It is made from tea trees that age is a few hundred years old. It gives magnificent level of aftertaste up to the extent of Single Tree Tea. The distinctive difference is that the single tree tea gives creamy and silky drinking sensation and the flavour is richer, while Da Cha Lin gives a brisk taste with clear and easy-drinking sensation. Although it's a new tea, it tastes a little like an aged tea.
Great aftertaste as Single Tree Tea
Da Cha Lin is one of the tea gardens owned by my manufacturer. The tea garden is located at about 2100m above sea level. This particular tea garden consists of huge ancient tea trees that really overwhelmed me when I saw it for the first time. Because of outstanding number of huge tea trees, locals in the village call it Da Cha Lin.
Da Cha Lin Tea Garden As a common practice in Yunnan, each generation of farmer plants tea tree. They care not only their own life but also the future of their children and grandchildren. So, most of so-called Ancient Tea Garden in Yunnan generally consists of various ages of trees. However most of tea trees in Da Cha Lin are very old. Since long ago, this garden has been saturated with ancient tea trees and no more space for growing young tea tree.
Oolong Tea plucking standard
During tea season, tea starts growing at different timing, yet it is quite common that every tea manufacturer faced the problem of manpower shortage. My tea manufacturer usually has six people from their relatives. In 2019, it was very strange year that all teas started to grow at the same timing. As a result, it was impossible to collect teas from all tea trees that they owned. Needless to say, it was not possible to get others to participate in tea plucking for them since everyone else are facing the same situation. In particular, Da Cha Lin consists of so many huge tea trees. They were obviously not catching up. As a result, many ancient tea trees were left unattended and unplucked.
I felt it was such a waste to just let-go of these teas. Although the right timing was over, still, it is the first flush tea in spring. In fact, the size of tea leaves is still not too big. It was just about the size of oolong tea standard. Tea leaf is still tender even though it has grown up slightly bigger. Moreover, whatever tea trees left unplucked were particularly huge tree that was originally meant to be processed into the Single Tree Tea.
Since these tea trees were originally meant for the single tea tree, its taste was simply great. We felt we should not leave it behind. So, we decided to process them into pu-erh tea.
The rich and complex taste despite late plucking
Generally, the late-plucked tea has larger bulk density. So, it is much harder to carry out pan-frying as tea leaf is unable to trap sufficient steam. This is the reason that most of the late-plucked teas is fried at too high temperature and the freshness is spoiled. We studied the loading quantity and temperature to optimize the parameter for pan-frying. As a result, we managed to achieve the ideal taste and flavour. When tea was just produced, it was like oolong tea. The taste was very clear and refreshing, and the flavour was like orchids. After we processed mao-cha into tea cake, the flavour became milder and the orchid note was missing, and after keeping for some time, now the flavour became sweet grassy note with sugar cane flavour. Da Cha Lin is very rich in poly phenols and minerals. So, I expect that it will age fast and well. It should be able to develop more sweet fruity flavour soon.