shelter - 2008 Wuliang Shan (bamboo baskets)

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2008 sheng pu-erh tea from Wuliang mountains patiently aged in bamboo baskets for over a decade, SHELTER presents a rare combination of soothing aromatics and extraordinary depth of taste.

Great material origin and unique storage makes the story here. Leaves are from trees over 100 years old (Qiao Mu) growing semi-wild under the care of a few Kucong families. These types of farms were quite common around the area (I believe they still are) and made it somewhat easy to find good material at reliable prices, hence Wuliang Shan’s reputation. Bamboo processing was also very common among Kucong people. Although we’ve mostly seen teas pressed in bamboo tubes and bamboo leaves, bamboo baskets weren’t all that rare either. Most vendors rather opted for classic cake pressings, of course, but bamboo conditioning carried on and is still used even today. We like it a lot. It adds a few layers of rusticity and character to the tea.

In terms of maturation, this tea had two years head start aging in Yunnan followed by extensive dry storage in the West. This slow aging has deepened its aromas and mellowed its tannins quite a bit, but nothing like you’d find coming from Hong Kong, Taiwan or Malaysia. Tannins are very present but smooth, not aggressive at all (hallmark of a good dry storage) while aromas have taken a more mature turn with medicinal notes like camphor, incense and moss. Despite being now 13 years old, SHELTER has kept most of its vigor. It brews a full-bodied cup with dense aromatics contrasted by a light and fresh finish (courtesy of its bamboo conditioning).


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