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Kucong Shanzhai (苦 聪 山寨), also known around the brand Hou You (厚 有), it is primarily the story of its founder and director Luo Hu You (罗 厚 有).
Young producer in the region of Pu'er, Mr. Luo Hou You come from the heart of the mountain Wuliang, in a particularly remote area Zhenyuan Pu'er. If his grandmother had belonged to Kucong, one of the most isolated ethnic groups of China, his grandfather and he is Han Han received an education. Mr. Luo Hou You lived however his childhood in a village between Han and mixed Kucong. His parents, farmers, were among other tea, they harvested in the mountains and worked at home. Facing the purchase price ridiculous tea in the region, and low incomes that permits the cultivation of tea in this region, since they cut down trees to grow other more profitable foodstuffs.
Mr. Luo Hou You leave when his study in the city and get an engineering degree. But what fascinates him and he is really at heart, this is tea, and it will start to go the mountains where it originates, Wuliang Shan in search of ancient tea and meet the people who pick the leaves .
- 1. Mr. Luo Hou You
- 2. Mr. Luo Hou You in a farm Wuliang Shan
- 3. Récoltante Ailao Shan at the tea
- 4. Mr. Luo Shan Hou You to Wuliang
With the renewed interest for the years 2003-2006 puerh (Pu Er tea) Mr. Luo Hou You begin to dream of living tea. With just a hobby it deepens more and more research, courses in every way possible the two mountains of the region, Ailao Shan and Shan Wuliang, visit each village and learns to work the leaves from small producers.
But these mountains are among the most remote areas of Yunnan and the poor and getting there is not easy. It often takes several hours of difficult tracks to reach a single village, where sometimes only a handful of trees. But Mr. Hou Luo You is an unwavering motivation, especially to find the huge old trees, rare, hiding here and there in the depths of the mountains and he spent three years to identify.
And these mountains conceal many treasures of teas, as this excellent Maocha, from ancient trees of Jio Jia, a small village in Ailao Shan.
Thus Mr. Luo Hou You first delved into the tea. In the early years he still lacks experience, and also tea of these gigantic trees, he will buy a little hit and miss what seems good to recognize that a few years later in the y'avait good as the worse, which it is also still stock that never sold. He, however, still retain great confidence in him and in his plan to live tea.
Do not shop while having it often works at home they are buying fresh leaves to small farmers. We also show how to work in his kitchen just the tea leaves purchased a few hours earlier in the mountains.
- 1. Village isolated Wuliang Shan
- 2. Old tea tree to Wuliang Shan
- 3. Harvest leaves in a village in Shan Wuliang
- 4. Purchase of fresh leaves in a small producer Wuliang Shan
- 5. Mr. Luo Hou You working tea leaves freshly purchased in the kitchen
Gradually the project takes shape, word of mouth we are interested in tea that is capable of finding deep in the Ailao Mountains and Wuliang, including tea from old trees that he "discovered" and collected during these years, and he begins to source control Maocha on old trees. What sets it apart is its expertise and vast knowledge of the field. In proposing a tea is that it knows every tree that makes up the garden, but also the family who personally harvest the leaves.
In 2005, while the phenomenon that reaches its peak puerh (Pu Er tea) it invests and buys 13 acres of Tai Di about 80 years to over 1800m, and engages between 50 and 60 people of different minorities to work. Besides that he signed a contract operation of 5000m2 with trees older than 150 years. It eventually will use little tea of his land, at least not for teas that press upon his not and will specialize progressively towards older high quality tea.
The following year, at the height of the great boom of puerh (Pu Er tea) Mr Luo Hou You built a beautiful studio in Ku Shan Zhai Cong, in the heart of Shan Wuliang, a village Kucong newly built.
A factory in a village Kucong
The Kucong are an ethnic group's most mysterious and primitive China. Assimilated to their resemblance to Lahu but despised by them, not recognized as an official ethnic groups of China's Kucong have long lived hidden in the hearts of the forests of Ailao Mountain, where they lived a semi nomadic building here and there rudimentary houses made of bamboo and banana leaves, in which they lived on the floor, sharing common space with their animals.
