12/04: 2010 Spring Tea Trip, Part VIII

My understanding of the ripen pu-erh changed forever since I talked to a tea guru.

Mr. Lin is not a tea merchant, but a senior partner at a law firm in Beijing. He drives to Yunnan from Beijing in two days, 3-4 times a year, touring on average 30 tea mountains. In his possession he nested more than 5 tons best/premium teas, 5-10 kilograms per tea mountains, all pure old/big tree materials, per season, per year since the start of this century.

His teas, if you dare to place a market price on it, are all worth more than $ 100 apiece.

Most people in tea business are in for the money. But I have not seen a person with such a high energy, passion and intensity on tea. He is a nut.

This year he collected (only) 5 kilograms Banzhang since it was hard to get, and costed him more than $ 300 per kilogram. He sweared he owned the resources to access the best of the bests. And I had the pleasure to drink his crown of jewels, a tribute tea that was hardly known by a living soul, and one brew of the tea was easily worthing double digitals, equal to the same weight in gold if it's sold retail!

No, I am not with him. I think I'm not at his level. I know there is a good tea, a very good tea, and a fantastic tea.

"Mansong", the tribute tea, to me is just another good tea, I even hesitate to call it fantastic. I know it's rare, only a few old tea trees in Mansong village grows this.

However I did learn a lot from this guy. He told me that they had managed to ferment a tea on a micro scale, say 3 kilograms per pile, best suitable for the premium old tree material.

It is revolutional!

For all years I was told that the minimum amount for a 'wudui' (fermented tea pile) should be at least 5-8 tons in quantity. If you use less, the quality of the ripen tea would be suffered or even failed.

Most fermented/ripe/cooked teas taste about the same, people used to say.

For all years I was told that only the low-grade/no-taste tea leaves were for making fermented/ripen/cooked tea. The best leaves are reserved for green/uncooked/green Pu-erh. For all great/premium 'Dayi' products, the plantation tea leaves are used.

What if we use the best leaves (early spring old tree material) for making a ripen tea?

It is a very expensive preparation!

Well, I tasted it. It was full of favour, to start with, endurable and complex, one drink after another. And I could smell some wonderful scent with my empty tasting cup after drinking the soup (cold cup residue smell) which happened mostly with the best premium tea.

It is something very exciting to experience.

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