Lao Man E
The tea is named after a village located in the vicinity of the Bulang Mountains, a region that has supplied China and the neighboring counties with top-quality puer teas for centuries. A memorial plaque on a wall of an ancient Buddhist shrine located therein states that Lao Man E was founded just under fourteen centuries ago. It is surrounded by a beautiful tropical forest where 100-500 year-old tea trees grow freely among all sorts of other trees and plants, just as the nature had intended. To ensure superior quality of their treasured produce, the villagers have banned use of fertilizers and other chemicals in the entire area.
Why we like it?
This tea combines two great features: it’s made of tea leaves harvested from trees that are hundreds of years old and it was ripened in accordance with the best possible fermentation guidelines (for about a year, in a carefully tended to “wetpile” (渥堆) facility). The fermentation process was done quite thoroughly, so the tea is perfect for immediate consumption. Just like the other puers we offer, Lao Man E is stone-pressed for mild density, which leaves enough interleaf space for air exchange and, consequently, smooth aging. In terms of qi, this tea is packing quite a punch and is perfect for those seeking additional sources of sustenance in harsher climates.
Roman’s personal score: 96/100
Miha’s personal score: 94/100
The scores above represent how the Daoli co-founders Miha and Roman feel about each particular tea. The ratings are given on 0 to 100 scale and are absolutely subjective. We simply translate into numbers our first impression about this tea.
General steeping suggestions
Tea can be steeped in a tea pot, gaiwan, or a strainer placed right in your cup. Feel free to experiment with time, temperature, and quantity. If tea feels a bit strong or bitter, just use less leaves or steep it for a shorter period of time.
The purpose of the first brew is to rinse the leaves, so it shouldn’t last more than five seconds and should be discarded. Pour the hot water again. This time, steep it for longer periods. Avoid leaving the leaves soaking in water between brews, because it makes tea taste bitter and steals a lot of its flavor. If used properly, about six grams of tea leaves can yield several middle-size cups of excellent tea.
Chinese people enjoy the original taste of tea, so they never use milk, sugar, or lemon.
Steeping suggestions for Shu Puer
Start with this, then experiment:
- one serving: 6 grams (0.2 lb)
- water: ~ 90 °C, 100-250 ml (~ 195°F, 3-9oz)
- time: 30-180+ seconds
- number of infusions: 6-8
- discard the first brew
Start with 30 seconds; then increase steeping time gradually. Hypothetically, you could brew this tea for as long as you want. Although it won’t turn bitter, it will yield less brews. Keeping steeping time around one minute, you should be able to get 6-8 delicious infusions.
Note: hold the cake in one hand and snap off a piece of required size with the other. As you get closer to the middle of the cake where the density of pressed leaves is greater, you should a special puer knife, and awl or something similar to detach layers of tea horizontally.
Have you tried this tea? Do you have any comments? Please use the space below to share your thoughts and ask us questions.