This year we were very lucky to be able to get about 5600 grams of tea from a small grove of wild trees growing near Bang Dong village in Lincang. First flush tea was picked over the period of about 2 weeks. After processing into mao cha and harmonizing (the teas picked on different days are all blended together), the tea leaves were steamed and hand-rolled into 7 gram dragon balls by my mother-in-law and father-in-law (Xiao Yao's mom and dad).
Each wrapper is hand-stamped and there are 8 dragon balls in each caddy, for a total of 56 grams of tea. In total only 99 caddies are available!
The tea brews up a thick full-bodied tea soup that is incredibly complex. Sweet, bitter, lightly floral with umami and the slightest feeling of brine. Steeps many many times! An incredibly balanced tea with strong cha qi!
These Dragon Balls were made by my mother in-law and father-in-law. They make them in their spare time. They use little pieces of cotton to compress them instead of saran wrap. Saran wrap compression is the most common method because it's faster, but it causes off gassing into the tea since the tea must be steamed to soften and is very hot. We use cotton, which is safe.
Videos showing this old grove!