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2023 Wangong


This year's Wangong delivers.  A copacetic fusion of the 花香 floral, 蜜香 honey, and 原野香 "wild" fragrances sought out by Yiwu enthusiasts, expect an adorably piquant and mellow flavor yielded to the palate, throat, and down into the chest and back up again with a distinguished mouthfeel structure and succinct chi.  An entertaining and inspiring session awaits.  Expertly handled in its processing to produce tea good for sipping now and well into the future.

弯弓 Wāngōng is the major leagues of connoisseur tea.  While the remote micro villages and territories of far east Xishuangbanna have come to symbolize the more primitive, fecund, unspoilt side of pu'er, among them Wangong stands as an elite trophy.

Formerly a prosperous trading hub and production core of the Mansa region, historic 弯弓大寨 Wangong village gradually succumbed to conflict, disease, and fire and has been left to be swallowed by the jungle.  Old arbor plots, many of them multiple hundreds of years old, freckle the remote mountain sides, and those intrepid enough to motorbike, hike, and even bushwhack and creek-walk to some areas may or may not be rewarded with a Helen of Troy of tea.

Access to this mountain essence has been made available by our beloved partners in Yiwu teas, the Hé family.  Xinping's father-in-law owns ancient trees in the Yangjiazhai area, near the old Wangong temple.  While the Hé family pride themselves in resisting hype trends (for example they laugh off the notion of carrying single tree tea productions) that can sometimes dictate their niche market — instead opting to maintain their attention on more stable market pulses — the father-in-law connect to eminently lusted after prime material of this area is truly a favorable and reliable channel.  As such, we are elated to finally be able to afford a limited amount of some of the most sought after tea we've had the privilege of bringing across the ocean.

Bonus points: after brewing these leaves out fully, check out how many 马蹄 mǎ tí horse hoof pluckings there are.  Mǎ tí plucks are named after the bottom of the stem opposite of the bud whose underside retains a "horse hoof" from some of the woody branch it was harvested from — more typical in less managed, old growth settings.

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More on the Hé family: if you have checked out Jinghong Zhang's book Pu'er Tea: Ancient Caravans and Urban Chic then you are already familiar with the Hé family, as senior Mr. Hé is written about as a prominently featured tea producer that proves successful in his endeavors to retain the classic feel of the home production Yiwu tribute tea while meeting new QS standards by investing in new state of the art production facilities.  See both Mr. Hé and his son (who has now taken over the business) in this episode of Jinghong Zhang's fascinating mini documentary.

More teas from this family:

2016 Yiwu Zhengshan

2022 Manzhuan

2023 Zhangjiawan Fire Garden

2023 Mahei

2023 Luo Shui Dong


original wrapper artwork by Arulu Gallagher

(2 customer reviews)

2 comments on “2023 Wangong”

  1. My tea pet went thirsty as I savored every drop of this Wangong. Not even a drop of the rinse was sacrificed. Beautiful aromatics off the wet leaves—warm grainy breads faded to bright tropical fruits as they cooled. Those fruits carried right into the cup, bright and crisp before melting away with a swallow and leaving warm grains, herbs, and florals in the back of the throat and on the exhale. Giving it a little push resulted in a pleasant bitterness emerging into the finish that melted away into sweetness and a salivation-inducing huigan. But no worries if bitter flavors aren’t your thing, I found they were quite easy to control by adjusting steep times accordingly.

    A good sheng puer like this is a luxury, like a fine wine or single malt whisky. We are all extremely lucky to have access to teas like this one. Big thanks to Gus, and everyone involved in every step of the process.

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