If you're a pu-erh tea enthusiast, you must have heard of Jinggu. If not, it's time to try it.
The naming system in Yunnan can be confusing at times. Jinggu is the name of a country, just like Menghai. It is also the name of the largest city in the county. To add to this, there is another Jinggu in Jinggu county, it is a small town North of the county capital, therefore we call it 'small Jinggu' or Xiao Jinggu.
When we talk about Jinggu tea, we usually refer to Xiao Jinggu tea, because the town is surrounded by fairly famous mountains and villages. The town is bordered in the west by a large mountain range.
Tang Fang Liang Zi is the largest mountain of the range, and this is where this tea comes from.
Jinggu produces a massive amount of tea, most of it is low quality pesticide laden plantations whose leaves look impressive but which give nothing worth to the avid tea drinker. You'll find these large hairy buds all over the market, declined in white, black and green tea.
This is not the tea we're talking about here. The leaves from this cake grow in the forest of Tang Fang Liang Zi Mountain and come from old trees, which aren't of the same varietal as the one used for the fancy looking teas (that one is clonal and is called Da Bai Cha, or 'Big White Tea').
The raw material is of good quality and tastes natural, just like good yiwu teas. Yet, not everyone will like it. The tea maker made a drastic choice: he processed the tea in a very green style in order to bring out the fragrance of the tea.
This is a dangerous game to play when making pu-erh tea. By cooking the tea too dry or too hot, you might destroy all the enzymes and make your leaves a green tea. I don't think this tea reached such an unfortunate state, but the leaves in the wok surely broke a sweat.
The result is a high-pitched fragrance and a punchy mouthfeel. The raw material of this area is not naturally aggressive, this is more of an Yiwu-like soft area. It delivers the sweetness and the relaxing body feel without having to confront your taste buds to, sometimes painful, bitterness.
If you're an Yiwu tea lover, I think you will enjoy this one. If you liked our Ao Ne Me cakes, this one will touch your heart. There is something 'natural' in the taste of this tea, which I would attribute to the quality of the material more than to the processing. When brewed gongfu style, you'll probably be hooked on the smell at the bottom of the pitcher, make sure you don't get your big nose stuck between the glass walls, you would look silly.