flora - 2004 Yibang from Shi Kun Mu

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2004 sheng pu-erh from Yibang

If you were buying tea on the internet in the early 2010s, you've probably seen some of Shi Kun Mu's private pressing being sold around. Perhaps this particular cake or perhaps his other pressings (from Yiwu, Manzhuan and Menghai), all of which were made according to the gold standard of the time: spring material from the oldest trees possible. While this type of "Taiwanese boutique teas" wasn't as appreciated back then as it is today, the cakes still sold pretty well and have become quite rare. They were, and still are, very distinctive in style. 

FLORA leans heavily on aromatics with clears head notes (moss, undergrowth, black cherries) and a refreshingly sweet aftertaste. The structure of the tea itself seems to have more in common with dark oolongs or Dian Hong black teas than with sheng pu-erh: it's thick and clean, easy on tongue and a real taste bud pleaser. There's a striking similarity with buckwheat honey the way rusticity blends with high aromatic notes. Quite enjoyable.  

The raw material was processed and stone pressed in Changtai Tea Factory (Changtai Tea Group) in Yiwu, and dry storage has preserved much of the original character over time.

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