Leaf Type: Pu-Erh
Where to Buy: Wymm Tea (Ancient Tree Pu-Erh)
Kunlu Mountain is located within Ning’er Hani and Yi autonomous prefecture county in Pu’er city. Kun means “valley” and lu means “sparrow” in Dai minority group’s language, together Kunlu means a valley inhabited with sparrows. Kunlu Mountain sits at the end of the Wuliang mountain range, where Lancang and Honghe rivers divide. Kunlu Mountain’s altitude ranges between 1410 and 2271 meters, and is considered one of the higher mountains within Pu’er city region. A combination of early-cultivated and wild-grown trees forms the ancient tea tree forest, which covers 10,122 mu (equivalent to 6.75 sqkm) on the mountain.
Kunlu Mountain once served as imperial tea garden for the Qing emperors over 200 years. After successful bureaucratization of Cheli Xuanweisi in 1729, E’ertai (Ortai), the governor-general of Yunnan-Guizhou-Guangxi tri-province, established a tribute tea factory in Ning’er village, Pu’er Fu (known nowadays as Xishuangbanna). Every year, only the best and most delicate tea buds harvested from Kunlu Mountain in early spring were sent into this factory, in which they were carefully pressed into shapes or processed into paste. These products were presented in front of the Qing emperors after a 6-month, 4100-km route done solely on horseback. These products were carefully supervised by feudal officials and guarded by soldiers.
This 2010 Spring Kunlu Mountain from Wymm Tea (Ancient Tea Pu-Erh) doesn’t appear to be listed on the Wymm Tea shop any longer. There is, however, a Pu-Erh called Kunlu Sheng Pu-Erh from Ancient Tree 2010 Spring which I can only assume could be comparable. Don’t quote me on that because I haven’t tried that offering yet.
I mainly wanted to mention this offering from Wymm Tea because it was the very first Pu-Erh experience I had from this company and it was a great one. This Pu-Erh is right up my alley. It’s not the muddy-thick-wormy-earthy-tar like pu-erh that I have had from other companies. This is more of a gentler-earthy yet semi-floral Pu-Erh experience. I think this is a great Pu-Erh to start with if you are trying them for the first time. It will NOT scare you away from Pu-Erhs as a whole and will NOT make you pre-judge other Pu-Erh’s but at the same time it’s very pleasing and will set a standard for other Pu-Erh’s. This is very well-done and I can’t wait to try additional offerings from Wymm Tea!
Leaf Type: Oolong
Where to Buy: Boutique Teas
Legend says this tea restored the health of a Ming dynasty official, who in gratitude honored the tea bushes by leaving his red cape behind as protection. Produced in the famous Fujian province, Big Red Robe grows on the rocky cliffs in Fujian, China. This rare oolong tea brews a unique woodsy character with fruity muscatel notes that can be steeped multiple times.
Learn more about this tea here.
Oolong is one of my favorite types of tea (second only to yellow tea), although, as I’m sure most of you are already aware, not all Oolong teas are created equal, so it is perhaps needless to say that I like some Oolong teas better than others.
Big Red Robe Oolong teas are not my favorite, but I’ve grown to appreciate them more than I once did. This Organic Big Red Robe Oolong form Boutique Teas is one of the nicest that I’ve tried … I think that had I tried this Da Hong Pao Oolong the first time I tried one, I probably would have embraced it immediately! This is really good!
There are hints of fruit notes in this tea that are reminiscent of plum and peach and grape which give the cup a pleasing sweetness. I can even taste the faintest hints of muscatel which took me totally by surprise! These fruit notes mingle with a strong woodsy tone that is slightly smoky, but what I like about this particular Big Red Robe Oolong is that the smoky note is on the subtle side, tasting slightly more like charcoal than smoke.
There is a mineral-y like taste that arrives on the palate toward the finish. This is definitely what I’d call a masculine tea, but it has a smoothness to it … like a sophisticated, charming gentleman.
This is the kind of tea that you want to infuse multiple times, and just sit back and relax as you allow the flavors to play upon your palate. I find that the flavor becomes even more enjoyable with the subsequent infusions … my favorite were the fifth and sixth infusions, which I combined into one cup. The flavor was sweeter, and possessed less of the smoky earthiness of the earlier infusions. Those first infusions were good … but the subsequent infusions were great!