This tea is a 2009 vintage xiao dui zi “Small Pile” shu pu er from Nannuo mountain. Small pile (xiao dui zi) fermentation is a small-scale version of the traditional Wo Dui “Wetting and Piling” technique used to produce shu pu er in the factory setting. Using smaller quantities of single-farm tea necessitates modifications in the process to account for the differing dynamics of a small pile. This particular batch is so named because it has a smooth, buttery mouthfeel and an aroma evocative of petrichor, the smell of the earth when it rains. This tea’s 10 years of age have given it a potent, grounding and mature qi with smooth, robust macadamia and hazelnut notes atop leathery peat and earth flavors. This tea may be brewed espresso thick without becoming bitter.
Yuan Sheng means “Original life”. This name is coined by Li Shu Lin referring to a technique for the artisan fermentation of very small batches of pu-er. In contrast to the industrial Wo Dui process as well as the smaller scale Xiao Dui Zui process, tea leaves are not turned during the maturation of yuan sheng tuo. This allows the micro-organisms that ferment the tea to form networks of hyphae, causing the leaves to consolidate into a solid chunk, the word tuo refers to this solid amorphous shape. Li Shu Lin’s motivation for this style of fermentation was to recreate the complex flavor of the old, naturally fermented sheng pu-er that he drank as a child. This process is slower, smaller, and requires more skill and attention than the wo dui or xiao dui zui processes it can only be done with a maximum of ten kilograms of tea at a time. As a result, each individual batch of yuan sheng tuo is unique, though all possess the rich, earthy organic flavor of shu pu-er while retaining the complex fragrance of sheng pu-er.
Looking for new pu-er is a process in which we tend to focus on old trees or particular vintages based on whether that year had a drought or another distinctive occurrence. The benefit thus of going to the mountain, even to places where we have established relationships is that we have the opportunity to try things based on smell and recommendation which means the chance to find something that we did not know we were looking for. Vanilla Obscura happens to be one of these unexpectedly delicious and unique teas. We stumbled across this tea while working through tasting more than a dozen shu pu-ers that were scattered throughout our farmer, Li Shu Lin’s, warehouse. This 2014 small batch fermented or Xiao Dui Zi tea is neither old, nor is it from ancient trees, nor from a drought year, it is however sourced entirely from a single patch-the Douyi village patch at the summit of Nannuo mountain, peaking at around 1950 meters or around 6,400 feet. The Duoyi patch is regarded as having the sweetest tea on Nannuo mountain. Additionally this tea was also fermented in a single pile resulting in a very rich, dark and earthy pu-er with a distinctive, swaying buoyancy reminiscent of vanilla extract on the finish. The terroir or Di Wei of Duoyi village and the idiosyncrasies of its processing give this tea a uniquely distinctive flavor profile and fragrance.
Descriptions coming soon...
Tea Not for Sale At the moment