Thursday, March 8, 2012

2010 Mt Ai lao


I am a big fan of the The Leaf online magazine. Unfortunately has not been a new issue in quite some time due to Mr. Fisher's (Wu De) other projects. One of them being the Global Tea Hut. They hope to start a school of Cha Dao in Taiwan. That would also have a pu-erh Library of old and new vintages that visitors may research. Another goal of theirs is to have communal pu-erh storage "cave" "where members from around the world can freely store their tea in a good climate, with meditation and other good vibrations infused into the tea." In order to raise funds to start this school they have started a tea of the month club. I have signed up for this club as I think that It would be excellent to have an place such as this school where people around the world regardless of where they are from can come and study the way of the leaf. Also the added bonus of getting to try teas selected by someone that is a true lover of tea and not trying to sell you anything is probably going to be a worthwhile experience.

Included with the tea was this beautiful piece of calligeraphy with a background painted with aged pu-erh

The Tea is from Ai Laoshan which is the second highest mountain in Yunnan behind Wu Liang. The Wu Liang cake pressed by Yunnan sourcing made quite a stir this year and has recently sold out. Apart from being some of the highest altitude pu-erh (2500 meters) it is also some of the most remote. There being very little road access to this part of the province. The tree's being between two to three hundred years old. This tea is processed by piling for a few hours to slightly oxidize the leaf before sha qing (kill green). Many associate this sort of tea as a drink it now tea this step being added to make a tea more palatable for immediate consumption. It is presented here as a step developed locally to help bring pout the teas full potential. Preconceived notions aside I fill the kettle with an open mind.

The leaves are dark. They look like no other pu-erh I have seen before. The aroma coming out of the bag when opened is deep sweet and rich making you want to sit still inhaling uplifting warming fragrance. I do not know if it is reading the eloquent words regarding this tea in the news letter or if it is the qi of the tea or scent but I have an urge to spend time with this leaf. Using my improvised Tuocha pick I separate the chunk into as many individual leaves as I feel I can manage without breaking them. I normally opt to just separate a chunk into three or four pieces reasoning that the tea this will keep the leaves more intact.

The first infusion reveals a much lighter liquid than I had envisioned. The Flavor coinciding with the aroma being a milky cocoa The Cha Qi radiates from my chest out through my arms and up to my cheeks. The wet leaves look fairly green considering there color while dry. They have developed a musky smell that I have noticed in some Guafengzhai teas. The second infusion reveals a darker liquid with more of that creamy chocolate flavor but also some musky notes are popping up. There are also some notes of wood that make their way into the session. As infusions move on the tea does begin to taste slightly like a red tea. The qi of this tea is a testament to the pure environment and the care given these trees. I am glad to have had the opportunity to try this special tea. While it is not the type of tea I would have bought for myself. Given my (possibly mistaken) belief that more processed pu-erh will not hold there potentcy as well as less processed leaf through the aging process. I am glad to have tried it as it reminded me that it is the care and love put into its creation that determines the quality of something, and not the process by which it is created.


  1. Dear friend

    This is an awesome review. One small correction: we already have a school here in Taiwan, with free classes 4-5 days a week and an average of 50-60 visitors staying here for free from countries around the world every year. We are looking to expand, buying land in the mountains and building a larger center that can better handle the traffic we are already getting. You can read more about our center at:


  2. Hey! I'm a member of the Tea Institute at Penn State and I just found your blog through Mattcha's on the post about The Institutes upcoming event.

    You've got some great posts on here, we are also going to be receiving this tea (once we return from spring break) so its great to see other peoples opinions on it.

    Can't wait to read more posts from you!


  3. Patrick
    Can't wait for the festival. I am just getting my feet wet with korean tea. I can probably only make it down for two days when would you recomend that I come?

  4. I also have a chunk of yellow mark I will bring down for the occasion.

  5. I would suggest Friday and Saturday, April 6th/7th. As of right now there will be 2 lectures and a training session both friday and saturday. If you have any questions about specific lecture materials/lecturers feel free to contact Jason Cohen, the director of the Tea Institute, at I look forward to seeing you there and to many a great tea sessions between all of us!

  6. Dear GN,

    I think Thursday and Saturday are the best two days... (it is very hard to say!),

    If you shoot me an email at jmc5840 [at] psu [dot] edu,
    I would be happy to send you the event schedule!

    All the Best,
    Jason M. Cohen