Sacred Mountains 二古茶山生普洱
Our Sacred Mountains Tea is an extraordinary Pu’erh raw. Crafted in the form of a bingcha, a custom disk or “cake,” it is pressed in extremely limited quantity, all are reserved for private collectors. We were fortunate to receive a few of these rare cakes from our respected tea mentor in Beijing. Our mentor prefers remote and small-scale, old grove tea gardens. She is very fond of 小叶种, the small-leaf varietal Pu’erh raw, renowned for its gentle, refined taste and elegant aromas.
Contrasted with 大叶种, the big leaf varietal, this small-leaf varietal is much more elusive and rare. Unlike the Yunnan Big Leaf Varietal, the small-leaf tea is neither commercially hyped nor speculated.
The six ancient tea mountains of Yunnan are 攸乐 You Le, 革登 Ge Deng, 倚邦 Yi Bang, 莽枝 Mangzhi, 蛮砖Manzhuan, and 易武 Yiwu. Sacred Mountains Pu’erh is crafted with tea leaves sourced from two of the most secluded ancient tea mountains, Xikong 习崆 in Yibang 倚邦 and Manzhuan 蛮砖.
Xikong is a very remote, small village in Yibang, located at 1200 meters above sea level. Due to it’s extremely secluded location, its small number of ancient tea gardens are well preserved.
In 2019, we travelled to Yibang, drawn by the ancient town, its remote setting, and the region’s long history for superior Pu’erh tea. Among the six ancient tea mountains, Yibang is located at the highest altitude. It was also the starting point for the Ancient Tea Horse Road, a network of paths connecting the mountains of Sichuan and Yunnan, the physical links to Tibet, Myanmar, Bengal and Laos. I have vivid memories of the long, scenic and seemingly neverending uphill journey to Yibang. It is a tiny, hidden gem of a village, nestled up in the sky, between magnificent mountain ranges.
Nowadays, the small village of Xikong 习崆 is home to only a few indigenous inhabitants. There are a number of rare, ancient tea trees that are scattered among the deep forests in the remote mountains. The mountain hills are steep and rocky; the soil is rich in clay and sand, and these elements create an environment that is ideal for tea trees.
From the remote Xikong terroir, only 100 kilograms of tea are produced for the spring harvest.
The unique characteristic of Pu’erh tea trees from Yibang village is the primitive 小叶种 small varietal trees. Unlike the 云南大叶种 Yunnan big leaf varietal that comprises the majority of standard market Pu’erh tea, the small leaf is an indigenous varietal that has been growing naturally in this remote area for thousands of years. Compared to the big leaf varietal, the buds and leaves are smaller, shorter and rounder. The tea brews to a vibrant yellow-green color, and the taste is distinctive—gentle and refined.
As many of you know, Pu’erh raw is my favorite tea, the one that I drink everyday. As habitually familiar as I am with Pu’erh raw, I was completely astounded by this particular tea. It is simply the most beautiful, elegant, captivating, surprising and delicious Pu’erh raw I have had in recent memory. Upon opening the paper wrapper, I was overwhelmed by the deep aroma of dried tropical fruits: pineapple and mango.
As almost all of the Pu’erh raw I have experienced are the common Yunnan Big-Leaf varietal Pu’erh trees, this is my first encounter with the beautiful sensation in a small-leaf Pu’erh raw.
Xikong Pu’erh has elegant orchid notes and rich, honey undertones. It is soft and gentle but not “thin.” 70% of our Sacred Mountain Pu’erh raw originates from Xikong. The remaining 30% originates from Manzhuan where the Pu’erh is known as being sweet, extremely smooth with strong energy, and a long, lingering sweet aftertaste.
All of these characteristics are very apparent in this beautiful Sacred Mountain Pu’erh. As soon as you take a sip, this tea will captivate you with its elegance, sweetness and strength. It has ingular and elegant floral notes that linger long on the palate.The Chinese phrase used to describe the sensation of the tea liquor is 细腻, the direct translation is fine, intricate, exquisite, smooth, subtle and refined sensibilities. It
The first harvest leaves from this spring, sourced from these two ancient tea gardens, were blended together for this remarkable Pu’erh raw—sweet, floral, deep, powerful, smooth and extremely elegant and refined.
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The key to making this tea is using boiling water. The tea will start out being lighter for the first 2 infusions, until the leaves start to open up in the 3rd infusion. Quick infusions of around 10 seconds. It is best to use a neutral gaiwan to make this tea.
|Steep time||10 - 60 sec|
|No. of infusions||10+|