Spirit – Shou Puerh Tee
Erdiger, stark fermentierter Puerh

This cake is part of our Holistic Healing Cakes series for this year’s Light Meets Life fundraiser, which are each created for the three energies that make up the human being, according to Traditional Chinese Medicine: Jing (?), Qi (?) and Shen (?). This is the Shen cake, representing the spirit. It is the most cosmic of the three, connecting you to the Celestial energy that brings perspective and balance to a healthy life. (You can buy the whole set and get free shipping)

Spirit is one of the best shou teas we have ever had. It comes from an organic garden in Mengku (??). That tea was sheng maocha, whereas this tea has been piled. It is a good garden, with some old-growth trees. It is an eco-arboreal garden, which we define as the gardens nearer to the village, which aren’t as good as forest gardens, but are still certified organic, biodiverse, often have old trees and are an example of village farmers and Nature working together cooperatively.

This tea is also a great example of all the principles we have been discussing for how to create a great shou tea. It was intentionally produced—we chose this tea specifically, as it is an affordable maocha from a nice garden. This already makes it extremely rare in the world of shou tea. It was then piled with the introduction of microbes from previous pilings, and done so to a very specific degree: We wanted to maintain as much of the essence of these beautiful trees, leaves and environment in the finished tea as possible, so we requested that the piling be light. Overall, this tea was piled for around twenty-five days, which is much less than the fully-fermented cycles of forty-five to sixty days that most tea producers are following. This means that the tea is still slightly green, especially around the edges. The skillful piling means that there is no “piling flavor (dui wei, ??),” even though it is a new shou puerh.

This also means that Spirit is a great candidate for long-term storage. It won’t just mellow out like fully-fermented shou, losing the pondy piling flavors, but it will actually age and change like a sheng puerh, only to a lesser extent. It will grow deeper and develop all the wonderful flavors and aromas of aged puerh that we know and love, like Chinese herbs, plums, ginseng and that “ancient places” aroma. We are excited to store this tea as a community and taste it throughout its journey.

Spirit is a deep and powerful shou. It draws you inward and connects you to the natural wisdom in your heart. We have found it to be calming, with both earthy flavors and energy. It is dark and rich, with a lessened, though still very present, vibrancy, like you get from a young sheng. We love the flavor, smoothness and Qi of this tea, along with its future potential to become something absolutely extraordinary. As you drink this tea, bowl by bowl or cup by cup, you will find a deep warmth radiating from within. The Chinese say that when the Shen, the Spirit, descends to the heart, the eyes light up, which is why tea is said to “brighten the eyes (??).” And this tea does brighten the eyes in a very powerful way, changing the way you see the world!