Yiwu is a big name when it comes to pu-erh tea, and this has a history. It is one of the six famous tea mountains (six connected tea areas east of the Mekong River in Xishuangbanna: Yiwu, Yibang, Manzhuan, Gedeng, Mangzhi, and Youle). Tea from these mountains was sent to Beijing as a tribute tea to the Qing emperor during the 18th and 19th centuries.
As mentioned in Zhang’s book “Puer Tea”, a common saying is used to demonstrate the Qing royal court’s appreciation of Puer tea in their daily diet: “Dragon Well tea (Longjing) for summer, and Puer for winter” (Huang Guishu 2005: 86–88). Zhang says that among the various types of Chinese tea, Puer is thought to be the most helpful in digesting greasy food. Today, in the Chinese domestic tea market, both pu-erh and other dark teas are marketed for their ‘weight loss’ benefits.
Going back to Yiwu, where you find minority groups who make the tea, and Han Chinese who migrated there and most are involved in the tea trade. They had good brand awareness even decades ago and used unique icons for their previous pu-erh tea to distinguish is from its counterfeits. They always called their teas as ‘zhenshan’ meaning authentic mountain, and this tea also comes with that name. It is a product of Kunming Tea Factory. To be honest, I do not know what is real what is fake. I could tell though this tea had a good age (13 years +). It had an excellent full-bodied earthiness, no vegetal astringency that I associate with young sheng pu-erhs. I also tasted some fruity sweetness which is not a standard characteristic of sheng pu-erh. At least amongst those that I experienced. In this sense, this tea reminded me of hei cha from Hunan more than a regular aged sheng pu-erh.
Good tea overall.
Type: Pu-erh (dark)
Origin: Yiwu, Yunnan
Harvest time: 2007
Leaf colour: Tones of dark brown
Liquor colour: Amber
Tea aroma: Earthy
Tea taste: Earthy, with slightly sweet and fruity hui gan
Steeping/brewing: Place 6 g of this tea in a teapot or gaiwan and add about 100 ml water at around 100°C. Rinse after 5 sec. Steep for 10 seconds for the second time and increase the consecutive steeping time by 10 seconds each time. You can steep this tea multiple times.
Shelf life: Can be aged