I recalled, in a very long time ago in the 1970s, an old Teamaster told me that some tea goes a very long way. A few tea leaves thrown into a big kettle would enabled the tea to be brewed for almost the whole day, pots after pots of it.
Many years later, I discovered some tea with this character. I call this type of tea the “Superpower” tea.
In the late 1990s and early 2000, a group of tea experts toured Yunnan to study the Puer tea in detail. They were amazed why the Chinese, being very resourceful, left the wild tea trees alone. After thorough studies, they realised and concluded that only wild tea harvested in Spring is suitable to be processed into Puer tea.
It was only around the time in early 2000, some small producer began harvesting some wild tea in the early Spring and started the wild Puer tea movement. But the Puer tea market response was lukewarm and hesitant. There was a lot of doubts about wild tea Puer as most collectors were more in flavour of Cultural Revolution tea and older mass market tea at that time.
Finally, after more that a decade, wild spring tea aged to be one of the most powerful, smooth and flavorful tea and presently sought after by many Puer tea connoisseurs. The two Puer teas that I have discovered as Superpower tea are from Yiwu mountain produced in 2001, both of them are wild spring Puer tea. It is the similar batch of tea produced by the same producer in different packaging. One of them in yellow mark Chitze and the other in the producer own label.
However, not all the wild spring tea can be considered as a Superpower tea. The probability is higher for those tea harvested from the wild for the first time or a biodynamic wild or old ancient tree. The harvest has to be in very low frequency during spring and they should be well processed and stored. These are probably some of essential criterias for Superpower tea.
Brewing a Superpower tea is a little bit tricky. Initially I made some mistakes brewing the tea in the usual amount which I normally used which is around 2-3gms per 120ml of boiling hot water, subject to the accuracy of my hand pinching.
The tea turned out to be extremely strong and powerful to the point of being too concentrated; overwhelming in taste, aftertaste, aroma and body to a degree of being undesirable.
I realised later that to express it correctly, the tea needs to be stretch widely or thinner in the brewing. The Superpower tea is like an 3 hour orchestra piece condensed into 30 minutes. So the quantity of tea leaves used is reduced drastically, perhaps to a third of the normal amount with shorter brewing time using in a bigger tea pot.
With this moderation in brewing, the tea is still very strong, full bodied, with complex aroma, smooth and flavorful, and highly desirable brew after brew. The brew transformed into a superstar tea.
Superpower tea is a very high quality and rare tea. The quality of the tea may be due to a few essential criterias i.e. a very well processed and stored tea, biodynamic wild tea that are harvested in low frequency during Spring. Enjoying a Superpower tea is a real joy, it lasted brews after brews for a long time.
The lengthy brew makes the tea bow gracefully into obscurity and transcending the tea ceremony into a spiritual level of enjoyment.