Limited Yiwu Spring 2016 from Bitterleaf Teas

I’m not usually a pu erh tea drinker but I saw the lovely label from Kelly Puissegur on the Yiwu Spring 2016 blend from Bitterleaf Teas and had to give it a go.  This is a limited run of tea, so you won’t be able to get this exact blend anymore, but the same tea harvest for 2017 can be found in the year of the rooster blend.

This tea starts off like many of my past pu erh tea sessions.  The scents are intense and fermented, and off-putting to me as a prelude for something I’m about to taste.  The aroma isn’t bad exactly, in fact with smells like old books or leather or wet grass, I find the flavors to be nostalgic and dreamy; they just aren’t something I’d personally want to smell right before I take a sip.

I steeped this tea over the course of a session, brewing several times.  Before I even tasted it, I stepped for 1 minute in 200F water to rinse and let the leaves open up.  After that I steeped for increasing 5 second intervals.

The first brew had the typical hay barn scent I expect, but less fermented and much more fresh.  Almost like green grapes or wet peony flowers. The brightness in the first steep was a pleasant surprise.

In the second steep there was more white tea buttery earthiness, but still the green grapes and peony came through on the aftertaste.  The tea is very smooth on the tongue.

In the third steep the hay scent was more gentle and the overall flavors were more relaxed.  The brew was sweeter almost like cacao earth tones and smooth honey floral flavors, paired with a very pleasant caramelly mouthfeel.

On the fourth steep and beyond, the tea still holds up the fresh grape and peony tones, but eventually the earthy cacao flavors end up taking over.

I’m not a pu erh expect but this tea took me by surprise and contained pleasantly complex flavors that I wasn’t expecting.  Be bold and try one of Bitterleaf Teas’ pu erh harvests for your next brew.

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Pu erh
Where to Buy: Bitter Leaf Teas

This Yiwu raw puer is one of our two Year of the Monkey puers. The material for this tea comes from a recently transitioned fang yang (literally meaning “left to grow”) garden that receives minimal human interference, to the extent that all weeding is done once a year by hand (taking up to one month) and is harvested only in the Spring. The tea itself has an initial and surprising honey-like sweetness at the front, which yields to some slight roughness and unique lasting aroma. With good cha qi/tea energy and a solid mineral fragrance that lingers, this is a strong candidate for storage.

Typical of Yiwu teas, this one is on the softer side of things for now, but still maintains a solid backbone with plenty to offer. This also makes it a very drinkable young raw puer, and well suited for beginners and experienced drinkers alike. Don’t be fooled though, Yiwu teas tend to age well, even if they seem lighter in their early years.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Giant White Moonlight 2015 Spring Jing Gu Tea from Bitterleaf

After sampling at least 5 of Bitterleaf’s teas I guess it’s about time I declared myself one of their fans!  Giant White Moonlight 2015 Spring Jing Gu Tea from Bitterleaf is considered an “anytime tea” and I agree for the most part.  Personally, I look for a ‘smack you in the face’ sort of strong tea first thing in the morning but any other time this one will certainly do well!

Giant White Moonlight 2015 Spring Jing Gu Tea from Bitterleaf has tri-colored long leaves.  The aroma while dry is incredibly crisp .  Once infused there is a hint of sweetness to the nose.

As for the taste on the tongue – Giant White Moonlight 2015 Spring Jing Gu Tea from Bitterleaf – is pretty incredible!  It’s delicate yet delightful!  It has a sweeter-floral flavor but it’s hydrating and almost naturally fruity in a mysterious way!

As a white tea I really love this.  It’s a Yunnan White, too, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that I like this as much as I do.  Giant White Moonlight 2015 Spring Jing Gu Tea from Bitterleaf is awesome!


giant-white-tea-1Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: White Tea
Where to Buy: Bitterleaf

A great “anytime” tea, this exclusive to Yunnan white tea is both light and delicate, but with a wild spirit. An early vegetal taste develops into a subtle sweetness with subsequent brewings. Drink it now, or store it for the future, as this is a white tea that is particularly suitable for aging.

Click here for more information about this tea and brewing instructions.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!

Firebird 2015 Dancong Song Zhong Oolong from Bitterleaf Teas

I… have an addiction. Yes, I admit it freely. The second I discover a straight tea that tastes of honey, I am on that stuff like a cat to catnip, and will drink it obsessively until my stash disappears. So! When the lovely CuppaGeek offered me a sample of Bitterleaf Tea’s Firebird 2015 oolong, I was ALL over that. Instantly. According to the folks at Bitterleaf, this tea has a “honey-like sweetness and is closest thing they’ve ever experienced to drinking a sticky bun”. With these leaves hailing from Feng Huang Chao Zhou, the birthplace of dan cong oolong, I knew I was in for a serious treat.

In order to unlock the maximum flavor of this tea, Bitterleaf suggests that I use “spring or remineralized water with 30-80 ppm total dissolved mineral solids”. Now, I unfortunately seemed to have left my analytical chemistry lab back in college, and do not buy bottled water, so I will just be using good ol’ tap water.

Brewing instructions for this tea cannot be found on the package itself- one must visit Bitterleaf’s website and do a bit of rooting around to find this information. They suggest using a flash rinse method to best enjoy the tea- however, since I don’t have quite enough leaves to be able to do so, used a longer 30 second steep in my gaiwan for each brew.

Despite my tea likely having less of a ‘potent’ flavor than it should due to my steeping method, and having a relatively light color, I was still quite impressed by the robust nature of this oolong. The brew is very sweet and pleasantly full bodied without being bitter, with an added complexity of smokiness that I’d expect from a dancong oolong. The aftertaste leaves those notes of sweet honey to linger for a while longer, keeping a smile on my face long after the last of the tea disappeared from my cup.

I really enjoyed Firebird 2015, and could only imagine the honey-hazed stupor I would find myself in for several days if I had a full tin of this tea. Bitterleaf clearly curates their tea with care, and I am excited to discover what else this company has to offer!

Here’s the scoop!

Leaf Type: Oolong
Where to Buy: Bitterleaf Teas


Our Firebird Dancong is a delicious medium oxidized oolong, grown in Chao Zhou, near the North-East corner of Guangdong province. This Song Zhong variety of oolong has a honey-like sweetness that translates into a honey-coloured soup, and quite possibly the closest thing we’ve experience to drinking a sticky bun. It is fragrant and sweet with a slightly roasted taste.

Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!