For the second year, we've pressed our own Light Meets Life cakes to help build our new center. Of course, our center is still committed to being a nonprofit school that does not sell tea or teaware. We view these pressings as a donation-based drive, rather than as part of a shift towards becoming tea merchants. None of the proceeds from these cakes will be used to maintain our current center or for any other project. We keep all LML funds in a separate account in the States to be used in building our new center when enough has accumulated.
Of course, the best way that you can support our endeavor is to help spread awareness of Global Tea Hut. When GTH membership reaches around 2,000 members, we will be able to start building a new, bigger and brighter center. This will be a place we can all retreat to, learn about Cha Dao and gather in celebration as a global community devoted to preserving and promoting the spirit of Tea.
We have done some meditations to connect to the spirit of these old trees in Yunnan - the source of all Cha Dao. The trees are in alignment with a center that will help educate people about plant medicine, respect for Mother Earth and harmony between humans and other life forms. Their energy will consequently be a part of Light Meets Life, as they give their leaves to encourage us.
We hope that you find a special joy in these teas, knowing that in drinking them you are also helping to create a new center for all of us to benefit from. They are great teas, and even better for the energy that they represent!
As most of your know, we also produced a rare, limited edition Ai Lao sheng puerh from 1000-year-old trees. For information on that cake, please visit our site. Opposite is a short description of each of the more affordable cakes we made this year, both of which are available now.
The minimum donation for these cakes will be $25 USD + shipping. If you buy a few, we can calculate and decrease the shipping. There are no handling charges. We are also offering a special price of $160 USD for a tong (seven cakes) of either tea. Both of these teas and the ancient-tree Ai Lao are up on our site. Email us for details or if you have any other questions:firstname.lastname@example.org
The first cake is a 2012 Lincang shou puerh blended with Kunlun snow chrysanthemums. It is very rare to find a shou puerh that is clean and has some old-growth raw material, especially since the price of such old-tree tea has gone up recently. Shou tea is almost always a blend of tea from various regions, making it hard to regulate. This tea was produced in 2012 and aged for a couple years before compression this summer.
Snow chrysanthemums are a rare and highly sought-after high-altitude flower from Kunlun Mountain, Gansu Province, China. The flowers are picked and sun-dried once a year (late summer), then hand-sorted into various grades. This is the highest grade available, and it brews a lovely liquor with a strong sweet and spicy flavor. It is thought that properties within the chrysanthemum flower have a calming effect that aids sleep. In the Traditional Chinese Materia Medica, snow chrysanthemum is said to restore respiratory fitness and regulate the blood. And in Western medicine, they are said to help prevent cancer. The two are an amazing elixir combined, and as many of you found out last year, a classic tea.
The second cake is a "Dian Hong" or red tea from Yunnan. This tea is very similar to the Global Tea Hut tea of the month we sent you called "Golden Vajra"; it is actually from the same producer and garden, but different season (the tea we sent you in May was autumn tea and this is spring, so it is more vibrant and full-flavored). She comes from the wild forests of Lincang, in Feng Qing County. The trees are between fifty and one hundred years old. They are protected trees sometimes used for puerh production, and are pure Assamica. Many of the red teas from Yunnan are hybrids that were pressured to produce more buds, making them "tippy", which makes the tea sweeter. This tea, however, is not "tippy". There aren't as many buds, which lends the tea a bit of the depth, Qi and astringency of a puerh. It also means that the tea would be an excellent candidate for aging. We are very excited to share this amazing tea, and see how it changes over the years. It is one of our favorite Yunnanese reds to date!
In most cakes, compression of teas other than puerh is a gimmick to cash in on the popularity of puerh tea. However, with Yunnanese reds (Dian Hong) that are made from old-growth raw material (mao cha), there is a very real "ageability" to the tea. And tea ages better in cake form. This is so easily demonstrable when comparing the same puerh tea loose and compressed after some years. It probably has something to do with a better environment for the microbes, as well as the steam used in compression, which makes a good environment for them to thrive. (If you remember from the Five Characteristics of Puerh in our September issue, the relationship between puerh tea and the microbes that cover the trees is essential.) Also, there are subtler, energetic effects which is why so much more tea back in the day was compressed.