Our apologies to Tea Urchin. We forgot the credit for his photos.
Yong Hin Pao Pu-erhs are among some of the best available. Yet, little is known of the factory that produces them other than it’s located in Yunnan Province in China. The tea leaves are harvested from Yiwu Mountain and Man Zhuan Mountain.
Yiwu is probably the most famous tea mountain in the Pu-erh world and is the biggest of the six famous tea mountains in the Yunnan Province. On the foothills of Yiwu, a high concentration of Taidi (plantations) can be seen. A lot of the teas from this area, however, are Gushu (made from the old growth trees) as much as 200 years old and with thick trunks.
|Photos courtesy of the Tea Urchin.|
The area has many small villages where tea is an important part of their economy. Some tea farmers, though, saw a big drop in prices and so cut down many of those old tea trees, only to regret it later and the teas became more well-known and prices rose.
Mahei, a village about 9 kilometers from Yiwu city, is the most well-known of those villages. They, along with Luoshuidong, Daqishu and Manxiu, produce teas that are characteristic of the region, having the “proper Yiwu taste,” as one tea connoisseur calls it. The tea trees are not planted in rows but instead can be found in clear grounds and in forests. They are short enough, though, for more easy harvesting. Not all of the trees are old. Just as with any more natural growth, there are young plants in among the older ones. The Yiwu mountain area is still wild enough that tourists often only go as far as the Mahei village. However, the remote location assures no pollution. Producers vary in their quality, some taking more care than others. So, choose carefully.
Yiwu tea is excellent, this is also why it is so pricey. It is sweet but not weak. Good Yiwu tea slowly makes you feel high, and, in this aspect, is similar to Lao Banzhang. Yiwu is thus considered an important Pu-erh mountain.
Man Zhuan Mountain
Man Zhuan Mountain is a neighbor mountain to Yiwu Mountain in Mengla county (Xishuangbanna Prefecture) in China. It is one of the six famous tea mountains in the area and the small Man Zhuan village, comprised of only 28 families, is reputed to be one of the best places to buy pure Gushu near Yiwu. The villagers share 50-60mu of old trees split into parcels of land on the east & west sides of the mountain (elevation 1,250m) and harvest leaves five times per year, producing an average of 100kg of maocha. The frequent harvests actually improves tea flavor as it encourages bud growth. The families have bamboo drying trays set up all over to sun dry the leaves. You can see them all around the village. And the teas they produce are known for their exceptional fragrance.
|Photos courtesy of the Tea Urchin.|
Some examples (in order of year first pressed and all currently sold out):
2000 Yong Pin Hao “Yi Wu Zheng Shan” Stone-Pressed Raw tea — Pressed from naturally growing (wild arbor) trees that are 100 to 200 years of age. Entirely first flush of Spring 2000 (end of March).
2003 Yong Pin Hao “Stone-Pressed Man Zhuan Mountain Wild Arbor” — Similar to Yi Wu but different in appearance and taste. Lighter color and more prominent fat white shoots. A subtle flowery aromatic quality.
2003 Yong Pin Hao “Yi Wu Zheng Shan” Stone-Pressed Raw tea — Pressed from naturally growing (wild arbor) trees that are 100 to 200 years of age. Entirely first flush of Spring 2003 (end of March).
2005 Yong Pin Hao “Stone-Pressed Yi Wu Mountain” tea cake — First flush of Spring 2005 material. The brewed tea is thick and sweet, the liquor color is a deep yellow. An excellent hand-processed Yi Wu tea from a natural setting. Thick deep golden colored liquor and a nutty rich taste.
You may not have a chance to travel there, but Yong Hin Pao pu-erhs are certainly worth checking out.
See also: What’s So Special About Mengku Tea?