2012 Yunnan Sourcing "Ai Lao Mountain" Wild Arbor Pu-erh Tea Cake
Entirely first flush of spring 2012 material from high altitude Ai Lao mountain. The Ai Lao mountains peak out at about 3200 meters, making them second only to Wu Liang Shan as the highest mountains in Simao prefecture. The Ai Lao mountain range is in the county of Jingdong which borders Chu Xiong prefecture. This tea is grown in the area of Ai Lao known as Wang Jia village (王家村) at an altitude of 2200 meters making this some of the highest altitude pu-erh in existence. Due to the high altitude most of the tea trees in this area are a naturally occurring hybrid of large and small leaf (sinensis and var. assamica). The trees are healthy 200 year old trees growing naturally on steep hillsides and ridges. These tea gardens are arguably some of the remotest tea gardens in all of Yunnan. Lack of roads and access has kept the environment of this area in good condition, mao cha prices are significantly lower than comparable Banna teas, making this an affordable yet.
The tea itself is aromatic with hints of orchid aroma (兰香), and a strong mouth-feel. This tea (in its young age) is more subtle than the Wu Liang Lan Xiang cake with less bitterness and a stronger aroma. The leaves are fatter and more burly than the Wu Liang tea. It features lots of hairy buds that make it somewhat resemble its close neighbor Jinggu mountain teas. Honey and grass essences are present in this thick soupy tea!
This tea was compressed in a small tea factory near Kunming where stone presses were used. Low temperature “baking” was used to dry these cakes after the compression process thus preserving their integrity! The cakes are wrapped in Dai Minority hand-made paper and then bundled into bamboo leaf "tongs" with seven cakes per tong.
In total just 170 kilograms of this tea has been produced
Net Weight: 400 grams per cake (7 cakes per bamboo leaf tong)
Compression date: May, 2012
Harvest time: Late March 2012
Harvest Area: Wang Jia village of Jingdong county, Simao Prefecture
Total Production amount: 170 kilograms