Written by the guest tea blogger Alexandra who comes from Britain but has only drunk tea a few years ago. Having spent two years living in China, she has developed a love of tea, especially those prepared in gongfu style and she is exploring the different teas and tisanes of the world. Alexandra’s blog is to celebrate all things tea - from tea trivia, reviews, recipes, blends and tea shops! You can read her blog here. She is also active on Instagram as cha.chai.tea.
In July 2019 I visited the town of Xishuangbanna, the home of pu-erh tea, and spent three days exploring pu-erh tea culture and tasting way too many pu-erh teas in the hundreds of tea shops across town!
One of these was teas was `Jing Mai Old Tree’, a raw pu-erh from 2014. The Jing Mai tea trees have been producing tea for over 100 years, and as a raw tea, there is very little processing - the tea leaves are merely steamed and pressed into the tea cake before being aged.
Raw pu-erh can sometimes have an overly bitter flavour that lasts through the different infusions, however the more aged and better quality the tea, the less true this is.
The Jing Mai pu-erh has some bitter undertones on the first few brews, but this soon gives way to a smooth honey flavour that is pleasant for the senses!
Harvest time: 2014
Leave colour: Green with lighter and darker tones of brown
Liquor colour: Light amber
Tea aroma: Flower
Tea taste: Bitter undertones moving into a sweet honey flavour
Steeping/brewing: This tea is best served gongfu style, to avoid the flavour being overly bitter. Brew the tea with water at 100°C for around 30 seconds, adding time with each infusion. Keep brewing until the flavour is lost.
Shelf life: 10 years and more(to improve shelf-life store the sealed tea leaves in a dry, ventilated place with low temperatures and away from odour)