Yunnan Yi

Green Puer Cake 2005

2005 Yunnan Yi Green Puer Cake has an orange-yellow liquor, full bodied taste, and an enduring herbaceous aftertaste. This is a great tea for those who prefer complex, challenging flavors in their Sheng puer and don’t fear astringency.

 

$106.00

2 in stock


Tea Origin
Yunnan Province, China

Tea Bush
Big Leaf tea trees

Tea Master
Hu Hao Ming

Harvest Time
Springtime

Picking Standard
3rd and 5th grade mao cha

Origin

The leaf material of this green puer cake came from Lin Cang, in the west of Yunnan. Lin Cang is one of Yunnan’s major tea producing areas and mainly grows assamica “big leaf” tea trees. The recipe for this cake is includes mature grade 3 and some grade 5 mao cha. These full leaves are rich with flavor, offering a great representation of the stronger flavors of Lin Cang mao cha.

Process

Tea pickers collect fresh tea leaves in large bamboo carriers that rest on their backs. Once they are finished picking, they carry the leaves back to the factory. The leaves are piled together and left under the sunshine for a couple hours to remove some of the moisture naturally. A large, deep wok is used to fry the fresh leaves. These woks are not as hot as the ones that are used for hand making green teas, which allows enzymes to remain in the leaves. Puer tea has a lot more enzymes left than other teas, but it is unclear exactly how much more they contain. Once the leaves are fried, they are very soft and withered. A small broom made from local weeds is used to sweep the tea leaves from the wok on to a large bamboo tray. Puer is not kneaded with a machine, instead are twisted and rolled by hand into their shape. During the kneading, a lot of moisture is released from the tea. Squeezing out the tea juice can help reduce bitterness in the processed tea. The leaves are thinly spread onto large bamboo trays and dried under the sunshine for 3-4 days, depending on the weather. The weather in Yunnan changes often, so some farmers have built sunrooms that still allow sunshine to continue drying the leaves. If the leaves are rained on, they will become moistened and create mold. Tea masters must be very attentive to supervise the process to make good tea. After the drying process, the twigs and unfolded leaves are sorted out of the tea. The whole twisted leaves are put into fabric bags and stored for buyers. Some farmers will compress cakes themselves, but not everyone has the skills and factory to do so.

Before compressing the tea into puer cakes, the tea is weighed with a scale. The traditional weight for a single cake of tea is 357 grams, but now many factories use an even 400 grams. A piece of cotton fabric is placed inside a special one-foot-deep tin bucket that has holes on the bottom. The weighed, dry tea leaves are placed inside the fabric, enough to almost fill the bucket. The leaves are steamed for about 3-5 seconds at first, workers will usually add piece of paper that is stamped with the company’s logo on top of the pile of leaves and along with a few more leaves on top of it to hold it to the cake. The next worker sits in front of the steamer, and after about 5 seconds they will remove the fabric and wet leaves from the bucket. The dry tea leaves are transformed from being very puffy to a condensed 3 inches thick. The next worker will quickly tie the fabric, making a knot at the end. They compress the knot into the center of the cake under a stone block or by using a compression machine. It takes the perfect amount of pressure to push the wet tea leaves tightly into about a one inch-thick cake. If you look on the back of a finished puer cake, you will see the indentation from the fabric knot.  The best cakes will have every leaf stuck together, not too loose but still easy to remove chunks of tea from. The small amounts of space between leaves in a well compressed cake will allow air to move through and evenly age the cake over years.

After a few hours, the wet cakes are removed from the fabric and placed on wooden shelves. The cakes slowly dry for a few hours at a temperature of about 40 degrees celsius. Once the tea is dry, the cakes are sent to the packaging room. A skilled tea worker will use cotton paper to quickly wrap the cakes. They will fold the squares of cotton paper so there are exactly sixteen wrinkles. Clean, dry bamboo shells wrap 7 cakes together at once. Bamboo string is used to tie the shells together to secure them for transportation. This is the traditional  packing method that is still often used. The bamboo shell will cover the tea from rain, but will also allow the tea to breathe. Bamboo is a very neutral scent, and will separate other scents from reaching the tea.

No chemical fertilizer, pesticide, or herbicide was used in the production of this tea. Click here to read more about our promise to fair trade and the environment.

 

Yunnan Yi brewing guidelines

Weight per piece: 400 grams
How to store: Store in a dark, well ventilated area with less than 70% humidity. Less than 25 degrees C or 77 degrees F. Store in the paper or fabric, not plastic. Keep away from odors and fragrances.

How to infuse: Any cup, pot, or gaiwan made of porcelain, glass, yixing clay, iron, or other material will work.
Brewing Guidelines: 1st infusion — Loosen and gently break off about 5 grams of tea from the brick for approx. 12 ounces water. Use boiling water (212 degrees F) and infuse for 2 minutes. 2nd infusion — Boiling water, infuse for 2 minutes 3rd infusion — Boiling water, infuse for 3-5 minutes 4th to 7th (or more) infusions — Boiling water, infuse for 5 minutes Infusions: 7 or more times