Master Han's 2012 Sheng Pu'er
Master Han picks wild tea trees in the Qianjiazhai region of the Mount Ailao National Forest Preserve, Yunnan. He takes the utmost care to “let the leaves speak,” pressing each batch of leaves differently to bring out their best, either as a looseleaf sheng, a black tea or a pressed cake or ball of tea.
He works his own land, but is part of the Dongsa farmers cooperative. The cooperative does not pool tea for bulk selling, but rather invests in equipment together so that each farmer can produce their own distinct products with a greater degree of ownership.
This unique 250g brick of tea presents a great opportunity to invest in Mast Han’s craft and age a young pu’er of his. Even with only a year of age, this tea is rich, smooth and complex. The first sips move between citrus and savory, like teff-flour based injera bread, or malted semolina. The sweet aftertaste is crisp like fresh napa cabbage, and the citrus moves towards lime. The darker lingering aftertaste hints at Holy Basil.
In later steepings the body continues to build and has the olive-oil smoothness that is characteristic of Master Han’s finest teas, a true reflection of the Qianjiazhai region. Compare this tea with Master Han’s black tea so that you can see the strong relation between them, especially in the olive oil notes. This sheng is like a fresh unfiltered olive oil- full of green spicy chlorophyl notes, while the black tea is smoother and sweeter like a filtered oil.