Yunnan Black Cake
Sun-dried Black Tea (Shaihong) Pressed into a 200g Cake
We went to Yunnan to learn about the world of Puer and instead we discovered Shaihong! One of Yunnan's best kept secrets, "Sun-dried black tea" is a gem that deserves showcasing.
In contrast to mainstream black teas that are dried in an oven, Shaihong leaves are simply dried under the sun. A natural process that results in a mellow black tea with raisin-like sweetness and velvety consistency.
Our Yunnan Black is hand-picked from wild tea trees (between the age of 50 and 100 years) in Zhanglang village, Xishuangbanna. Bordering Myanmar, the village is home to the Bulang ethnic minority who have been practicing their age-old puer-making traditions for thousands of years.
We met this producer, along with his wife and family by pure chance, or Yuanfen as it is called, simply stumbling upon their modest processing facility during our stay in the village. We observed as the family processed the tea together until the evening when the owner came to fry puer leaves over a wok. It wasn't until the next day when he gave us a ride into town that he gifted us this magnificent Shaihong cake, wrapped in an adorable paper depicting the colorful traditions of the Bulang people. The moment I opened it and brewed it back home, I was hooked.
With rich notes of dark chocolate and dried fig, this tea brews a deep, cherry red liquor and can be brewed up to 8 times in one sitting. As you continue brewing, you'll notice the different layers emerging - spice, cacao beans, raisins. Don't let the cake form intimidate you - Once you practice breaking pieces off a few times, it's actually a very convenient way to store and drink tea. We recommend our tea knife for easy breakage.
Just like a fine wine, this tea also gains complexity and value with age. A must try for wine connoisseurs, especially those who enjoy silky red wines like Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon.
PICKED Oct 2017 PRESSED Mar 2018 (Aged)
ORIGIN Zhanglang, Xishuangbanna, Yunnan | Bulang Tribe
LEAF Da Ye Zhong (big leaf), Da Shu (big tea trees 50 ~ 100 years old) | Bud and 3 leaves
CRAFT Picked, withered, rolled & sun-dried. Pressed into cakes.
TASTING NOTES Dark Chocolate, Cinnamon, Red Date, Honey
We recommend using a small clay teapot or Gaiwan to brew this black tea. Use our Tea Knife to help you break off pieces of the cake seamlessly. We were also pleasantly surprised to find out this tea makes a delicious cold-brew, with its natural sweetness really coming into play.
Chinese Brew (Gaiwan): 5g | 150ml | 95°C | 20 sec | +5 secs for additional brews | Can steep ~ 8 times
Western Brew (Mug / Teapot): 5g | 350ml | 95°C | 1 min | + 20 secs for additional brews | Can steep ~ 4 times
Cold-Brew (Pitcher): 12g | 750ml | Room temp. | 8 hours in fridge | Strain & serve with ice