Here's a tea you won't find anywhere else. Awa Bancha is only made in one small prefecture in Japan, and is barely known even in Japan. It goes through a unique lacto-fermentation process that yields a tea like no other.
The uniqueness of this tea starts at the plucking, which takes place in the summer, when the leaves have grown large and hardened. Every leaf is stripped from the branches, so each year the whole plant re-grows and there is only one harvest each year. From there, the leaves are boiled to soften them and make them more pliable. They are then rolled, similar to an oolong, but then packed into fermentation jars, and covered with banana leaves and heavy rocks to soak in their own juices. Because the tea is harvested so late, the leaves have a higher sugar content, which increases the fermenation that occurs. About a month later, the leaves are removed and air-dried.
The result is a drink that is slightly sour, sweet, and tangy depending on how you steep it. It is incredibly versatile and can be boiled over a fire to get the medicinal properties, or steeped more delicately to extract the sweeter notes. Awa Bancha's nickname used to be "peasant's tea" because it was typically boiled and every leaf was used, unlike other teas.
The flavor is best suited for those who love pickles, sauerkraut and all things probiotic. It is great for the gut and the more you drink it, the more your body will crave its effects.
Plucked from wild trees growing high on Ai Lao Mountain, this loose leaf shou cha is perfect as an introduction to puerh or as a refreshing breather for the afficionado. It has been sorted to include only the tips and has an effect that is clarifying and uplifting.
The first steep yields a bright and vivid infusion, with each consecutive cup reaching deeper notes of the leaf. The mineral content of the soil is prevalent in the cup with bright, energizing notes of copper, and grounding undertones of cocoa and damp earth. The liquor has a silky mouthfeel and leaves a lasting coolness in the throat, unusual for a tea of this style.
This loose puerh from Mangjing village is made up of leaf from several family's efforts to combine all of the old growth and feral tea growing in the mountains. The fog-covered hills are home to an incredible range of biodiversity, in which tea plants thrive in the mineral-rich soil that feeds the local ecosystem.
This tea was plucked and pile-fermented in 2015, and has been evolving in the years it has been aging. The liquor is a rich umber with a strong peat-like aroma. Each sip allows you to explore the depth and variety of flavors present in the leaf, from chocolate, to earth, wood, and notes of spice. The leaves can be re-steeped all day long and their warmth and smoothness have the effect of cultivating an inner, grounded energy.
These sheng (raw puerh) pearls are hand rolled into 7g servings from the mao cha we used to press our cakes in 2018. If you aren't ready to commit to a whole cake, or like the ease of having pre-weighed portions, this is a great option.
These pearls comprise first-flush, pre-rain tips which were plucked in 2018 from strictly old growth, wild trees and have a lot going on. Best when flash steeped repeatedly, this tea is like a slow drip of energy, and really can steep all day. The aroma is fresh, bright and incredibly floral. When sipped, the tea leads with an intense burst that is at once dry and silky, leaving a cooling sensation in your throat. The flavor is verdant with notes of dried apricot, and the astringency is beginning to smooth out and embrace it's inner earthiness in the years it's been aging.
These pearls will only get better over time and supplies are limited.
This interesting tea is grown in Hunan and processed in a similar way as sheng puerh. The leaves are plucked in the spring, withered, fired, and rolled. But what sets this tea apart is the roughly 2 months of repetitive low-heat smoking that the leaves undergo afterwards. The result is a bright, energizing tea with a tannic overtone, contrasting with the earthen wood smoke that is most prominent in the first few steeps.
Plucked in 2016, the leaves have aged beautifully in bamboo baskets which have allowed the flavors to interact seamlessly. This tea has a cult following in the shop!
We are honored to offer you this tea. These 200g cakes are a community effort to interlace feral and old growth tea from around the village and mountains of Mangjing. The leaves were plucked and fermented in 2015 and have since developed into an incredible tea which we had pressed in 2019. The aroma is thick and earthen, yielding to a deep chocolate liquor with an incredible velvety mouthfeel. Each sip leaves traces of cacao, berries and peat all the way down to your stomach, where it fosters an internal warmth and grounding energy.
