I was lucky enough to score some of the 2015 crop and some of the 2008 crop, both at a significant discount, when Verdant Tea moved their operations to China. I’ve only tried the 2015 so far but cannot wait to try to older one, because the 2015 is fantastic. It surpasses its description.
Most teas evoke misty mountains, open skies, spring summer and autumn. This tea evokes dense forests in dark winters. It’s the fragrant, spicy warm beverage that will dispel the cold. It has a highly herbal, almost medicinal (in a good way) quality, but is also remarkably floral with a heady dose of spice.
Since the old webpage for the 2008 crop seems to have been deleted when they moved, I looked up a cached version from Google and will preserve it here for my own reference:
Yabao is one of the most intriguing teas out there. Picked from compact winter buds, young Yabao is light in body but wonderfully nuanced. It has none of the earthy qualities of pu’er. Instead, it is sweet like raw sugar, with the silky spice of Yunnan budset teas like Golden Buds black. This 2008 harvest still maintains a fresh sparkling quality to it, with toasted marshmallow flavors coming through in later steepings. Growing so close to the wild forests of Yunnan, the tea has hints of pine or cedar in its aroma that complement the spice perfectly.
Yabao is super forgiving in steeping, great hot or iced, and rich with aging potential to keep growing in depth and complexity.
ICED: Like sweet morning dew that has fallen from pine needles. Notes of perfectly roasted marshmallow with graham cracker.
Date of Picking: Winter 2008
Location of Picking: Xingchen Workshop, Xishuangbanna, Yunnan
What Was Picked: Early buds from large trees.
Sourcing Agent(s):David Duckler, after trying a Xingchen Workshop sample in the Kunming Tea Market.
Use 1.5T (4 grams) of tea per 6oz of water. Rinse leaves with 208 degree water. Steep for 2 minutes with filtered boiling water. Enjoy at least 5 infusions, or feel free to let your Yabao steep indefinitely in your glass, mug or teapot.
Gongfu Style Brewing
Use 7g of tea for a 4-5oz gaiwan or yixing clay teapot. Pour boiling water into pot and immediately pour out into pitcher. Pour this rinse over the pot and cups used. Steep for 30 seconds or more, increasing the steeping time with each infusion. With Yabao, it is best to use too much leaf instead of too little.