Recognized as an "invisible people" the war never left Kucong forests and avoided contact with neighboring ethnic groups. When the exchanges were to do with other groups, particularly between the products collected in the forest by Kucong and products of the plains tribes, the goods were left on the roadside so that Kucong not be realized. When someone saw some goods from the mountain on the side of the road he knew he could take them and leave in exchange for a bag of rice, a metal object or clothing, and that would get them back when Kucong will be gone.
Mainly concentrated in the forest of Ailao Mountains and Wuliang, the Kucong lived in a rudimentary way, mainly by hunting and gathering, and here and there grew some grain by burning patches of forest. The partially nomadic Kucong moved regularly in the mountains, sharing with animals tiny temporary huts.
- 1. Kucong old who lived in the heart of the forests
- 2. Kucong old who lived in the heart of forests and daughter
- 3. Mother and daughter Kucong
In 1959 the government decided to settle this population, and built villages to welcome them to empower them to grow, have access to progress and become part of the Chinese people. The Kucong it does not end and will not desert the village to flee into the forest. Four other attempts by the government have followed each time with the same end, deserted villages by Kucong deeply inked in life at the heart of forest ...
Despite the failure of these initiatives the state will retry in 2006, following the publication of an article on ethnic Kucong who will hand the matter up to date. In an attempt to compensate for the isolation and precarious living conditions of Kucong Ailao Mountains and Wuliang, the state built a new village to Shan Wuliang, offers house and land to Kucong who settled there and offers to bring them know-how so that there can develop an agriculture such as rice, tobacco and banana cultivation. If within the first few years Kucong willing to relocate and leave the forest, the village of Cong Ku Shan Zhai (苦 聪 山寨) eventually and gradually become populated between 700 and 800 people live there now, 80% of Kucong.
- 1. Shan Zhai Kucong
- 3. New houses under construction in Shan Zhai Kucong
- 4. Shan Zhai Kucong
- 5. Feast day to Kucong Shan Zhai
It is in this context that Mr. Luo Hou You decided to build its plant in Ku Shan Zhai Cong, he will also use the name as a mark to market its teas. At the heart of Wuliang Shan at 1300m altitude, the village is located in the community an exceptional natural setting. Particularly needed to be isolated more than 6 hours by car to reach the village from the city of Pu'er, the new road built last year to replace the original track was a little closer, however, the village that it is now possible to reach in less than 4 hours.
- 1. Shan Zhai Kucong plant
- 3. Room sorting sheets
- 4. Pressing the craft of stone slabs
- 5. Galette freshly compressed
When asked why locate its plant here, especially seen in the difficult accessibility of the village Mr. Luo Hou You first put forward that the main tea it produces just Wuliang Shan, and c 'was therefore appropriate to be located in the heart of this mountain. Then Mr. Luo Hou You originated the corner, he has spent years traveling, he knows all the neighboring villages, people who live here and it feels good. Furthermore the region is very poor, people do not have many opportunities to earn money and it was a good opportunity to help the villagers by giving them work ...
Then a few years back with Mr. Luo Hou You confesses that he is actually not that satisfied with the work of local mountain and is just back from his initial enthusiasm for promoting the local economy. Including the concepts of responsibility, accuracy and thoroughness in work, to produce a high quality product, are difficult to understand for people of the mountain, and if he commits a still overwhelmingly Kucong to harvest the tea or do manual work, senior positions are held by staff from elsewhere.
The plant, human scale to a production of only one hundred tons per year, is very bright and well built. Including the use of natural materials, especially wood, there reigns a calm and warm. But it is also by far one of the plants puerh (Pu Er tea) cleaner than it was given to me to see in Yunnan. Floors spotless, raised wooden platforms to collect leaves, wall and floor tiles and perfectly clean, impeccable equipment and machinery, all has not only been conceived and designed for a clean clinic, but is also maintained in the daily census which is far to be common in China.
- 1. Machine to sort and separate the grades
- 2. Mini-tuos during drying
- 4. Storage Space Maocha
- 5. Mr. You Luo Hu in his factory
That while the ground floor is used for sorting, compression and packaging sheet cakes, the first floor is used for storing tea, and especially that of Mr. Luo Hou Maocha You often leaves some old years before compressing. Again cleanliness is remarkable, especially for storage space, which is very significant.
