine, dry the peel, and fill it up with tea. That way it can become filled with the pleasant aroma and healthy qualities of the citrus. And so, that was what they did.
This unusual "Golden Horse" Ripe Chen Pi Pu-erh 8685 tea from Menghai County is made of ripe pu-erh tea leaves with Chen Pi (陈皮) – the Chinese term for the dried peel of an orange or a tangerine.
Chen Pi is a go-to remedy in Traditional Chinese Medicine. The combination of pu-erh and the tangerine peel has been around for hundreds, if not thousands of years. Chenpi is said to balance the Qi (气), the vital energy flowing through the body. It fights inflammations and has a powerful effect on coughs and sore throat. Chinese believe it drives away excessive cold and dampness, particularly one that accumulates in the lungs. That makes it a recommended cure for people prone to bronchial infections. It is also good for the stomach and helps with digestion, just like pu-erh! Chenpi also regulates the mood, the Qi's mental dimension.
To make this tea, farmers first scrape out the pulp of tangerine. They then fill the hollow skin with ripe pu-erh leaves. After that, some would slowly bake the stuffed tangerine skin on a low fire for up to 26 hours. Another method is to wrap the tangerine peel carefully in a cloth and let it naturally dry and age. Some Chenpi can age for 10, 15, or more years. Like aged pu-erh, they become sought-after collector's items or are taken as powerful medicines.
By combining the characteristics of these two different plants, the tea maker creates a rich and unique flavor. The invigorating citrus notes blend with pu-erh's mild earthiness and sweetness. The layered yet balanced taste balances the mood and brings a peaceful, grounding feeling. The clear, intense red-orange tea liquor exudes a delicate yet refreshing fragrance. To control the citrus notes in your tea, we recommend you experiment with the amount of Chen Pi pieces in the teapot.
For this Chenpi, we used ripe pu-erh from Bulang mountain. It is an area of utmost importance for the connection between man and tea. The local Bulang minority claims to dwell here for at least 1 800 years. Reputedly they are the ones who started cultivating tea for the first time in human history. The pu-erh from Bulang mountain has a unique "Menghai" flavor (勐海韵) due to the specific terroir of the area. Famous tea-producing stockade villages are scattered among ancient tea tree forests on the hills of the mountain. The premium tea produced here is sought-after throughout China and among tea connoisseurs worldwide.
212℉ / 100℃
6g per 500ml + 2g of peel 3-5min
5g per 120ml + 1g of peel 10sec + 10sec for each subsequent infusion