Our 2005 MUDDY LIPS shou pu-erh is quite the unusual tea. Just looking at the leaves, you can tell this one’s an oddball. Very large leaves from old trees like these are not typically used for shou pu-erh as they are considered too valuable. Farmers tend to keep them for their sheng pu-erh production, which the market will likely buy at a higher price. Most of the time, shou pu-erh is made from small, often plantation-type leaves that grow fast and give (tastewise) something relatively generic. But you know, here and there we meet producers who are willing to try something different.
This shou pu-erh was produced by a small factory in the Jing Gu area. The leaves came from the neighboring farms, a bunch of tiny family-run gardens on high altitude slopes. None of them really exceed one acre in size. The average age of the trees in this area seemed to be 80 to 100 years old at the time (2010). Wo Dui (“wet piling” – the fermentation process) was over-all very gentle, hence the unbroken material, even after transformation. 30 days total, with only one turning of the leaves somewhere in the middle. This kind of “softer” fermentation really suits the fuller, more mature leaves this tea is made of.
Tastewise, the tea is earthy (as expected) with a very dominant dark chocolate aroma (not as expected). Richer and smoother than your average shou pu-erh, it brings back souvenirs of a muddy childhood along with the sweet taste of hot cocoa on your lips. A soothing brew with a soft spicy aftertaste… nothing better for a cozy Sunday afternoon.
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