Yue Guang Bai (White Moonlight)

Sheng Puer Cake 200g 2016

The picking standard for this cake is one bud to one leaf, and the tea material is very fuzzy. The freshly picked leaves are withered under moonlight instead of sunlight, resulting in a longer weathering period and more oxidation before the tea is pressed into cakes.

$64.80

3 in stock

Related Years:

Tea Origin
Jing Gu, Yunnan Province, China

Tea Bush
100-300 year old Da Bai Cha trees

Tea Master
Li Dong

Harvest Time
Springtime

Picking Standard
Sprigs of one bud with one leaf

White Moonlight’s leaves are known for their motley dark-and-light coloring, and this is the easiest way to pick the tea out. The tea leaves that are used to make Yue Guang Bai (White Moonlight) come from an altitude of approximately 1500 meters high in the mountains of Xiao Jing Gu located in Yunnan province. The leaves get plucked from 100-300 year old Jing Gu Da Bai Cha trees. At one point in time, Jinggu puer was the standard for puer in China. Jinggu County is the largest forested county in Yunnan and it grows some of the richest maocha available. It is also known for producing sweet Chinese dates.

The 800 year old “mother bush” which provided the seeds for these bushes still stands today, surrounded by the younger bushes. Meanwhile, the tea gardens where White Moonlight is grown are surrounded by popular local crops, commonly mango, which have an impact on the aroma and flavor of the tea leaves. The plucking standard for this cake is one bud to one leaf, and the tea material is very fuzzy.

Unique Slow Drying Process

Since the mao cha for this tea dries at night beneath shade and moonlight, unlike the traditional sun-drying method during the day, the drying process is slower. This necessitates careful attention from the tea producer to maintain air flow over the leaves to avoid molding. This process is well worth the effort, as it creates a unique and flavorful aroma similar to wulong. The tea color will be similar to olive oil, clean and crisp.

As a result of this unusual processing, White Moonlight is milder than most young sheng puer cakes and lacks their typical astringency. This makes it a great tea for new sheng puer drinkers.

Traditionally, the authentic White Moonlight must come from Xiao Jing Gu and be produced from the Jing Gu Da Bai Cha trees. Made from tea trees rather than tea bushes, traditional White Moonlight can be infused more times while still providing good flavor and aroma.

Making Puer Cakes

To compress puer into cakes, the tea is weighed with a scale traditional weight was 357 grams, but now many factories use 400 grams as a standard. A piece of cotton fabric that will hold the tea leaves is placed inside a special 1 foot deep tin bucket that has holes on the bottom. Then the bucket it is filled nearly to the top with dried tea leaves.

They place a one inch square of paper that is stamped with the company’s logo on top of the cake, with a few leaves covering the sign. The stamp will become slightly embedded in the cake, a sign of authenticity showing that the tea has not been separated from its original label. One person sits in front of a steamer, steaming the leaves for 3-5 seconds and then removing the fabric and wet leaves from the bucket. The dry tea leaves are condensed from being very light and puffy down to a layer only 3 inches thick. The next person will quickly tie the fabric, making a knot at the end. They then compress the knot into the center of the cake under a compression machine. It takes a perfectly precise amount of pressure to compact the wet tea leaves tightly into a one inch thick cake. This process leaves the tell-tale indentation mark on the back of puer cakes.

Some producers still use the traditional method of compressing cakes, which requires two stone molds curved to match the shape of puer cakes. Someone stands on top of the filled mold and applies their body weight evenly to press the cake into shape. Factories that use this method will have one worker whose job it is to compress these cakes so that they are all compressed the same amount. They must be a specific weight so as to not over-compress the cakes.

The small amount of space between the leaves after compression will allow air to move through and naturally ferment the cake over years. After a few hours, the wet cakes are removed from the fabric and placed on wooden shelves to slowly dry for a few hours at a temperature of about 40 degrees celsius.

Once the tea is dry, the cakes are sent to a skilled tea worker who uses cotton paper to quickly wrap the cakes. They will fold the squares of cotton paper so there are exactly sixteen folds. Stacks of 7 cakes are packed in clean, dry bamboo shells. These shells are tied together with bamboo string to secure them for transportation. This traditional  packing method is still often used. The bamboo shell will protect the tea from rain while still allowing the tea to breathe. Bamboo is a very neutral scent, and will insulate the tea from picking up other scents.

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.

Learn more about Puer Tea.

Yue Guang Bai (White Moonlight) 2016 brewing guidelines

Weight per piece: 200 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