But for Mr. Luo Hou You it's never enough and we can always go further. It is particularly high price to order a complex machine that can not cross in very large industry and to ensure that the tea does not contain any ... hair! The hair is in effect for all tea producing a sharp enemies the most difficult to eradicate. It always happens that some impurities are found in tea bags from farmers. But if it is relatively easy to get around twigs, pebbles, pieces of string or another by sieving, using a sorting machine or by manual sorting, the hair are systematically between the cracks and practice are totally impossible to filter without using a specific machine.
The aroma Wuliang and Ailao Mountains
Ailao Mountains and Wuliang, from which the teas Kucong Zhai Shang and where stands the factory, are without a doubt one of the most unique mountains of Yunnan. Fine of a few tens of kilometers long but incredibly they travel over the moist Yunnan, Dali, north of the region, to Xishuangbanna (for Wuliang Shan) and Vietnam (for Ailao Shan), which probably owes its name to Wuliang Shan, the mountain singnifiant immeasurable.
- 1. Yunnan in China
- 2. Pu'er in Yunnan
- 3. Shan and Ailao Shan Wuliang have in Pu'er
- 4. Trees in the wild region of Pu ' st
Parallel to each other, thin, elongated incredibly steep and they reflect the formation of the Himalaya in the Quaternary, and such real plissure through Yunnan. Aerial views of Yunnan leave such an amazing show perfectly straight line which extends over 100km and marks the eastern boundary of the Pu'er region, crossing from side to side by the two rock bars. Beyond Pu'er, Ailao Shan cross the region of Hong He, or is the famous rice terraces of Yuan Yang, built by the Hani and part of the most fabulous scenery of Yunnan.
Fine but also especially high and steep, the altitude of these two mountainous areas varies between 2000m and 3137m, with much beyond 2500, almost constantly covered with mist. But these mountains are also rich in nature. Overwhelmingly covered by forest and Ailao Mountains Wuliang harbor a unique flora and fauna, including many rare and protected species, whether plants of which there are several thousand species just for the park Ailao Shan of, or animals such as Bengal tigers, leopards, different varieties of monkeys or peacocks that are naturally present in the forests of Ailao and Wuliang.
Little known even to amateurs puerh (Pu Er tea) these two mountains are nevertheless particularly interesting. Inaccessible, steep, undeveloped, nature has been better preserved than numbers in other parts of Yunnan, and forests of Ailao Wuliang and still contain such a large number of exceptional tea, including wild.
- 1. A small village in the hills of Ailao Shan
- 2. Grand old tea tree in Ailao Shan
- 3. Collection of leaves in a large tree Ailao Shan
- 4. Trees in ancient Ailao Shan
- 5. Return to pick Wuliang Shan
If for many of these wild trees are protected and prohibited their harvest, are also found in these mountains many very old trees planting, aged hundreds of years, which possess character and aromas of great depth. Among them a number of trees are called transitive trees between wild and domesticated tree and have unique characters. Of course there are also many old trees closer to the standards puerh, who besides their great taste quality and carry within them the marks of these particular lands.
- 1. Beautiful old tree to Wuliang Shan
- 2. Producer Wuliang Shan
- 3. Leaves of fresh old trees Wuliang Shan
- 4. Taste of Tea Tree ancient Wuliang Shan
For teas and Ailao Mountains Wuliang have a flavor character of their own. We often enjoy a strong presence in the nasal cavity, and spicy notes of pepper, and a freshness that can sometimes remind eucalyptus or camphor, which may suggest a few years of tea stored in a relatively humid atmosphere.
I propose to illustrate this and gradually enter into the world and Ailao Mountains Wuliang, taste a cake produced by Kucong Shan Zhai in 2009. Pressed in 2009, which leaves the dates 2007 and consists of tea from 150 to 250 years from a small village particularly isolated Wuliang Shan, which requires a day's walk to get there.
Beyond a common character, these mountains, vast and very elongated in the north-south direction also offer a number of different soils, with their own characters chacuns taste, of course Wuliang between west and Ailai to is, but also between villages in the north and south, as illustrated by these two excellent example patties produced by Kucong Shan Zhai in 2008, coming from old trees Ailao Shan in the first (200,700,007) and trees aged Wuliang Shan for the second (200,700,007).
