Our yearly edition of Young Gushu hits the shelves and this year our winning PuErh comes from the ancient tea forests of Jing Mai.
While Raw PuErh (Sheng) is well known as being suitable for ageing, traditionally these teas are consumed young and fresh. So, every year we search for a PuErh Gushu (tea made from ancient trees above about 200 years old) which is a stellar tea when consumed fresh. That's not to say that the tea will not age incredibly (it probably will).
In order to qualify as Mei Leaf 'Young Gushu' the tea has to have a complexity of character, and youthful energy without excessive astringency or bitterness so that it drink it is a purely pleasurable PuErh drinking experience from year one. In fact, the price of Sheng tea in Yunnan is usually more expensive when fresh, drops in value after year three, and begins rising after five years of ageing. This is how the local ethnic groups drink their precious PuErh and we love a great young Sheng.
Our original 'Young Gushu 2015' came from Jing Mai and after three years of editions, we have found another top-drawer tea from this mountain area. Jing Mai is well known for having bright, sweet and floral aromatics. This tea has those for sure, however, the reason why this tea won over other contestants is that it has deeper and more dried and cooked fruit notes as well as rich minerality which gives the finish texture, juiciness and a delicious sweet Hui Gan lingering aroma.
The leaves of this Jing Mai look more delicate than you average raw PuErh. The farmers are saying that the cultivar is Da Ye Zhong but this tends to be a standard cultivar name and I think that the leaves are from a smaller leaf version of these Assamica trees which is why the SCOPE of this tea is Da Ye Zhong / Zhong Xiao Ye Zhong. Delicate leaves require more careful brewing which is why I recommend brewing with slightly cooler water to control the balance of the tea flavour. Try these brewing guidelines and adapt according to your taste of course.
Congratulations to the farmers of Jing Mai for making this pinnacle tea - Young Gushu 2018 - another winning Sheng to add to your collection.