Ma Guo Tou

Shu Bing (Black Puer Cake) 400g 2012

By combination of the leaves selected for this cake and the closely controlled fermentation processing, Mr. Hu carefully crafted this puer to have less earthiness and more sweetness.


18 in stock

Tea Origin
Jing Gu County, Yunnan Province, China

Tea Bush
around 40 years old tea bushes

Tea Master
Wang Xi Qun and Hu Hao Ming

Harvest Time

Picking Standard
Sprigs of a bud with one small tender leaf

This black puer cake was made from tea buds and tender leaves (grades 1 and 2) which were fermented two months before being pressed into cakes. The creator of this tea, Mr. Hu Hao Ming, a 3rd generation tea producer, and Wang Xi Qun like to source the mao cha (uncompressed green puer tea leaves) by themselves. By combination of the leaves selected for this cake, and the closely controlled fermentation processing, this cake is carefully crafted to have less earthiness and more sweetness.

“Ma Guo Tou” means the leader of a horse train, which was the method for transport of puer in ancient times. The leader of these horse trains, naturally, was inclined to drink the very best tea available. As result, these Ma Guo Tou were highly regarded as judges of a tea’s tea quality. The picture on the cake’s wrapped is a depiction of a Ma Guo Tou, the picture is copied from Wang Xi Qun’s face who was a Ma Guo Tou back in the 70’s. His job was to source tea deep in the forests, and make sure the horses and workers were transported safely from place to place. Wang Xi Qun is very respectful to minority groups in Yunnan, who own most of the tea trees in forests, even now. He has built relationships with these minority groups for years, allowing him to source tea from very old wild tea trees.

This tea was picked on bushes between forty and one hundred years old in the heavily forested Jing Gu county. In 1978, in Jing Gu, a tea scientist found a fossil of an ancestor for the tea plant from over 35 million years ago called Kuan Ye Mu Lan, making a strong case for the region being the place where tea first evolved. Jing Gu is home to the Dai and Yi ethnic groups, who have lived with tea as part of their life for a melinia. Jing Gu’s subtropical monsoon climate does not just suit tea plants, but also champagne mango trees, which bear the county’s next most famous crop.  The biodiversity of its forests influence the character of its tea profoundly, and some even insist that the teas capture a shade of flavor from those mango trees in the deep layers of their body.

This tea was produced by the biggest tea company in Jing Gu, which use to be owned by the government. They have a highly skilled method for the fermentation process. Jing Gu has a long history for producing tea and is the hometown region of mangos. In spring, tea is harvested to make mao cha more than 10 times from March- April. The mao cha is piled about 2 1/2 feet high in the factory and covered with large sheets of fabric inside the factory. The environment is full of microbes necessary for the fermentation process. The mao cha still has lots of moisture and enzymes, over the course of 90 days (30 days longer than most tea companies) the tea will slowly oxidize and ferment. Heat is created inside the fermenting tea. Every few days, Hu Hao Ming will separate the leaves by using wooden shovels to move the entire pile of tea to the other side of the factory.

After the fermentation process is finished, all the tea becomes loose black puer tea. They will use sorting machines to sort our all the leaves in to different grades. 1st grade is the smallest sized leaves, and goes all the way up to 10th grades. After the sorting process, they select the first and second grades of leaves and tea buds to steam and compress in to this black puer cake. They use small leaves to create a cake similar to the Qing Dynasty’s royal family’s favorite black puer cake.

This very special cake was produced by the Cha Ma Si Tea Company. The bright red color of the infused tea indicates very concentrated nutrition. Its flavor is full-bodied but not heavy, with a pronounced sweetness in the aftertaste.

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.

Ma Guo Tou 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