Norbu Tea Company, LLC Private Label
Vintage: Spring 2011
Compression Date: 4/23/11
Growing Region: Yong De County, Lincang Pref., Yunnan
Size: 250 grams
This beautiful White Bud Pu-Erh Bing Cha is composed entirely of hand harvested, pure white buds from cultivated Yunnan large leaf varietal tea grown in Yong De county of Lincang Prefecture near China’s border with Myanmar. It was harvested in the Spring of 2011 and processed at a small facility in this rather remote area of Yunnan. It was compressed for us at a small tea factory in Kunming in late April, 2011 using traditional stone presses. It is a long awaited update to our our first private production compressed tea from back in 2008, and we’re happy it’s finally here.
It is important to keep in mind that this tea is that it is not a conventional, mildly sweet white tea. White teas are simply picked and dried, while this was processed just like other Pu-Erh teas. It was picked, withered, pan fired, and sun dried, creating a flavor profile that is different, more assertive than conventional white tea, and is suitable for storage up to about 10 years or so.
These white buds provide a nicely assertive flavor profile with very little of the bitterness common to other young Sheng Pu-Erh. It is young tea, and, at this point (September, 2011), the flavor is distinct with hints of evergreen, camphor and a mild, almost floral sweetness in the finish that should transform into a malty-sweetness if it ages the way I think it will. There is a slight smokiness present that comes from using a wood-fired wok to pan fire the buds during processing which should meld more into the background over the next few months to a year.
In my opinion, this tea is best steeped Gong Fu style, and I have settled on about 7-8 grams in a 150ml gaiwan or Yixing teapot using boiling water.
It is fairly well suited to western style steeping, and I like to use about 2 teaspoons per 8 oz cup, boiling water, and a 2-2.5 minute first steep. Of course, tastes will vary, so please experiment with times, temperatures, and amount of leaf used until you find your preference.