Verdant Tea

Exploring Pu’er from China’s Oldest Tea Forest

Exploring Pu’er from China’s Oldest Tea Forest

Regular Price $53.50 $42.80
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This bundle includes four 25g bags of looseleaf tea as well as one 100g cake for 200g total.

The Zhenyuan Dongsa Cooperative of Qianjiazhai is a loose-knit coalition of families across the remote mountaintops of China’s oldest tea forests dedicated to sustainable stewardship of the wild tea plants, and careful foraging from trees that can be over a thousand years old.

Master Zhou founded the cooperative to refine the finishing craft and picking techniques across Qianjiazhai and bring more well-deserved respect to one of China’s most important but also most unknown tea regions. This tasting kit is an introduction to the incredible diversity of flavor, texture, aroma and aftertaste that wild-foraging in an ancient tea forest can bring.

In this kit, you’ll taste the careful heat-free sun dry craft of Qianjiazhai’s sheng pu’er and the fermentation of their shu pu’er. This kit is an invitation into a little-seen side of tea and its ancient wild origins.

 Explore Pu’er from China’s Oldest Tea Forest:

Qianjiazhai Gong Ting Shu + Tea Flower Cake (100g)

Qianjiazhai Gong Ting Shu Pu'er is still a very new practice, made only by one of Master Zhou's students in the cooperative. Using the giant buds of QIanjiazhai's wild trees between 100 and three hundred years of age, this tea is carefully and slowly pile fermented to bring out a deep rich sweetness. This new blend of 2014 gong ting shu pu'er and Autumn 2020 tea flowers was pressed in the cooperative's small 100g cake stone mold. This is the first time Master Zhou has pressed tea flowers with Gong Ting Shu in a cake, and the result is a beautiful visual contrast. The floral boost to the textural complexity and nuance of this budset shu pu’er is a welcome addition. The clean natural fermentation preserves the herbaceousness of the tea, and the florals bring it out even further.

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2020 Single Tree Sheng (25g)

Qianjiazhai is home to some of the oldest tea trees in the world. Once again, we are extremely lucky in 2020 that we will be able to offer a single-tree harvest from the oldest tree on the Li Family’s high elevation plot, estimated to 1300 years based on its trunk diameter. Located at 24°16'13.6"N and 101°12'19.6"E, this single tree needs to be carefully climbed to sustainably harvest about ten kilograms of leaf per year. Growing out of a rocky mountainside, and surrounded by a biodiverse wild growth of evergreens, tulsi plants and flowers, this tree benefits from cool misty air, and mineral-rich soil. It takes three people with linked arms to circle the trunk! The deep roots and thousand plus years of fighting for survival give this tea an incredible complexity full of yun cooling sensation and aloeswood incense undertones.

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Gong Ting Shu Dragon Pearls (25g)

The Cooperative's first-ever shu pu’er dragon pearl pressing, this tea is made with beautiful little 2014 buds, allowed to ferment slowly under natural moisture conditions for a sweet and clean flavor profile that shows off the herbaceous side of Qianjaizhai. The loosely pressed. dragon pearls are compact enough for long-term aging and small enough to allow for single brew sessions without having to break apart a bigger cake of tea. The loose hand-twisted compression allows for better and more even aging than anything a machine could achieve.

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2014 Gong Ting Shu Pu'er (25g)

Qianjiazhai Gong Ting Shu Pu'er is still a very new practice, made only by one of Master Zhou's students in the cooperative. Using the giant buds of Qianjiazhai's wild trees between 100 and three hundred years of age, this tea is carefully and slowly pile fermented to bring out a deep rich sweetness unlike any other shu pu'er out there. Master Zhou was so excited by this experiment he is sharing the technique across the cooperative and encourage more members to keep developing the craft.

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2021 Gu Hua Sheng Pu'er (25g)

Craft and terroir have come together beautifully for this 2021 early autumn harvest from Qianjiazhai's wild tea trees. The Dongsa Cooperative wild-forages buds and tender leaves from tea trees between one hundred and three hundred years of age for this loose sheng pu'er blend. Every hand-picked leaf is withered and sun-dried in bamboo baskets, with little or no heat exposure to lock in the most wild and natural flavor of one of the most remote growing regions in the world.

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2021 Zun Sheng Pu'er (25g)

Zun, a designation chosen by the cooperative, means ‘reverence’ of the ancient Qianjiazhai tea trees themselves, an awareness of the human collaboration with a living tree that has existed for generations before us and hopefully will continue to exist for generations after us. The Zun series cakes use the first early spring growth from only the old-growth (500-1000 year) wild trees above the Li Family’s home high in the mountains, and accessible only on foot. The wild nature of this tea’s provenance come through as a flavor texture and aroma experience that is both reverent of its source, and worthy of reverence for its commanding beauty, full of honey and dried apricot with a hint of wild mountain tulsi, and intense textural depth.

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