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Spring 2019 Yiwu National Forest

  • Medium and small tea trees from Yiwu National Forest
  • April 2019, first flush
  • Hand-processed in Yiwu area
  • Available in 357g pu-erh tea cakes

The China-Laos border that makes the East of the Yiwu terroir consists in vast forests protected by law from conventional agriculture. The terrain is hard: steep hills and hardly practicable dirt roads that are prone to landslides during the rainy season.

Before this area became a national forest, tea was grown there. The gardens were abandoned and remained unattended for a long time. Since the advent of Pu-erh tea culture in China in the early 2000's, the tea makers of Yiwu mountain have been searching for those abandoned gardens and formed hunting parties to explore the forests. The logistics of making such tea can be tricky, in some cases, the tea is processed in the forest in makeshift facilities because the gardens are too remote.

This tea comes from the area, the exact location of the gardens is unknown, it is somewhere at the border, on the Chinese side. Such tea is often given name of famous gardens such as Tong Qing He or Cha Wang Shu, but the area from which they come from is much larger than these famous gardens.

The tea was processed on the redder side, which is common in that area for two reasons:

-the large leaves typical of this area require a longer cooking time than in Menghai or Jingmai

-the remoteness of the gardens makes it hard to protect the fresh leaves during transportation from the gardens to the processing unit. Bruises on the tea leaves trigger early oxidation and make the final tea redder.

A redder processing gives different aroma and more sweetness, but reduces bitterness and change the mouthfeel. This tea has a slow opening and you would find nothing special on the first brew, but it has a great Cha Qi that reveals itself as the session goes. It is a very brewable tea that increases in strength over the many infusions you will make. It is well fitted to a long soothing session, especially if you're sensitive to body feel and like soft and sweet teas.