He Kai Old Tree Sheng

Tea type
Pu-erh Tea
Ingredients
Not available
Flavors
Apricot, Astringent, Bitter, Butter, Clay, Fruity, Green Beans, Hay, Mineral, Mushrooms, Paper, Pear, Plums, Sweet, Tart, Umami, White Grapes, White Wine, Biting, Creamy, Floral, Grass, Honey, Metallic, Thyme
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Caffeine
Not available
Certification
Not available
Edit tea info Last updated by Togo
Average preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 30 sec 5 g 3 oz / 80 ml

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3 Tasting Notes View all

  • “This was my first puerh from Jalam Teas, courtesy of Togo. I performed some cursory browsing of the website. What I gleaned is that this company does a monthly subscription box with one-100g...” Read full tasting note
  • “It’s been a year since I started this little storage experiment with my two identical cakes of He Kai sheng from Jalam Teas. One of them is stored in the “natural” Canadian storage in my living...” Read full tasting note

From JalamTeas

He Kai Old Tree Sheng (Raw) Puerh
Region: Bulang Mountain Township, Menghai County, Yunnan
Type: Mid-Altitude Puerh (1500 meters)
Harvest: Spring 2018
Harvesters: Lahu, Hani, and Dai minorities
Bud heavy with some serious ‘qi’ energy force, this is a tea that will open up with subtle power

This is one of our first of our new ‘Old Tree’ offerings that we’re going to be putting out there for our subscription series. We’ve long wanted to have Spring offerings of old or ancient trees on offer for our monthly subscribers and this is a gentle beginning of that. The present offering is from old trees (approximately 100 years old) and from a Spring 2018 harvest from a region long famed for the big leaf Yunnan Puerh family.

Older trees give the basis for a generally softer but longer set of notes with far more layers than a younger bush. These trees are part of a set of entire forests which have never been sprayed or fertilized. The clay heavy soils of the region with their tell tale orange and reddish tones contribute much in the way of mineral content and ultimate flavours. We’ve long offered medium aged bushes from the region and now with this present He Kai it gives an opportunity to offer up the same raw materials and soil type, within a far more complex and robust tea. The older teas are ‘milder’ and less astringent or bitter than their younger cousins.

The He Kai region encompasses not simply a plot of land but rather a series of villages that dot an entire north-facing section of the greater Bulang Mountain range. The area is known for forests that are rich in medicinal herbs and voracious parasitic (and beautiful) orchids. Locals often refer to the region as the ‘hills of orchid” and many of the old tea trees have the telltale vines of orchids fused on to branches.

This Spring offering comes from plots of forest that are approximately 1500 metres high near the village of Man Ngoi. Lahu, Hani, and Dai people all occupy the region, though the Hani and Lahu are more common as the Dai are more common in the valleys. In the case of this tea, it is a cooperative effort. Lahu and Hani harvest the leaves from the trees and the Dai produce the leaves.

Spring teas are almost always the most coveted, as their leaves have developed more slowly over the cooler winter season. Though not necessarily superior, the prices and desire for such Spring harvests are higher in almost every region that produces tea.

Break open your cake and you will see a slightly heavier light colored bud count. These end buds contribute subtle floral notes as well as much of the vegetal bite. The larger, darker leaves give a baseline strength from which the lighter buds can contribute more of the soils’ real essence.

We’re delighted to offer this old tree He Kai offering up just in time for the crazy season. This tea carries some serious strength and energy so do play with the infusion times based on the below guidelines. This tea will give you considerably more infusions than its medium age bushes so there is some serious sipping to be done. Enjoy this old tree offering.

About JalamTeas View company

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3 Tasting Notes

542 tasting notes

This was my first puerh from Jalam Teas, courtesy of Togo. I performed some cursory browsing of the website. What I gleaned is that this company does a monthly subscription box with one-100g puerh cake. Sale of that specific tea is reserved first for subscription members and later opened to the public. The club costs $19/mo + shipping and handling of CAD $3, USD $5, International $6. Seems like a viable option for sippers wanting to explore the puerh-producing villages at a reasonable and focused pace; however most of the tea offered is young sheng and as evidenced by this tea, it is not something I could immediately drink 100g of in a month. The 100g cake size might not appeal to people looking to store sheng puerh for the long-term.

