|My big fat nose smelling the still dry leaves in the pre-warmed gaiwan.|
Smacha 2016 Jing Mai Maocha.
This amazing, long stick-like tower of leaves is a Jing Mai Sheng, Moacha. As you probably know, Moacha is unpressed Pu Erh and so every leaf is intact. Jing Mai borders Myanmar on the south and west and is the home to several tea-making and tea-loving ethnic minorities.
Collectively, the ancient tea plantations of Jingmai Mountain in Yunnan form the largest cultivated tea plantation in the world. More than a million ancient tea trees, some more than a thousand years old, and most between ten and 30 feet tall, grow in the understory of the rain forest. Jing Mai Mountain was part of the Yunnan trunk of the ancient Tea Horse Road, the legendary network of China-to-Tibet commercial routes. There were multiple pathways in the “road,” which gets its name from its primary use in the 11th century as a way for China to trade tea for Tibetan horses. At the time, the going rate (set by the Sichuan Tea and Horse Agency) was 130 pounds of tea for one horse.
(Borrowed liberally for Nat Geo)
For my first adventure with this tea I used five grams in my Jian Shui gaiwan at 200f, First two steeps were good but a little mouth-weak. Kicked up the water temp to 209f and ZOWIE. Awesome. Full back of throat Sheng flavor, no astringency, sweet and tight and with a strong Qi which is waking my ass UP!
(Remember that scene in 'American Beauty' after Kevin Spacey gets high with that kid with the amazing eyebrows? And later he goes to the kid to buy some weed and he asks the kid if the weed the kid is selling him is the weed they had smoked the previous night together? And the kid says, 'This is the only one I ever smoke.' Well, that's how I feel right now. Like if I had to choose one tea, ok, make that one SHENG, this would be IT.)
Damn. Who knew? 2016 Jing Mai Maocha from Smacha Tea. Not even on their website yet. Get some when you can. Keep an eye out, dudes!