Ancient Arbor – Yesheng Gucha
Yesheng gucha is a high quality raw puer tea hand-picked from large and ancient tea arbors growing in unattended mountain areas of Yunnan. This sheng puer has a bittersweet taste and subtle aroma. It is somewhat similar to green teas, except for the aftertaste that changes from sweet to bitter with each consecutive brew – a feature that is almost uniquely characteristic of sheng puers. You can enjoy this tea now or let it age under appropriate conditions for even better tea drinking experience.
Why we like it?
Raw puer teas are underrepresented in the west. Most people who hear the word “puer” immediately think about the post-fermented teas that can smell and taste like earth. Ancient Arbor, on the other hand, belongs to the sheng (raw) puer variety. It has therefore a taste and fragrance reminiscent of freshly cut grass or bamboo leaves.
More importantly, this particular tea was hand-picked from ancient arbors in Yunnan province, China. While most of the so-called ‘wild’ puers grow on abandoned plantations, we personally make sure that our yesheng gucha only contains leaves that come from old tea trees that grow in forested areas.
We have decided to include this tea into the Daoli Teaspotting collection in order to improve awareness about sheng puers in general. With its mild taste and incredibly invigorating power, this tea will no doubt become a gateway sheng for those tea lovers who have yet to explore this part of the Camellia Sinensis spectrum.
Roman’s personal score: 94/100
Miha’s personal score: 92/100
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 Ancient Arbor
Start with this, then experiment:
- one serving: 6 grams (0.2 lb)
- water: ~ 90 °C, 100-250 ml (194 F, 3-9 oz)
- time: 30-60 seconds
- brews: 6-8 times
- discard the first brew
This is a great conversation starter for tea tasting gigs. However, while you’re impressing your guests with stories about wild growing tea trees, don’t forget to give a proper treatment to this beauty. We particularly like the first infusion. Steep this the sheng properly and it will reveal an amazing balance between lower-throat mellowness and distinctive bitternes that will dazzle you and your friends. You can prolong infusion time a bit, but you might lose the grassy notes and eventually and develop dryness prematurely. We strongly recommend that you soak the leaves for the last infusion in such a way that water will go from hot to almost cold in the gaiwan. This will squeeze the last bits of awesomeness from this really nice tea.
Have you tried this tea? Do you have any comments? Please use the space below to share your thoughts and ask us questions.