That said, I found this to be a nice sheng to drink on a warm afternoon. I can see where this tea would be heading in a year but I’m not experienced enough to determine a more distant future. It has the hallmarks of a young sheng that will supposedly store well: the bitterness and astringency come to the forefront after the first 4 to 5 steeps.

Otherwise, it starts off with a very fruity profile with Menghai characteristics, the county in which Hekai is located. Sour moving to sweet plum is the dominant note in aroma and taste for several steeps and it lingers long in the nose. There is also a strong umami and whisper of smoke that present early. It reminds me of a Greek dish called kreas me fasolakia, or beef with green beans, a dish seared then stewed with tomato sauce. That fades out before the astringency and bitterness come in strong. But before their arrival, other tastes move through including yellow pear/skin, minerals and butter. The aftertaste is fruity, quick to arrive and everlong, starting with plums and moving to white grapes, semi-sweet white wine, and buttery apricot. The mouthfeel in the first few steeps is satisfying — it’s almost syrupy and coating yet very buoyant in the mouth… again like wine. Returning sweetness is decent and of course gets stronger as the bitterness comes out.

The understated powerful energy of this tea slowly crept in and damn if I didn’t feel heavy. An intense craving for pizza overtook me, as a strong young sheng commands: “Get some food in that belly!” So I went to Round Table, had a huge salad, a thin crust veggie pizza and a beer then came home to watch Jeopardy. Good way to wind down the work week. Overall, this He Kai Old Tree Sheng is a nice tea with potential and I would like to store a cake for a year before trying again.

Edited to add a song: Foo Fighters — Everlong
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eBG7P-K-r1Y

Flavors: Apricot, Astringent, Bitter, Butter, Clay, Fruity, Green Beans, Hay, Mineral, Mushrooms, Paper, Pear, Plums, Sweet, Tart, Umami, White Grapes, White Wine

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 7 g 3 OZ / 100 ML
mrmopar

I have thought about this club myself. Sounds like good sourcing.

derk

Yes, it’s tempting and affordable at $0.24/g incl shipping.

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442 tasting notes

It’s been a year since I started this little storage experiment with my two identical cakes of He Kai sheng from Jalam Teas. One of them is stored in the “natural” Canadian storage in my living space (I will call this one the “dry” one), the other one together with all the other cakes in a controlled environment (which I will refer to as the “humid” one). Let’s see what the difference is, if any, after one year.

From the very start, there is a startling difference in terms of the aroma. The “dry” version has a strong creamy, sweet, grassy, and milky scent, while the leaves of the “humid” version smell flowery with notes of honey and breckland thyme. The two are really quite different, but neither seems ‘better’ per se.

The humid one has a very slightly darker liquor and is less green in the leaves. The next significant difference comes about in the taste. The profiles are not that different, but the dry tea has a short finish, and is more subdued and metallic in general. The humid version has a much more pronounced taste with a stronger huigan. It is grassy with a biting finish and a sweet, cooling aftertaste. The late infusions seems to be more similar overall.

As for the mouthfeel, I’d say the humid tea thicker body, is more astringent and has a more distinctively creamy and lubricating texture.

It’s hard to extract any significant conclusion from this session, but at the very least it doesn’t make me disassemble my pu’er storage solutions :D

Flavors: Biting, Bitter, Creamy, Floral, Grass, Honey, Metallic, Sweet, Thyme

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 15 sec 4 g 2 OZ / 50 ML
Rich

This is great intelligence. What are your pumidor parameters?

Togo

Generally between 62% and 68% in relative humidity (recently sheng seems to be stabilized at 62 and shou at 66) and temperature averages somewhere around 22°C (I don’t use any additional heating at the moment).

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