Leather. The feel, the aroma and the relaxing comfort of a favorite chair. That’s what this tea delivers and in big quantity. Sink in, kick off you shoes and unwind to a few cups.
Aging is one of the biggest factors for Puer teas on the road to balance—balance in flavor, balance in texture and balance in aroma. The ideal weather parameters are based on the high mountain climate in this tea’s birthplace of Menghai, Yunnan Province, which is exactly where this tea aged all 15 years of its life. The silky smoothness, the fine leather and the rich aroma are the rewards of the slow changes occurring during aging. Fermentation is the other critical step in making ripe Puer. Smaller antioxidants bind together to form larger ones which in turn link together and form theaflavins and tannins. Which brings us back to the leather.
Tannins naturally occurring in trees tan the leather used for chairs and give it that classic fragrance. Carefully fermented and aged ripe Puer has similar tannins that contribute to its fragrance and flavor making this a strong connection.
The fermentation process is strikingly similar to the fermenting process that starts cocoa beans on their way to becoming chocolate. That helps to explain the natural affinity this tea has for dark chocolate. Spicy oils, meats and desserts work well too.
The grower and his family are from the Hani ethnic group and have as much skill in the kitchen as they do producing Puer tea. Over the years they taught us a number of traditional cooking techniques (smoked corn individually popped in the hot ashes of a fire) and quite a few fine Hani dishes.
Storage: Store unused portions away from light in a moderately humid area between 70-80F/21-27C.
Brewing water: Earth2O brand mineral water produces the finest results. Soft water, distilled water and hard water will ruin this tea. Tap water varies wildly and is best avoided as well. If you don't have Earth2O water available please see good substitutions on our water page.
Brewing temperature: 99-100C/210-212F
Brewing method: 5g tea leaves (~1” square), 60-100ml (~1/4-1/3 cup) water each time with 2-3 second infusions in a Chinese gaiwan or a small pot. After 5-6 infusions increase the time as desired.
Notes: Small quick infusions showcase the changing flavors of each cup. Longer brewing times in larger quantities of water end up more homogeneous, but still very good results.