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.