Tea enthusiasts looking for a refreshing tea to drink hot or iced during these hot days of summer, would be well served to consider this light, refreshing, regional, loose-leaf interpretation of sheng Pu-erh.

This tea is made from the Dayeh variety of big leaf and was plucked in the Yongde region of Lincang Prefecture in southern Yunnan. The leaf has undergone short withering or wilting, and a quick de-enzyming ( kill-green step ) in a tea firing pan. The leaf was then removed from the pan and rolled and twisted by hand to generate internal cell changes within each tea leaf. Finally, the leaf was given a partially drying in the shade  ( to allow the residual moisture to begin natural fermentation ) and then final drying in the sun.

Yongde-cha is similar in appearance to mao cha, the semi-processed, stable leaf that is used to make Pu-erh, but the difference is that Yongde-cha is finished tea.  Those who had the pleasure of drinking the charcoal-fired Ba Da Ba Ba Cha sheng Pu-erh that we featured last year should know that this tea is reminiscent of that, but it has a lighter, sweeter flavor without the influence of the charcoal-firing.

This tea is only lightly fermented and pleasantly so. In fact, the level of Pu-erh ‘taste’ in this tea is more like a flirtation than an exclamation point. It is delicious drunk plain as an easy-going, refreshing and light sipping tea.

Harvested from old-growth tea bushes during the spring of 2007, this tea has gained some age and has been stored in superb conditions. It is aged just enough to have given up its youthful, woods-y astringency. Drink now or keep another year or two or three.

Curious about loose-leaf Pu-erh and Yongde-cha? Click below for more information.