Yunnan “7 Signs” Bing Cha
Puerh... this one... I’ll start by saying it is not 7 sons official (a famous puerh brand)… but apparently, it comes from a farmer who supplies that one, who also creates and packages up his own, very similar… in a different wrapper… that said … it was a happy accident that I got it, I guess… A well compressed raw Pu-Erh Bing Cha, known for its wild and powerful character in flavor... purchased this one from JC Ho of Funnel Mill Rare Coffees & Teas, in Santa Monica, CA. I've been visiting JC for while, now... Popping in to ask way too many questions, have tea, sit at my laptop some days, share cups with friends at other times... and then, yea, asking JC more questions... ha - I've learned so many fun random factoids from this guy! His tea (and food!) knowledge goes deep. Originally from Taiwan, JC has travelled extensively throughout Asia, and has quite a few stories... and I love his whole ethos around tea - he is super passionate, and takes great pride in what he and his wife procure, how they store it, etc...
So, with this particular tea... you know... I probably drove JC slightly crazy, because I just kept coming in at odd times, to ask for a pot of it. "May I have the one I love, please!" And I'd sit there for an hour or two, resteep the leaves six to nine times, and then he'd take a look at the leaves to say - "You still have such a ways to go! Take it home!" And so he'd put these in a to-go cup for me, I'd go home, put the half spent leaves in the fridge, and resteep the next morning... for an hour or two puerh sesh... I didn’t even notice the funny name on the menu, I was really just coming back for the taste and feeling…
So... after maybe the seventh time, coming back for this tea, he said - "don't you just want to buy a cake!? You're drinking so much of this! It'll be less expensive to just buy the cake, and I'll keep it here for you!" It was a 2009 'vintage'. But, I kinda loved the way it was tasting in their room, in those pots, sitting in those big cozy arm chairs. So... I thought about it for a bit, and appreciated the gesture - I didn't want to commit, just yet, even though I was totally obsessed. Ah, tea, and the relationship there... It can be such a great reflection of life, too - ha! But of course, finally, after... probably the twelfth time in, I bought the cake. Same farmer, different year - this one that I'm discussing today, is from 2000. Funny that its a knock off from around that time, as there were quite a few going around then... But still, it’s really good!
I can't quite put into words how wonderfully it melts along the back of my throat... this sweet, sultry, earthy soil-like tea, which then bursts right below my collar bone, and drops so much love into my core... the Qi here, is pretty potent, guys. Passionately energizing.
The cake is a private reserve from a celebrated Puerh tea farmer master in Yunnan province, who went to Menghai to supervise the picking and processing of the leaves, himself. But again, the wrapper is questionable- haha. I don’t mind, again, a happy accident. The liquor is thick and shiny with a light red-orange color - a sign of well balanced aging. There is no bitterness, and it has a super soft and creamy texture, with still such bold wonderful flavor. There is a malty, heartiness to the taste, which again, I can only best describe as "it's like drinking the sweetest, most lovely fertile soil"... and yea, its got some woody undertones. And sure, a dried fruit aroma is developed noticeably in the aftertaste. But really, that earthiness... and the way of its Qi... so, so good...
Ah, puerh, a deep well of everything... as some say, whisper your wish into the steam from the first pot of tea, and see where that goes by the time you're finished brewing the entire lot.
Songs I enjoy while I drink this tea... everyone from George Michael (oh yes), to Susanne Sundfør, to... well, most definitely Frank Ocean... "Moon River"... oh yesssssss...
Moon river wider than a mile
I'm crossing you in style someday (someday, day)
A dream maker (maker, maker)
My heartbreaker (you heartbreaker)
Wherever you're goin', I'm goin' that way (the same, the same)
Two drifters off to see the world
There's such a crazy world to see
We're all chasin' after all the same
Chasing after our rainbow's end
Moon river wider than a mile
Crossin' in style someday
My dream maker
Wherever you're going I'm going the same
Much love, RR