March 2020 Newsletter [excerpt]

Dear Tea Friends,
Greetings! We hope this email finds you happy and healthy. Our little shop has been growing fast, just like new tea leaves under the warm spring sun. This past month we've introduced our first gushu white tea, our first Wuyi rock tea, a second gushu red, and a very special Lishan green oolong. Each tea that we curate holds a special meaning for us, and we are proud to have made these teas available. But now, finally, we are ready to share something truly extraordinary: Danzhu puer.


單株 (dān zhū) means single tree. One tree, one annual harvest, one batch of tea. When I first tasted this tea last year, the direct connection to the mountain, the sky, and the leaf affected me deeply. The quality and power of this tea exemplify my personal beliefs about what Good Tea should be, and more than anything else, it was my inspiration for starting Spiritwood. I couldn't be more excited to finally be able to share this tea with everyone. 
The ancient trees this danzhu puer comes from have been living happily on Ailaoshan for more than 1000 years, and so we have named this tea Millennium Gushu. 哀勞山 (āi láo shān) is a high, remote mountain adjacent to 無量山 (wú liáng shān), which you may recognize as the home of our Dashu White. There are more than ten such trees that Mr. Xu and his son make the danzhu puer from, and each tree produces tea with its own unique flavor. The flavor profile of each tree can be categorized as floral or woody. The three danzhu puers we're listing today are from trees we consider light floral, heavy floral and light woody. 
What is the tea's character? The leaves themselves are not pressed, but loose. This choice by the producers may surprise some of you. Why maocha? Tea in this form is more fragrant and and true to the tree's original taste. The taste itself is not too strong in any one direction, but a complex melange of flavors. Overall much mellower and less bitter than our other young sheng puer teas. Tartness, salinity, musk, fruit, flower, wood and smoke all ebb and flow over the course of a session. This dynamic nature is expected of young tea. Likewise, the tea's character will change in storage. Try the tea again after 3 months, 6 months, 1 year, 2 years, etc. and you will witness an exciting transformation. Indeed, it will improve with age. Aged maocha is every bit as good as aged pressed tea. The main difference is that the changes brought about by post-fermentation will occur faster in maocha than its pressed counterpart.
The 茶氣 (chá qì) of this tea is very strong for a young tea. This is evident in a slow, rising heat that emanates from the body's core, and the belches that it induces. This is proof of the tea's origin, as a young tea can only possess such a strong Cha Qi if it is made from very old trees. Also, the soothing comfort that travels from the mouth all the way into the chest is one indication that this tea comes from trees free of pesticides and chemical fertilizers.

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