2015 yellow flakes from Yiwu area
Fermented in April 2019 by Mr Shi in Pu'er City, 9kg batch
Vibrant fragrance and silky texture
You won't get a particularly thick soup or a strong brew with this tea, it is more suitable for evening sessions, when you don't want too powerful a tea. Its charm is all in the complex fruity fragrance and the silkiness of the soup. It is also fairly endurance and body warming, it's perfect for grandpa style brewing.
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.