GRANDPA’S POCKETis a huangpian (“yellow leaf”) sheng pu’er tea from Yibang shan (shan = mountain), Xishuangbanna, Yunnan province, China, pressed in late summer 2023 from material harvested in spring of the same year. 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. 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 premium tea is 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 POCKET is made identically to all our raw pu'er; plucked, withered, fixed, rolled, and sun-dried. This tea is the newest iteration of our last huangpian sheng—and while last year's presented with flavors reminiscent of fine dark liquor, this year's surprised us with sweet red fruit and a more unctuous body.
Like Grandpa's Flask, this tea is perfect 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.