- Shifu, tell me about the Tribute tea. What makes a tea so special to become a gift to our supreme Emperor?
- Here, take a sip of this Tribute Tea, young one. It took many generations' work and dedication to craft its unique flavor. Sweet and mellow, it is like a walk in Menghai's ancient forests after rainfall. It smells like the wildflowers blooming on the slopes of Bulang mountain. And if you're patient, the final brews will reveal its precious sweetness. A gift worthy of our Emperor, the Son of Heaven!
The "Tribute Tea" Ripe Pu-erh Tea Cake is compact, with clean, rounded edges. The dry leaves are golden to deep brown, with visible buds on the surface. The tea soup has a medium body, pure taste and a slowly evolving aroma. The first few infusions start off fruity and light. Gradually, the mouthfeel gets thicker and fuller. More earthy notes emerge on later infusions. The taste, however, never gets heavy. The throat is long, with a pleasantly sweet finish.
Farmers used traditional methods to produce this Ripe Pu-erh Tea Cake. First, they stack the sun-dried maocha onto large piles - sometimes weighing up to three tons. They then sprinkle the tea leaves with water. At the same time, they control the levels of moisture and temperature. It gives birth to various microflora that start to decompose and transform the tea leaves' inner content. At the same time, workers occasionally mix and turn the leaves. This way, they avoid the excessive temperature rise inside the pile - otherwise, the fermentation will occur too quickly. It can void the leaves of their nutrients, at the same time giving them a burnt taste and lifeless aroma. After a period of 40-60 days, workers compress the tea leaves in different forms (like cakes) and put them for further storage and aging.
Bulang Mountain is an iconic area in pu-erh tea history. It holds a special meaning for the connection between man and tea. The local Bulang minority claims to live here for at least 1 800 years. Reputedly they are the ones who started cultivating tea for the first time in human history. Due to the specific terroir of the area, the local Pu-erh has a unique "Menghai" flavor (Menghai Yun – 孟海韵). Famous tea-producing stockade villages cover the mountainous hills, scattered among ancient tea tree forests. From ancient times, the tea from these mountains embarked on a long journey on the Ancient Tea and Horse Road. For millennia, it was equally precious as a gift to the Imperial Palace and a trading commodity of crucial importance, catering to the border minorities and maintaining the peace in the vast empire. Today, the locally produced premium tea is sought-after throughout China and among tea connoisseurs worldwide.
- Place of Origin: Menghai, Bulang Mountain, Xishuangbanna, Yunnan, China
- Altitude: 1800m
- Harvest Date: April 2012
- Picking Standard: One bud with two leaves
- Aroma: Light fruity scent
- Taste: Sweet, fruity taste that develops slowly and transforms with each infusion. Sweet finish. Medium body.
- Varietal: Menghai large-leaf (勐海大叶种)
212℉ / 100℃
1g per 80ml 3-5min
1g per 20ml Rinse. 10sec + 5sec for each subsequent infusion