The seventh release of our much-loved Young Gushu series - showcasing the joys of fresh Sheng PuErh maocha. Our 2022 selection is an absolute winner from 300 year old trees (estimated) growing in the more unusual village area of Li Da near Fengqing.
What is the Young Gushu series? It's a homage to the way that farmers drink their PuErh in Yunnan - a loose leaf assamica green tea fresh from sun-drying and straight into the gaiwan. No fuss, no pressing into cakes, no fancy artwork, no ageing. We want you to experience this back-to-basics way of enjoying the finest PuErh. Another advantage is that you get to sip on immaculate PuErh without splurging money on a cake.
Why? Because there is something magical about drinking fresh and loose PuErh. Not only does it bring us back to the perfect simplicity of such a hyped tea type but, if you find the right tea, can give you a very different experience - capturing the verve and vitality of Springtime in Yunnan and the directness of the terroir since the leaf is simply dried under the sun with no further processing.
The problem is that finding candidates for the Young Gushu series is very challenging. We want ancient tea material which has richness, complexity and body. A tea which would be worthy of making into an expensive tea cake and ageing for years. Yet, we also need that tea to have the Springtime lightness and an easy sipping nature which is often hard to come by with fresh assamica maocha (they are often too astringent and 'green' which is reduced with cake-pressing and ageing).
While Young Gushu teas are chosen for drinking fresh, they will continue to age beautifully - they will certainly age differently to cake-pressed teas but in our experience they perform fabulously over the years.
Our 2022 Young Gushu was the hardest tea to find this year because the weather in Yunnan in March and April impacted the quality of a lot of tea areas. We found that many of the Maocha (loose leaf PuErh) which we sampled had muted flavours or excessive astringency in the finish. I was very much about to give up but we pushed our scouts into more unusual regions and we found this jewel in Li Da village. This is an area from which we have never sourced any PuErh but after tasting this one I will definitely be going back in future years.
The tea is spectacular - rich, resinous and fruity yet with a creamy mouthfeel and taste and a little 'adult' saffron spice. Easy sipping, bulging with flavour and character and potent in body sensation - BAM! Young Gushu 2022 is one of my favourites of recent years.