Ancient Tree Black Rain (黑雨古樹熟茶, Hēi Yǔ Gǔ Shù Shú Chá, "Black Rain Ancient Tree Ripened Tea") - This 2017 tea is somewhat unique in being a Shu (ripe/cooked/fermented) Pu'er made from Gu Shu (ancient tree) material. Pu'er tea is made from the Big Leaf breed of tea plants native to Yunnan province. These tea plants grow into trees as opposed to bushes and can live for centuries. Tea harvested from ancient trees is especially prized among Pu'er aficionados for its powerful Qi.
Due to its rarity and high price, Gu Shu Cha is usually processed as Sheng (unripened) Pu'er. This preserves the delicate floral sweetness of the fresh ancient tree material. It is less common for this precious ancient tree tea to be fermented, in part because fermentation piles are generally very large and ancient tree harvests are small, and in part because the floral notes are lost in the process. It can be likened to using filet mignon to make a hamburger - some people would see it as a waste; some would see it as a really good hamburger.
We love this fancy hamburger of a tea, because the fermentation process takes the clear, powerful Qi of Nannuo Mountain Gu Shu Cha and transforms it into a deep, rolling, grounding energy. The fragrance and flavor of the tea are dark, strong, and mellow. It was fermented in a small batch using the Xiao Dui Zi "small pile" fermentation method. Along with its sister, the Ancient Tree Yuan Sheng Tuo that we call Stone Axe, this is the finest ripe Pu'er we carry.