Lu'an is a special breed of tea in the world of "dark teas" (黑茶). Unlike Lu'an melon seed tea (六安瓜片), a type of green tea produced in the vicinity of Lu'an city, this Lu'an basket tea is not in fact produced at the place its name suggests. The tea is produced in Keemun County (祁門), due south of Lu'an yet still in Anhui prefecture. Production of Lu'an Basket Tea was not recovered until the 1990s, 60 years after production shut completely during the Second World War. According to a report by a certain Mr. Wu, a famous tea journalist in Taiwan who made a visit to the descendants of the founder of the Sun Yi Shun brand, this tea was likely accidentally invented in 1725 by a monk. It was originally called "Hui tea" (徽茶) but later renamed "An Tea" (安茶) due to the name "Hui tea" being too difficult for Cantonese-speaking buyers to pronounce.
You can imagine this tea as a special version of raw Pu-erh but being packed into a special bamboo basket. Different from raw Pu-erh's "cake pressing" style, Lu'an Basket Tea is steam-pressed inside its distinct bamboo basket (shown in the picture), and the tea also goes through a unique refining process many times. The bamboo basket not only serves as a container for the tea, but also is a part of its magical flavor. You may also notice the three "neifei" tickets included inside the basket. These tickets served as anti-counterfeiting measures before 1930s, and although they no longer are needed for this purpose, they are a reminder of this tea's long history.
Although Lu’an tea is similar to Pu-erh teas in its deep, earthy flavors, the flavor profile has some interesting surprises due to its unique northern, low elevation terroir, differences in processing techniques, as well as the refreshingly clean raw material the tea has been made with. The rich and deep flavors are tempered by a light, pleasant sweetness. This soothing and light tea is ideal to cool off on a hot day, aid digestion after a heavy meal, or to accompany friends and display your skills in collecting a wide variety of unique, historically significant teas!
Original Han Character: 孫義順 六安龍團
Vintage: 1990s / 壹玖玖零 年代
Varietal: Assamica / 大葉種
Region: Anhui, Qi men / 安徽 祁門
Oxidation Level: 90% / 分之 玖拾
Storage History: Stored in Taiwan since 2002
This is an old dog's favorite Pu-Erh. Fermentation technique is not a thing could be easily learned.