Sacred Owl

Tea type
Pu'erh Tea
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Edit tea info Last updated by tea123
Average preparation
Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 10 g 5 oz / 150 ml

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  • “I wasn’t planning on doing a review of this tea tonight, so I didn’t sit down at my session thinking about what to say, but after having it for just my second time I have to write something. I know...” Read full tasting note

From chinalife

Ripened Pu Erh made from 1000 year old tea trees and aged for over 5 years. Mellow, thick aged rum coloured liquor. Wet rocks and roasted red date sweetness with a juicy, mineral rich finish.

ORIGIN: Ba Da Mountain, Yunnan, China

Dark roasted dates and wet stone aroma with a distinctly medicinal quality. The body is luxuriously thick and smooth which transforms to a fresh and cleansing finish. The aftertaste builds with subsequent cups as the mineral content of the leaf coats the throat and tongue to create a mellow sweetness and distinct juiciness. You may feel the surface of the tongue fizz slightly with the high mineral content.

Most ancient tea trees (aged from 600 years and above) are used to make very high quality Raw PuErh. This cake is a bit of an oddity in that such high quality leaves were used to make a cooked PuErh. When I asked the farmer why he did this he said it was an experiment but that he could make a lot more money selling the leaves as raw. He doubts that he will do it again so I am not sure we will be able to get these cakes after we have sold out.

When we tasted the tea we were very impressed that the taste was clean and rich as a properly cooked PuErh should be (no funky dried squid aroma), but the finish revealed the wonderful juicy and almost fizzy sensation that comes from ancient tea trees. The older the tree the higher the mineral content in the leaf which makes for a richer flavour and a more exciting mouthfeel. This is because the older, semi-wild trees grow more slowly (they are not trying to establish themselves) and have larger, deeper roots to suck up the minerals from the Yunnan earth.

This tea is from Ba Da mountain area close to the border with Burma. It is one of the most revered in Yunnan famed for its semi-wild forests which are farmed by the Bulang and Hani ethnic minorities. After picking and processing it is fermented for about 2 months before being compressed into cakes. These cakes were made in 2010 and they have undergone wet ageing in Yunnan for 5 years. Whilst the ageing of cooked tea is not strictly necessary, it does improve the smoothness of the tea and clear any mustiness that may have developed during fermentation.

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1 Tasting Note

4 tasting notes

I wasn’t planning on doing a review of this tea tonight, so I didn’t sit down at my session thinking about what to say, but after having it for just my second time I have to write something.

I know all about the controversy regarding a tea farmer making a ripe gushu, and I’m going to stay out of the “is it or isn’t it” debate. I’m just going to comment on how this tea tastes, and this is BY FAR the best ripe puer I’ve ever had. I have many ripes that I absolutely love, but they don’t come close to the taste of Sacred Owl. I have a hard time even classifying it as a shou. It so unlike any other shou I’ve tasted. The leaves are very large. The compression isnt tight. I’m able to jiggle an edge of the cake to get what I need so I can keep the leaves mostly intact. There is not a hint of off taste, fishiness, nothing off putting at all. I’m regretting doing a second quick rinse as I usually do with shous. I may drink the first wash next time I have it. I don’t want to waste any of this. I’m horrible at describing flavors so won’t try. I will say that it leaves a tingly numbness throughout my mouth, and a sweetness that doesn’t go away. It’s been about twenty minutes since I had my last sip, and my mouth still feels as if I just swallowed it. It really is an amazing tea. I wish I knew what I know now about puer when I bought the cake. I would have bought at least five more.

I used 10 grams of leaf in a 150 ml glass pot. The water has been between 208 and boiling with each steep. I started with flash steeping, but quickly added time to them to make the steeps stronger.

Boiling 0 min, 15 sec 10 g 5 OZ / 150 ML

I thought the Sacred Owl tasted like fermentation and wasn’t ready to drink! It needs a few years of good subtropical dry storage at least, IMO. I’m not sure using fancy leaves for shu is a good idea considering it’s pile fermented. I’m beginning to think the same of fancy sheng and aging; it might be better just to drink it fresh to relish the flavors since it’s all going to taste pretty much the same once the decomposers are done breaking it down!


I guess I just like that taste. Maybe it’ll even taste better in the coming years.


I have no doubt it will be better down the line :)

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