Thus and only in this complex universe that Mr. Luo Hou You evolve for almost 10 years and has become an expert. In places to follow the market as do many producers to source its tea from different regions, and keep up with demand, especially for the very land recognized as Banzhang or Bing Dao, Hou You Mr. Luo is devoted exclusively and for years these two mountains that are Wuliang and Ailao, which he knows inside the region of Zhenyuan and he mastered the soils and aromas.
- 1. Mr. Luo Hou You in a small producer Wuliang Shan
- 2. Mao Cha Shan Wuliang
- 3. Small producer Ailao Shan
- 4. Pick the leaves in a large tree Ailao Shan
Now the palace takes some training to recognize as fine nuances. If a recognized tea from one of these two mountains meet other local Pu'er is accessible to the amateur led, by making the distinction between Wuliang cons and Ailao in a blind test requires much more drive. Finally recognize which village is a mountain of tea given requires knowledge of the soils of these mountains probably little different from Mr. Luo Hou You do not have.
- 1. Tea Tasting with Mr. Luo Hou You
- 4. Tea Tasting with Mr. . Luo Hou You
- 5. Tea Tasting with Mr. Luo Hou You
It is first and lost to the few dozen puerh (Pu Er tea) products by Luo Hou You in recent years. The first tastings we do not remember a character, well marked, singular. To say that this character is that of these two mountains would not be entirely accurate, because it there's much behind the leg of Mr. Luo Hou You and selection. No, that taste is the taste Kucong Shanzhai, taste and Wuliang Ailao as Mr. Luo Hou You defines and control.
Consider, for example wafer produced by a excellent Kucong Shan Zhai in 2008, and bears particularly well in her leg from this producer. Pressed in 2008, it's leaves in spring 2006 from old trees Ailao.
Identify if this uniqueness teas Kucong Shan Zhai is easy from the first tasting, we must cons by a little more time and attention to really get into it, understand what we say to all those mysterious numbers pancakes , their own characters, their characteristics, what they do exist and that Mr. Luo Hou You do not just make a tea labeled Wuliang and one on behalf of Ailao Shan.
I offer this for the tasting of two discs, from the same region of Ailao Shan. Pressed by both Hou Luo You in 2009 from former Maocha of tea (150 to 300 years) collected in spring 2007. If at first glance they might look similar, they know how to distinguish the fine, and have, beyond the local maque, ultimately very different characters.
Once this hurdle is crossed opens a door to enter a new universe, a microcosm that sets new standards of taste and puerh (Pu Er tea) in which fine shades imperceptible at first become a world, a border and make the difference. And that's where all the madness and value of Mr. Luo Hu You, who in recent years urged a variety of teas which only one palace insider attentive and will make a difference and with a finesse surgery has developed from a universe a niche taste at first restricted.
Some production in 2008, one of the first cakes that producer
Let's start with probably the least glorious productions of Luo Hu You, but still quite respectable and certainly quality teas: Two patties of early Kucong Shan Zhai produced from 2008 to 2006 Maocha of relatively young trees, less than twenty years, and each from Wuliang Ailao Shan and Shan.
Also in these first 2008 wafers, where Luo Hou You continue to look, we can also mention the 8019, a rare example of assembly produced by garden Kucong Shan Zhai. Inspired by industrial methods of assembling sheets, this tea shows another view of the character of teas Wuliang Shan and potential, and has nothing to envy the large patties produced by renowned producers as Xiaguan, or Menghai Tea Factory.
Poles apart, we have the 7020, produced the same year, this time at a garden party unique Wuliang Shan, which is clearly the singular character of this garden. This is also the direction taken by Luo Hou You for future productions, mainly based on older trees and gardens unique and singular.
Some production 2009
In pursuit of the 7020 to 2008, the productions of 2009, which we have already seen some examples at the beginning of this article, come mostly from ancient trees. Let us first consider the 9026 a tea made from ancient trees of Ailao Shan, and quite in line with the character of this producer.
Next is a classic Kucong Shan Zhai, a wafer produced from a Maocha spring 2008, from old trees in a garden unique Wuliang Shan.
