Secret Garden 2018 Spring Raw Puer

Tea type
Pu'erh Tea
Pu Erh Tea Leaves
Grass, Green, Hot Hay, Medicinal
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Edit tea info Last updated by TJ Elite
Average preparation
200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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From Bitterleaf Teas

This year’s Secret Garden has reverted back to its “original recipe” and we couldn’t be happier about it. This Yiwu region tea comes from a remote garden buried at the end of a several hours vertical hike. At the end of this hike, fangyang “left to grow” trees are scattered in a field just above a stream, with plenty of bugs, green grass and wild banana trees throughout to keep them company. However, we are not implying that banana/fruit trees growing nearby directly impart a fruity flavour, as that’s not exactly how it works, more so that this highlights the biodiversity and quality of the land.

The tea itself does have a fruit-like sweetness in its younger age though. It is very fragrance-forward with some roughness and astringency that will mellow with age, as we have already noticed with the 2016 pressing. This tea is highly recommended for drinkers seeking a quality Yiwu region tea, as it embodies a lot of the best qualities of East Banna teas, with its own unique flavour.

After skipping a year, this year’s material for our Secret Garden is the exact same as used for its original incarnation in 2016. Hail storms in the spring of 2017 and difficult weather caused this tea to slip between our fingers last year. This year required significant effort on our part to secure material for even a small pressing, as our concerns around this village’s rising popularity have been validated since the time we first sourced this tea.

For 2018, most of the fresh leaves picked from this area in Spring ended up being purchased before the pickers even made it down from the mountain. Needless to say, prices for this region will almost certainly climb year on year, causing uncertainty around this tea’s future and our ability to offer it in the future.

This tea’s artwork was provided by our friend and Portland-based artist, Lisa Cline (aka @space_notes). Check out more of her work here and be sure to follow her on Instagram as well.

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4 Tasting Notes

16088 tasting notes


This past weekend, I had the pleasure of meeting Togo in person and brewing up some tea for us both, in addition to swapping samples and grabbing lunch later in the day. It was very nice to meet you in person – I hope the rest of your Montreal visit went well!

Personally, I think one of the most (for lack of a better word) “magical” parts of meeting other tea drinkers in person is getting to explore a tea stash other than your own – so I definitely let Togo go full sample exploration when selecting which tea to brew up for our first gongfu session of the morning.

It was really nice having tea in person with someone else. My office aside, I haven’t had a proper session with other people since prepandemic. I lost track of the total number of steeps, but it was a pretty solid length before this steeped out – and we honestly probably could have pushed it another steep or two but we ran out of water, so at that point might as well switch to something else.

I felt like this tea started off pretty soft but it picked up some interesting texture throughout the session and had some more herbaceous flavours latter on along with a fattier/more buttery mouthfeel. I definitely felt like sage was one of the flavours that stood out to me in a couple of steeps, and we discussed at one point some of the steeps having a gentle floral aspect as well – like linden, almost.

Thank you for sharing this session with me!


Thanks for having me, it was really lovely to meet and drink tea with you! The rest of my Montreal trip was amazing too, truly a great way to conclude my 5 years in Canada


So happy the two of you met and shared tea :) And best wishes for your migration, Togo!

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89 tasting notes

I bought the original ‘Secret Garden’ back in 2016, and I drank that one in less than 2 months. However, when I saw that Bitterleaf Teas was releasing the same version of it this year, I had to blindly buy it. It was safe to say, I wasnt dissapointed. It reminded of the 2016 version so much, however, it still had a wet taste from pressing. This is certainly one worth revisiting in a month or so.

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Flavors: Grass, Green, Hot Hay, Medicinal

200 °F / 93 °C 0 min, 15 sec

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