About this harvest:
This batch is from an early harvest of Ya Bao from the Spring, 2011 season. The buds are small compared to later harvests, and the flavor is unbelievably fresh and clean.
Full Product Details:
Ya Bao literally means “Bud Treasure.” This white style tea is composed entirely of hand picked tender young buds from a wild growing varietal of Camellia specific to the Yunnan/Myanmar border region. Sometimes referred to as “Ye Sheng” or “wild” tea by indigenous populations, this is not a Camellia varietal traditionally used in the manufacture of Pu Erh tea; however, Xiaguan tea factory regularly produces compressed teas incorporating both leaf and bud materials from this varietal.
This Ya Bao is from Dehong in the far western portion of Yunnan province (Lincang, Baoshan, and Dehong all have areas which produce Ya Bao). In early Spring, young new growth buds from these trees are harvested and simply dried in the sun to produce this Ya Bao. The leaves and buds which grow on these trees later in the spring harvest season are used to produce various “Ye Sheng” Pu Erh teas in the factories of the region.
The steeped liquor of this Ya Bao is really light and clear with just a touch of yellow green. In my opinion, the flavor is a bit fruity with a hint of evergreen and/or fresh young vegetable (think squash blossoms) type freshness to it, but the taste is light, crisp, and super fresh. It bears some similarity in taste to a traditional white tea, but is far more complex (to me, at least). It is difficult to describe because it is so unique, but it is a welcome treat to celebrate springtime!
This tea is very forgiving to steep. In our experience, it is not temperature sensitive and does not become unpleasant even when using water at a full boil. For Gong Fu style steeping, I recommend using about 5-7 grams in a 150cc gaiwan, use approx 195 F water, and start with a quick rinse followed by a 20-30 second first steep. We usually get at least 5 distinct Gong Fu steepings out of it before the flavors start to fade. Western style, we recommend treating it like a regular green or white tea. See the Tea Steeping Guide for more information.