We buy directly from one grower in Lao Ban Zhang who upholds her families traditional growing and finishing techniques while refusing to compromise quality.
That area's tea is so famous it is called the 'King of Puer Tea' in China as it elicits the strongest bodily reaction, changes the most with each year of storage and has the highest increase in value for collectors. After multiple infusions, make sure to boil the tea for 1 minute in sufficient water to cover and you will get yet another take on the legendary tea.
Her completely wild 700-800 year old trees have thousands of wild orchids which bloom during the spring harvest growing on or near the tea trees making her tea even more unique. The flavor packs full-bodied fruitiness, the requisite fast melting spike of bitterness and of course wild orchids.
She doesn't cut corners to increase yield--no mixing in tea from Lao Ban Pen or Xin Ban Zhang, no mixing in tea from young trees and no mixing in tea picked after the first spring harvest. How were we so fortunate to find such a great grower? Like most fortuitous events in China it was due to relations. One of our favorite family owned restaurants in Xishuangbanna introduced us to a tea grower friend of theirs. We grew close to this fantastic grower over the years and she then introduced us to her childhood friend who has the ancient Lao Ban Zhang trees. To wrestle free a small amount of this very limited 13 year old tea though we made a promise which will be fulfilled in about 15 years. Certainly looking forward to it.
To ensure the highest quality drinking experience and maximum nutritional value, we keep all of our white and Puer teas in proper temperature and humidity controlled professional storage.
Storage: Store unused portions away from sunlight and odors in a moderately humid area between 70-80F/21-27C.
Brewing water: Poland Spring (called Origin Brand in some areas) brand mineral water produces the finest results. See water recommendation list for additional options. Soft water, distilled water and hard water will ruin this tea. Tap water varies wildly and is best avoided as well.
Brewing method: 5g tea leaves (~2 heaping Tablespoons), 100ml (a bit less than 1/2 cup) water each time for 5 seconds in a Chinese gaiwan or a small pot. After the first 10 infusions, increase each infusion time by about 5 seconds. To produce lighter tea, either decrease amount of tea, increase amount of water or decrease brewing time. To produce stronger tea, either increase amount of tea, decrease amount of water or increase brewing time. You can easily adjust to suit your individual taste.
Notes: Small quick infusions showcase the changing flavors of each cup. Longer brewing times in larger quantities of water (western brewing style) end up more homogeneous, but still very good results.