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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2 Tasting Notes

11387 tasting notes


Drank this one in the morning the day after #adventageddon – I was really happy to have the freedom to select whatever teas I wanted throughout the day. It’s not that it wasn’t fun doing so many advent teas, but there were a lot of other things I was craving throughout the month that I just didn’t have time for on top of my advent teas…

That also means, for the astute, that I had this one on Christmas Day! So, Merry belated Christmas to my Steepster friends – what teas did you have on Christmas Day? Any significance to the choice?

I started my session of this in our backyard – which is kind of a “Garden” of sorts!? There is a massive crabapple tree there, and it was quite beautiful with the the frost on the dying apple hanging from the branches. Eventually I had to move back inside though to finish my session; in part because my water was cooling too quickly and in part because I was cooling too quickly.

Admittedly, I don’t really know what the tea tasted like. Is it weird to say I was too excited about picking out my own tea that morning to actually pay attention to the flavour it was producing!? I do know I liked it, and I remember it being a bit astringent as well. I guess I’ll just have to brew it again sooner rather than later to nail down exactly how I feel about it…


Song Pairing:


My life with tea is usually spent multitasking and overlooking the flavor profile. I mostly know that the tea is there, I like it, and drink it until there is no more flavor. I’m working on that though. :)

Martin Bednář

I gave myself that McCoy teas. Other family members don’t gift me teas. And on other way, I got some strong perfume, book, beer and clothes. Happy holidays!

Kiki tea

never heard of adventageddon before. nice idea. and i love the song pairing. the Joni Mitchell original is quite lovely too. good choice!


A belated merry Christmas and a happy new year! I didn’t have my gongfu setup with me on Christmas Day, so I drank some Laoshan Black from Yunnan Sourcing Western style. My family aren’t big tea people, but my mom enjoyed this.

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88 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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