Autumn 2018 Ancient garden leaves from Jingmai Mountain
Fermented in December 2018 by Mr Shi in Pu'er City, 8.3kg batch
Creamy and full bodied with intense fragrance
This is one of the only ripe Pu-erh we've ever had that truly retains the Jingmai character. You'll get a refined and complex fragrance in this tea, coupled with a silky and creamy texture.
As you know, we're very picky with Shu Pu-erh, and even more when one should represent Jingmai mountain. The tea was not made by us, but it surely is a good one and we're happy to offer it here.
Mr Shi is a retired professor who spends his free time studying pu-erh tea fermentation. Most of the ripe Pu-erh tea you will find on the market is fermented in big piles that range from 500kg to 10 tons. After spraying water on the leaves, the pile heats up due to microbial activity. Since the pile is big and lays in an basic hangar without temperature control, the heat is not evenly spread in the pile. The surface is colder than the core. This temperature gradient leads to differences in microbial activity, you can see several layers on which different microorganisms thrive. In order to allow an even fermentation, the pile has to be shuffled several times throughout the five to six weeks long fermentation.
Mr Shi uses a different approach. He puts 10kg of leaves in a large basket. This won't be enough to generate significant heat, instead, temperature is controlled in the room. This allows for a more accurate fermentation temperature and a homogeneous batch. No need to shuffle the tea during the fermentation. This technique also allows a finer control of the humidity and water content inside the leaves.
As a result, the leaves are better preserved and look closer to the original tea than by using the conventional fermentation technique. Fermenting small quantities also allows for higher quality material to be used, and therefore finer and more diverse tasting profiles.
The micro-batch technique allows for more unique ripe pu-erh teas to be made, which remain true to their terroir of origin.