OMG. Wow. This is one of those teas that open everything up. The dry leaf had that ancient aroma that is absolutely mindbending. My first thoughts after a quick steep were that I am going to be in for more than a treat. Very true. The aroma that hit me at first seemed to be of anise if it were locked away for 15 years. This is true of the flavor too. It is giving me those awesome tea chills. It is so full of ancient flavor yet it is very clean and inspiring. Teas like this really open your mind, body and soul. Everything seems more intense. Music, I am listening to The Chieftains " The Bells of Dublin ", an album I have heard a hundred times before and all of a sudden I am hearing it as if it was the first time. Teas like this will take you on a journey. An escape from the humdrum. To another time and another place….
Grand Shou Pu-erh 1997
In the mid-1980s, we imported a rich shou pu-erh we called simply “Grand Pu-erh”. It was the tea that we weaned our pu-erh connoisseurs on. In 2006, with only a small amount left, we decided to reserve that original Grand Pu-erh for our personal collection.
In 2008, we found a tea that we felt could hold up to the reputation of the original Grand. Harvested in 1997 and aged for over a decade, the new Grand Pu-erh comes from the tea mountains of Yunnan Province. It was crafted as a “shou” tea, which means the maocha (or “raw tea”) was taken through a process of controlled accelerated fermentation. The acceleration increased the rate of aging and in the process created a rich, malty tea.
The intial aroma is one of fresh earth and malt. Brewed, the tea exhibits an underlying sweetness and clarity of flavor that is surprisingly delicious, with a complex finish that reflects its dry storage.