2011, a turning point in teas Kucong Shan Zhai
Symbolized by lintroduction new packaging, in 2001 undeniably marks a turning point in the production of Shan Zhai Kucong.
Faced with this profusion of different cakes, in which it is difficult to identify, Mr. Luo Hou You first take the advantage of simplicity, and focus on some key products. Among them there's the 1016, which incorporates in its 2011 edition the cake that we just mentioned (8016). Produced from trees aged Wuliang is the cake that Mr. Luo Hou You put the most prominent, and representing its brand to the public.
Overall there is also compared to previous productions of flavors much more rounded, soft and luminous. It is far from the side and fresh camphoraceous some past productions, with a bright and mellow tea. Note also the small-scale compression of the cake, very light and very well made, or where the patties were older more highly compressed. In the same vein we also appreciate the quality of the thong around patties, much more neat and aesthetic precedents that some teas, again marking a clear desire to increase the quality at all points.
The last cake Kucong Shan Zhai 2012
In line with the 2011 production of 006, last cake pressed by Kucong Shan Zhai is produced with great care, slightly compressed, and packaged in a thong tied with traditional care. Wrapped in a round and spicy fragrance, it has already announced a large tea Kucong.
A multitude of teas and chaos like the mountains Wuliang ...
As you may have you know it, the productions of Mr. Luo Hou You are a jungle where you get lost easily, although chosent will be vastly improved over the past two years. Besides the subtle aromatic nuances that we have mentioned, two factors also contribute to getting lost in the productions of Kucong Shan Zhai, first the lack of information on the origin of leaves, then the total mess that governed the references which are given to these teas.
For Mr. Luo Hou You out something of the artist illuminated in the way he walks the mountains in search of lower tree can spend 8 hours on the road to find a single tea tree and then to buy large prize a plastic bag of fresh leaves then it will work in the middle of the night in the kitchen or through his penchant to store to get lost multitudes of tiny nuances teas. But this madness is also reflected in producer's how it organizes things, starting with the wafers it produces.
The cake Kucong Shanzhai are systematically stamped with a numerical reference. There there's the 9018 and the 9027, 9026, the 8016, 8058, or the 6001, 1111, see references bolder 200700007 or 200700008 (both produced in 2008), etc. ...
On this emblematic reminds large classical references to the communist era as the 7572 or 7542. But what differentiates the two is that the codes of the communist era followed a logical, and gave us guidance on the production year of the recipe, the size of the leaves or plant whose teas are out level, where the references given by Mr. Luo Hou You seem to follow a much more mysterious logic in which he loses himself.
- 1. Some cakes in the multitude of Shan Zhai Kucong catalog
- 2. Part 4 digits of a cake Kucong Shan Zhai
- 3. Major packages used by Shan Zhai Kucong
- 4. Main formats cakes Shan Zhai Kucong
Apparently the brown packaging would be dedicated to green when fermented puerh (Pu Er tea) serve the puerh (Pu Er tea) gross ... but there's the 7020 that contradicts the theory. Visblement the first number indicates the year of compression, but again as the cakes come shake the 8016 event, etc ...
It seems that early y'ait them a semblance of logic, then the rule has changed several times without the producer can remember precisely to arrive at a kind of total chaos in which not even Mr.Luo You Hou manages to find but that does not bother him more than that ...
For simplicity of many summers have pressed patties with the same reference but with different packaging, or in different formats, sometimes 88g, 100g sometimes, sometimes even 150g, 200g, 357g or 400g, sometimes last brick of 250g or 500g ... In the same logic Mr. Luo Hou You file a leading brand in 2005 Kucong Shanzhai, on behalf of the village where he sets up his tea and press to not. In 2008, he filed Hou You, and in his name under which he will urge all tea now ... jusuq'à that the first mark redo mysteriously surface. Mix it well for a time the two, sometimes one, sometimes another, sometimes both on the same package without it there either follow a strategy or that it has a precise meaning.
In spring a large collection of tea, sometimes very high quality, but in which it is almost as difficult to detect than in the mountains where these teas come. Mr. Luo Hou You also seems a little back to this crazy and chaotic profusion of cakes the early years and today is no rush for the general public that two or three different teas, exclusively under the name of Hou You and retains its expertise of various soils for private commissions.
