This ripe Pu-erh tea (Shu Cha) comes from a relative of Yubai's, she saved a large part of her 2016 harvest during the rainy season and put one metric ton of her tea into the hands of a tea factory dedicated to fermentation in Menghai. That little city is the place where the fermentation process that allows the making of Shu Cha was developed, back in the 1970's. Since then, hundreds of factories built up on that initial knowledge and developed their own techniques.
The taste of ripe pu-erh tea depends more on the fermentation technique than on the raw material, and each fermenting pile will give a different result. A pile typically consists in one or two tons of tea, although recently, micro batches of only 50kg can be fermented. Having one's own tea fermented is always a risky endeavour and, when it succeeds, a source of pride for the tea producers.
While a lot of the ripe pu-erh cakes are blended, this one is made entirely of Jingmai tea. The mouthfeel is smooth and silky, the fragrance is earthy and sweet. It is a gentle ripe Pu-erh that can be brewed a fair amount of steepings and will surely keep you warm during the long winter months.
We used to sell this cake in 2018 and it was very enjoyed by our customers. The producer made more cakes available, they were repacked with our wrappers in 2021. Two years of extra aging in Jingmai have made this tea even more enjoyable.