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Bing Dao Village Sheng (un-fermented) Pu-erh Mini Beeng Cha

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Sheng (un-fermented) Pu-erh

 

Bing Dao Village Mini Beeng Cha

 

Appearance: blend of dark and silvery grey leaf
Flavor: delicate but long lasting with a lot of mineral richness.
Aroma: sweet, clean woodsy aroma
Liquor: pale golden/ green

 

Stone pressed village tea production
Wrapped in handmade paper

 

Bing Dao Village
Shuangjiang County, Lincang Prefecture
Yunnan Province, China

2012 Spring Pluck
(4-years aged)

Note on Steeping Pu-erh:

 

Pu-erh is traditionally ‘rinsed’ before being steeped. This is done with a quick application of hot water that is poured over the tea in the gaiwan or teapot and then immediately discarded. The rinse water is not drunk – its purpose is to help the leaves begin to open during steeping. Use additional appropriately-heated water for the 1st steeping and subsequent re-steepings.

 

Western-style steeping in a medium-large sized teapot 25-32 ounces:

 

Carefully scrape the tea cake to loosen the leaves.
Use 2 teaspoons (3 grams) of tea per 6 oz water
Use water that is 200°F – 210°F
Rinse the tea in your teapot with a quick application of hot water
Immediately discard this liquid
Add additional hot water to start the 1st steeping
Steep for 3-4 minutes
Re-steep this leaf 1-2 additional times

 

Asian-style steeping in a small teapot under 10 oz or in a gaiwan:

 

Use 1 Tablespoon to 1.5 Tablespoons (6 grams) of tea per 6 oz water
Scale up for a 10 oz tea steeping vessel
Use water that is 200°F-210°F
Rinse the tea in your teapot with a quick application of hot water
Immediately discard this liquid
Add additional hot water to start the 1st steeping
Steep for 25 seconds
Increase the steeping time an additional 5 to 10 seconds with each re-steep
Re-steep this leaf 4-6 times (or more!)

 

Unlike most other tea, Pu-erh is made from mao cha and not directly from fresh leaf.

 

So what is mao cha? Mao cha is a simple ‘rough’ manufacture of leaf materials that consists of:

 

plucking
withering (indoors and or outdoors)
firing
rolling & shaping
sun-drying

 

Mao cha is considered both finished tea and half-made tea. It is essentially young sheng Pu-erh and is drunk by villagers in Yunnan as well as being the leaf that all forms of Pu-erh are made from. Mao cha is simple to manufacture but is complex in its diversity.

 

Mao cha can be made from the fresh leaf of one tea garden or be a blend of leaf from an entire tea village or from several tea producing villages within one county.  Mao cha can be stored and aged after it is made, or it can be a new blend that is comprised of aged mao cha from different years. It is found in a variety of leaf sizes, too, depending on the location of the tea trees and on the type of local cultivars (size of the leaf)  the mao cha was made from. Mao cha is a great example of the effects of terroir.

 

As you can see, the possibilities and resulting flavors of mao cha are almost endless. All of these variables result in a staggering choice of available mao cha for Pu-erh producers to work with.

Bing Dao Village is located at the farthest north regions of Pu-erh tea production in Yunnan. The weather there stays relatively cool due to the high elevation of this village at roughly 6,000 feet.

This tea comes from a tea garden where the tea trees grow naturally (sheng tai) – no pesticides are used. The tea trees are over 100 years old and produce good quality leaves. Because Bing Dao Village is in a relatively isolated location, the mao cha ( raw materials ) for making Pu-erh are not in high demand as raw materials are in the more famous tea producing areas of Yunnan. So, most of these raw materials are pressed by the village without being blended with other teas from other areas. This means that the taste and style of this Pu-erh is true to the place of origin (terroir).

This is a delicious beeng cha that has a delicate flavor. There is a slight bitterness to the taste on first sip that changes to a mellow sweetness by the 3rd infusion. The taste is long lasting and the tea liquor has a lot of chewy, mineral richness. The aroma of the dried cake is sweet and clean.

Note:
Sheng Pu-erh is also known as ‘un-cooked’ or ‘raw’ Pu-erh. It is the un-fermented version of Pu-erh.

Sheng Pu-erh is un-fermented tea when it is young but microbial activity on the leaf will allow the tea to slowly ferment over time when the tea is kept under good storage conditions. Sheng Pu-erh can be drunk now or stored for years to allow this slow microbial transformation of the tea to turn the tea into something rich and full. Similar to young wines that will, over time, transform into much more substantial wines, Sheng Pu-erh is prized by collectors and tea enthusiasts for this ability to age and improve over time.