Light Meets Life is the bigger future version of our current center, Tea Sage Hut. We plan to build Light Meets Life in the mountains nearby to Miao Li. Our current center hosts hundreds of guests a year. All food, lodging, tea and teachings are free. We operate on a pay-it-forward system. Light Meets Life will continue in that same spirit of giving. We hope to be able to host up to fifteen permanent residents and forty guests on any given day in the new center. The proceeds of this tea and teaware will be used towards the creation of Light Meets Life. Click on the pictures of any of the tea or teaware to see a full page of details!
Liu An is a black tea from Qimen, Anhui. The tea there is used to make Mao Feng green tea, Qimen Gongfu red tea (Keemun) and Liu An. Typically, Liu An is made of lower grades, while the buds are reserved for green tea. However, our friend ordered this amazing all-bud Liu An, which is a grade above the Liu An we sent with the March 2017 issue of Global Tea Hut. This Liu An comes from organic trees that are thirty to seventy years old and seed-propagated. The tea is processed in part in April/May and then left out under the September full moon to absorb what the locals call “white dew.” We call this amazing tea “Golden Thread.” Golden Thread is bright and leads you to the poetic, in William Blake’s sense of the term: an invitation to adventure. This tea is magic; it’s made with fairy dew, after all! There is no other way to describe the experience. When you sit with this tea for an hour or two, the day changes—it glows and the threads lead you beyond your ordinary experience. There aren’t any teas that stand as a point of comparison for this one. It is delicate, yet thrumming, sweet with hints of astringency and roast, and very Yin, pronouncedly so. There is a lot of mystery in its flavor, aroma and the way it makes you feel. We have never tried a tea like this before!
Each basket of Golden Thread is 500g. The minimum donation is 75$ + shipping. All proceeds will go to support our future Center Light Meets Life.
Red Sun Rising is an amazing example of beautiful Qimen red tea. It comes from a rich, organic and biodiverse garden. All of this biodiversity plays a huge role in the health of the land, the trees, and, of course, the leaves used to make this precious tea. It is amazing to walk amongst the healthy hills, breathing fresh air, and to find such healthy and happy tea trees thriving in such glorious surroundings. Bending over, you could see that there was a teeming world beneath each tree, covered in moss and mold, insects and plants, all of which create the necessary biodiversity needed to make vibrant tea. We hope your cup fills you with such visions, each sip a breath of such clean mountain air.
We were also very impressed by the farmer’s dedication to organic farming. He told us that they had formed a local cooperative much like the one that Mr. Xie has formed, training farmers to use organic methods and then helping to sell some of their tea cooperatively after they have received certification. Our guide proudly pronounced that more than three hundred farmers have joined the cooperative so far!
Another unique thing about the farm where this tea was sourced is that all of the tea trees are seed-propagated, which is incredibly rare in this day and age. It is much easier for farmers to use cuttings, allowing for a uniformity that makes the farm easier to maintain and the leaves simpler to process. But as we have discussed in many issues, something natural, essential and deep is lost when the trees are not allowed to reproduce in a natural way—cross-pollinating, which creates a more vibrant, natural expression of the tea’s energy. As we walked amongst the trees, it was easy to see the result of this seed-propagation, since each and every tree was different: some had mutated to have reddish leaves, and they all were unique in size and shape as well.
The liquor of Red Sun Rising brews deep and red like its namesake. It is bold yet sweet, powerful like a dian hong, with much less strength and power, and an added delicacy and refinement that bring grace to the table. Most red teas are best enjoyed in large cups or bowls, but this tea is to be sipped, much like an oolong. The Qi is like a morning breeze—fresh and rising up the way a fine oolong does. Perhaps you taste Golden Thread in this tea. That’s because we had Red Sun Rising shipped to Taiwan in bamboo baskets like Liu An. This tea is best drunk on a clear and clean morning, with birdsong and a clear sky.
We were very lucky to get these four-year-old handmade tea bowls from Auntie Ai, letting us all taste what a few years can do to our beloved Mountain Gate. Also, these balls are completely handmade, including the compression. Rather than using a stone-press to make discuss cakes (bing), these balls are hand-compressed, which takes a long time and lends the tea more character. They were stored in Taiwan these four years, and have changed quite a lot. (Read more about Mountain Gate tea)
Due to inflation and rising prices in new puerh tea every year, this four-year-old Mountain Gate is actually cheaper per gram than the 2016 version is!
Each of these cakes comes hand-stamped with our own Guanyin Light Meets Life stamp on handmade rice paper. Every cake is a different weight, since they were all compressed by hand, but they are roughly 200 grams, give or take 10-15 grams. The minimum donation for each is 60$ +shipping.
This is another very rare opportunity to drink some excellent old-growth puerh tea. This year we traveled to Jingmai with Master Tsai, who has a long-standing friendship with a local family. Snow, our guide, had already gone ahead a month earlier to make sure that we got fresh spring tea, and that they chose from older trees in the forest for our cakes. She supervised the entire process and collected the tea back to Kunming right away. Our cakes are all from old trees, ranging in age from 200 to 800 years.
The tea is stunning, with a powerful and vibrant Qi that takes you directly to the forest. These trees speak old languages we’ve all but forgotten. This is amongst the most powerful teas we’ve ever tried.
The Jingmai tea growing area covers the Lancang County villages of Jingmai and Mangjing. This stretch of 10,000mu cultivated ancient tea gardens has upwards of a thousand years of history. Scholars believe the Jingmai tea mountain was first cultivated over 1200 years ago in 696 C.E. by the ancestors of the Bulang people. The next several dynasties saw a succession of tea planting, leading to the current scale of cultivation. The Jingmai Old-Growth Tea Garden is one of the largest conservatories for old tea trees in the world. It is, furthermore, completely protected and one-hundred percent organic, living tea. In all of our travels in Yunnan, we have never visited a place with a greater concentration of tea trees. Unlike the tall trees in Ai Lao, which are very unique due to the altitude and deciduous nature of the forest, the trees in Jingmai are the more typical jungle/rainforest kind of tea tree, with twisted fairy-tale trunks and branches covered in mold, fungus, vines and other species like Crab’s Claw, which we had the fortune to add to a bowl or two. The forest here sings of tea—a song that we hope you hear through these pages!
The minimum contribution for one of these amazing 250g cakes is 108USD. You are welcome to donate anything beyond that, knowing that it will help bring us closer to building our new center! This price does not include shipping, which will be quoted to you and depend on your country. If you are interested in having one of these 200 cakes or have any questions that weren’t answered here, please contact us.