Milk OolongJune 15, 2019
Caramel BlackJuly 1, 2019
Wild Sheng Pu-erh
$14.00 – $95.20
A wild grown sheng pu-erh from the Daxueshan Forestry Reserve in Lincang Prefecture, Yunnan, China. An area known for producing exquisite pu-erhs, our Wild Sheng Pu-erh is unlike any other tea on our menu. As a raw pu-erh, it is not as fermented as most Americans are used to encountering. It has a distinct mineral quality in the top note (many of our employees compare it to a savory olive-like quality), softened by notes of stonefruit and wild apple in the finish. A truly interesting profile for a pu-erh, with a smooth transition from vegetable and tangy at first sip, mellowing into a sweet, fruity profile with hints of cinnamon.
Our Wild Sheng Pu-erh is much lighter in character than an aged/ripe pu-erh. It cups closer in flavor to a green tea than the characteristically bold, thick flavor of a shou pu-erh.
Wild-grown teas are harvested from wild tea trees that are not carefully cultivated as they would be in a tea garden setting. The trees grow relatively untended in wild groves and can be very old, which results in increased biodiversity and in regards to the wild tea trees grown in southern Yunnan (where our wild grown pu-erh is sourced), amazing complexity in the tea itself. Traditional tea gardens are grown from seeds and tended or grown from cuttings (which means all the plants have the same exact genetics). These cultivated clones have the same characteristics over and over again, resulting in a “stack up” of flavors–the same flavors repeating and heightening its distinct characteristics; by contrast, wild trees will exhibit more nuance and oftentimes, unexpected flavor profiles.
There are two types of pu-erhs: sheng (raw) and shou (ripe). Sheng pu-erhs are aged slowly over time, through a gradual fermentation process, and then either left loose or pressed into tea cakes. It is packaged and left to ferment slowly over time. A sheng pu-erh must age for at least 10 years before it is considered “ready” to drink. Much like wine, certain vintages/years are more prized than others. Sheng pu-erhs tend to have a more nuanced, delicate flavor compared to a shou pu-erh, and their flavor will change over time as they continue to ferment.
Shou pu-erh, on the other hand, is sold after undergoing an accelerated fermentation process and it is completely fermented prior to being packaged. The most common way to ferment a shou pu-erh is to toss the leaves into a pile in warm, enclosed space where they are kept hot and moist for an extended period of time. The leaves are turned periodically to encourage fermentation. This goes on for at least two months. Shou pu-erhs are therefore younger teas than sheng pu-erhs, and are much faster to produce. Shou pu-erhs tend to have the dark, robust, thick flavor associated that we in the United States most closely associate with pu-erh tea.
While sheng pu-erhs have been around for centuries, shou pu-erh is a fairly new type of tea. They first began being produced in the 1970s, and their popularity skyrockets during the pu-erh craze of the early 2000s.