2009 Yunnan Sourcing "Ai Lao Jue Se" Raw Pu-erh Tea
Ai Lao Jue Se (哀牢绝色) aka "Ai Lao Rare Beauty" is the eighth tea created under the new Yunnan Sourcing / Rui Cao Xiang label. This label is a co-project between Yunnan Sourcing “Yun Zhi Yuan” (云之源) and our Korean counter-part “Rui Cao Xiang” (瑞草香). This tea is made entirely from high altitude Ai Lao mountain tea. 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. 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! In total just 160 kilograms of this tea has been produced.
Net Weight: 357 grams per cake (7 cakes per bamboo leaf tong)
Compression date: August 1st, 2009
Harvest time: Late March 2009
Harvest Area: Wang Jia village of Jingdong county, Simao Prefecture
Total Production amount: 448 cakes