Gu Shu Pu’er tea has been capturing the imaginations and taste buds of tea aficionados ever since Pu’er tea emerged from the jungles of Yunnan. Several market crazes later and you can find yourself spending through the nose or just avoiding some of the most famous areas that produce these amazing teas. We found this beautiful village in Zhanglang to bring you the sublime and captivating taste of high-end Pu’er at an affordable price, while still remaining authentic. Drink it now or age this one for decades, either way, you win.
Having visited Zhanglang in 2018, we weren’t surprised that the 2019 tea was also a stunner . We planned for a long session and the tea delivered us 2 solid hours of joyous sipping. The dry leaf evoked powerful scents of warmed, wet grains, maltiness, and some decent barnyard aromas. The first infusion brewed up a bright yellow with a healthy amount of tea fuzz floating about the sharing pot. The aroma was lightly pear scented with some mineral elements and more hints of maltiness. The first sip was absolute bliss! Sweetness and hay, with hints of plum that created a solid foundation for the complex aroma thatfeatured fresh hay and tease of earthy stables. But it was the mouthfeel that really stole the show. Mousse like from the very first sip, filling the mouth completely but with a delicate lightness. This sensation follows along as you swallow, extending all the way down creating a fantastic throat feel (喉韵). This is one of the hardest aspects of tea to describe but perhaps a metaphor can help. The mouthfeel of this tea was thick and silky and it is easy to think that means a ‘slippery’ or low friction liquor quality, but that is not quite it. It’s something more akin to a piece of fabric like a high thread count cotton or thick high-quality silk. These fabrics have a certain feeling when you touch them, but they also has their own substance and properties that go beyond the sense of touch along. For example, how it feels when you ball it up in your hand and how it flows and moves when it hangs? Mouthfeel is the liquid version of these quality aspects.
You’ll want to take your time with this tea. It will come to life as you infuse it. For us, the early infusions were full of sweetness and quite delicate for a young Pu’er. A very pleasant opening. But as we continued, the power of the tea crescendoed (beginning around the 4th to 5th infusion). The following infusions were bold and powerful, some bitterness and astringency teased the mouth and was followed with fast, refreshing after-sweet. The age of the tree and the quality of the material were readily apparent in these sips. Perfectly drinkable today, this tea will easily age for decades if you can find the patience!