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Master Han's Wild-Picked 2013 Yabao

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From Verdant Tea (Special)

Reserve Club – July

Every month or two, one of Master Han’s incredible teas makes its way into the reserve club. This is because we believe that he is a true representation Yunnan tea culture at its best. Yunnan is one of the most bio-diverse places on earth, and the tea trees grow wild in the forests among other trees and plants. The high elevation, cool weather and remoteness make Yunnan one of the most perfect places on earth to grow tea.

Master Han recognizes this, and applies a deep respect for the land to what he does. Living in the middle of the Mt Ailao national forest preserve, and spearheading the organization of the Dongsa farmers cooperative, Master Han wild-picks his tea. Every harvest will be carefully evaluated and made into whatever fits it best, from looseleaf sheng, to black tea, to tuochas.

Usually once or twice a year, Master Han finds a perfect opportunity to pick several of the hard-encased tea shoots (little baby branches more than buds). Careful picking of these is what makes yabao tea. Master Han’s yabao is unlike any other yabao we have ever seen. This is why it is one of the only teas we have re-introduced to the Reserve Club at a later harvest to compare the uniqueness of each picking.

This yabao can be steeped out almost indefinitely, yielding a light but incredibly deep brew with woody earthy notes, pine and fir tree flavor and sparkling sweetness. Taste this tea, and you are tasting Master Hans Forest.

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2 Tasting Notes

1856 tasting notes

Sipdown, 128. Ah, yabao. I know when I drink it, I am going to be drinking a forest.

It is gross out today, hot and humid. I want my fall weather, dammit. I thought maybe drinking a piney forest would be cooling. First sip of the first steep is interesting! Not as piney as I was expecting. Actually very smooth, creamy, and a bit sweet. Notes of green leaves, but not entirely in a savory way. Like kale ice cream or something, although that sounds horrible. This is not, and I’m surprised that I am enjoying it as much as I am. This yabao reminds me more of the silver buds yabao than of the older yabao that came previously in the reserve club.

A few steeps in it loses the sweetness and becomes more leafy, but it’s never as earthy, woody, or piney as I expected. This was a really interesting and lovely tea, and one I’m really glad I got a chance to try.

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2517 tasting notes

We’ve been having problems with our internet for a few days, & today especially. I don’t know if it’s due to the polarity shift that the Sun is going through, or what, but I haven’t been online much, & when I have been it seems to get interrupted about the time I start to do something, so this will be short (plus I’m feeling a little grumpy & little Terri needs a nap, although there won’t be time for that either).

I have to admit it. I’m just not really into Yabao. I have a bunch of it here too. I’ll pull some out once in awhile, run through a few steepings, but it doesn’t really hold my attention for very long. It’s just not that interesting. Master Han’s Yabao is at least more interesting than the others, it’s got an amazing dark lacquered look to it, & more flavor, but it’s just not really what I want right now. I only drank it because it’s the last selection from the tea club for July, and the Aug club package is on it’s way. I did make it through 6 Gaiwan steepings I think, & then dumped it into a larger cup, filled it with hot water, & put it in the frig. I’ll leave it there until later & see how that comes out.

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