The village of Mangjing is situated in the ancient tea-producing Jingmai Mountain range and is home to the Bee Immortal Tree, central to the village's agricultural calendar. The immense banyan tree is draped in dozens of beehives, which are closely watched throughout the year. When the majority of bees return in the spring, it is the signal to begin plucking the tea trees.
This tea is a decadent shou cha that can be steeped all day long and still present new flavors. The roots of these trees tap into so many layers of minerals in the rich soil, that each steep unveils new depth and complexities.
Picked and processed in the 1990s, this shou puerh was processed in Menghai and dry stored in Kunming ever since. The leaves are plucked from feral tea trees and have not been compressed. Dry storage has allowed the tea to develop its fermentation slowly, preserving much of the energetic and flavor characteristics within the tea. The aroma is earthy and warm and it steeps to an impressively smooth soup. The flavors are rich but are able to stand out without becoming muddled or dirty. Soft undertones of driftwood lay the base while a clean earthen flavor takes center stage. The tea finishes with warm hints baked clay and moss and leave behind a refreshed palate and an open airway and chest. Only a small quantity of this tea is available.
Origin: Yunnan, China
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It's not uncommon to see puerh stuffed into citrus to age. In fact, it's a practice that's been around for a long time. However, it can be hard to find a good quality ripe puerh, and even harder to find one that retains the citrus scent even after aging.
We were very happy to find these tiny oranges. Not only are they the perfect 10g size to fit in a teapot, they're stuffed with an exceptional puerh. In 2017 the tea was plucked on Ai Lao Mountain by the same farmer who makes our Wild Forest Tips. The leaves are all a uniform size and very tippy. After fermenting, the tea was allowed to age for 2 years, allowing it to rest, develop its flavor and settle after cooking. In early spring, 2019 the tiny oranges were picked in Xinhui, Guangdong, an incredibly fertile area that sits where the river meets the sea. After being stuffed the puerh is allowed to sit in the sun for 3 days, further bringing out the citrus oil before being baked and wrapped
The result of the process is a wonderful union of rich, bold and earthy puerh, highlighted by bright citrus flavor. The liquor is very clean, and doesn't steep murky. While the citrus has maintained it's flavor throughout the aging process, it doesn't overpower the tea, thus allowing both flavor profiles to intermingle seamlessly.
These are the second cakes Blue Willow commissioned. The first-flush, pre-rain tips were plucked in 2018 from strictly old growth, wild trees and have a lot going on. Best when flash steeped repeatedly, this tea is like a slow drip of energy, and really can steep all day. The aroma is fresh, bright and incredibly floral. When sipped, the tea leads with an intense burst that is at once dry and silky, leaving a cooling sensation in your throat. The flavor is verdant with notes of dried apricot, and the fresh astringency is beginning to smooth out and embrace it's earthiness in the years it's been aging.
These cakes will only get better over time and supplies are limited.
The perfect combo for any puerh lover. These two exceptional puerhs are both plucked from wild tea trees and pile-fermented. However, one was picked and processed in the 1990's and one was harvested in 2018. See for yourself how the process of storing and aging changes the flavors and body of the tea.
This set includes 2 oz. each of the Wild Forest Tips and the Feral Tree Puerh packed in the gift box shown. Every part of the packaging is compostable. Discounts are automatic when you buy multiples, and don't forget you can easily ship these to multiple friends at checkout!
If you love your tea in round shapes, this is the set for you. One ripe and one raw puerh, so you can compare and contrast the different fermentation styles. The shou puerh is stuffed into tiny oranges and the sheng puerh is rolled into dragon pearls. Each pearl and orange is the perfect size for steeping a single pot.
This set includes 2 oz. each of the Dragon Pearls and the Tiny Orange Puerh packed in the gift box shown. Every part of the packaging is compostable. Discounts are automatic when you buy multiples, and don't forget you can easily ship these to multiple friends at checkout!