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GRANDPA'S FLASK | sheng pu'er

NOTES  TOFFEE | PIPE TOBACCO | BITTER

GRANDPA’S FLASKis a huangpian (“yellow leaf”) sheng pu’er tea from Gedeng shan (shan = mountain), Xishuangbanna, Yunnan province, China, pressed in spring 2022 from material harvested in spring 2020. Huangpian describes a pu’er made from the older leaves on each branch. That is, while Yunnan tea trees are all perennial and produce new growth each season, older leaves (5, 6, or 7 leaves down from new shoots) are left to mature. This is the source material for huangpian—huge, discolored leaf, rich with botanical constituents from extended life on the trees. Further, these specific trees are gushu (“ancient tree”, denoting a tree at least 100 years old, but usually 150-300 years approximately), and their deep-reaching roots supply a wealth of minerals and other compounds from the high quality soils found in these tea forests. The exact chemical makeup of these trees is poorly understood, but manifests itself in an unscientific concept called “cha qi”, or “tea energy”. After 8 or 9 cups of this tea, you'll know what we mean.

Huangpian is sometimes called farmer’s tea, as the finished product was traditionally considered not beautiful enough for the wealthy domestic buyers for whom Gedeng shan tea was once reserved. So, it was what the farmers drank, and reportedly preferred—the mature leaf produces a richer flavor and bolder body than new-growth sheng. Produced with whole leaf (and not from the sorted-out material of sheng productions) from trees aged on average 150 years, GRANDPA’S FLASK is made identically to RAWISM; plucked, withered, fixed, rolled, and sun-dried. Pressed in 2022 from 2020 material, just two years have rounded out the bitter bite of this tea (a desirable quality in pu’er, indicating aging potential and chemical richness), giving way to butterscotch sweetness with a soft aroma of pipe tobacco.

This tea is great for grandpa steeping (no pun intended)—just crack off a 6-7 gram chunk in a mug, steep, drink and leave about 2-3 oz in the cup, top off with water, and repeat until the tea stops giving, which takes awhile with this one. Expect 10-15 steeps in small-format.

VINTAGE — SPRING '20 (PRESSED IN SPRING '22)
STYLE — HUANGPIAN ("YELLOW LEAF") SHENG PU'ER
CULTIVAR — HEIRLOOM DA YE ("BIG LEAF")
REGION — XISHUANGBANNA, YUNNAN, CHINA
LOCALE — GEDENG SHAN
ELEVATION — 1430 METERS
PRODUCER — XIAOHUI QUAN


STEEPING PARAMETERS

(use freshly boiled spring water)

modern, large format
[300 ml+ vessel — BOLI, large teapot]

4 grams — 210°F (99°C) — 1 minutes

traditional, small format
[150 ml- vessel — gaiwan, small teapot]

7 grams — 210°F (99°C) — 15 seconds
(rinse recommended)
+ 15-20 seconds each additional steep