The other factor does not facilitate the understanding of teas Luo Hu You, much criticized for a tea lover, is the absence of any information on the origin of the leaves. Although Luo Hou You do not have little assemblies, and therefore leaves often come from a specific garden, the wafer contained no information on the location of these gardens. And a cake Kucong Shanzhai can both come from trees 200 to 300 years from the center of Ailao Shan (like 9027) or assembly of different trees of Wuliang Shan (as there 8019), although this does not appear nothing on the cake, making it difficult to understand the product from the amateur, who finds himself in a role of passive consumer.
Luo Hu for You is not important, what counts is the taste and quality and not the name of the village. If you like the 9027 (just one garden, but the village's name is not disclosed) and well you know this is the one, and you can redeem it when you do get more, how important is to know finally what village it comes from or the age of trees which are the leaves?
If this is the speech, very questionable, is meant here and there from those who seek to avoid traceability of their teas, Mr. Hou Luo You is honest, not only of official discourse and does not hide the real reasons for the omission of information. As anyone who does not want to reveal the origin of their tea is primarily an economic issue. The village of Shan and Ailao Shan Wuliang can be known, and demand is low, except for very large trees, prices remain reasonable. Mr. Luo Hou You told us that at first he listed the names of villages. But then it has created attention to these villages and some fetched leaves directly from farmers. So they felt that something was happening and he especially y'avait demand rose drastically their prices from one year to another. Apart from the issue price, for Mr. Luo Hou You highlighted the arbitrariness of a particular village is not good either for the quality. This in effect encourages the farmers to bring in leaves from other villages to sell more expensive, or mix different origins to artificially increase production and thus gains. This creates a climate of suspicion and makes the work difficult: Not only will you end up paying more, but also and especially the quality is not there.
Thus Mr. Luo Hou You decided to number his pancakes, and not to give more information on the origin of its teas. The information I give you in this article, regarding the origin of leaves and harvest dates, are not the "official" data but the information I have collected directly from the producer. Of course if the choice not to disclose the origin of its products may be defending the economic interests of Kucong Shan Zhai, that does not help the amateur puerh (Pu Er tea) or understand these teas, including that there ' was behind the character of these teas, or understand the specificities of terroirs and Ailao Shan Wuliang, which undoubtedly displease a number of amateurs sharp. It is also true for the age of teas, often compressed from a few years old Maocha without this no longer appears on the packaging.
But Luo Hou You is almost exclusively sold on the Chinese market. But the Chinese consumer is rarely interested in the origin of tea he drinks, or knowledge of the different soils as we can for example be in France for wine, and what he seeks is above all a good tea, and a name (producer) in which he can trust, and naturally there above that Luo Hou You put all his efforts.
quality and trust above all else
If Mr. Luo and Hou You can place very little emphasis on transparency of information regarding the origin of its tea, it gives a point of Honor to quality and respect the trust that give its customers. For him, whatever the field is the same question, and a brand that takes a long time is a mark in what can be trusted. For Luo Hou You must be uncompromising quality and the customer can have complete confidence in what he achette, he knows that when he achette Kucong a tea, it will have a quality product. If Maocha is not up to par, you can always sell it also, under another name, but it is vital never to harm the image of its brand. And this philosophy is reflected well in cakes or stamped Kucong Shan Zhai You Hou, almost all of which, especially products in recent years, are flawless.
Mr. Luo Hu You, and tells us that when he began seriously to tea, in the years 2003-2004, he was inexperienced and he bought teas of different qualities. When he opened his factory in 2006 he began to analyze sales in recent years and realize that it was the high quality teas that were best-selling, while it remained in stock teas of lower quality, and then decided not to focus now that premium teas.
For him it is this approach and the quality research that saved the market collapse in 2008 puerh. Mr. Luo Hou You explained that the problem of the great boom years of 2003-2007 was not just a problem of price increases and that any market puerh (Pu Er tea) was perverted. The puerh, and the Pu'er region has been at once too publicized and sold in too little time on an overly broad market. Application exploded disproportionately, even before the consumer have the time to understand what he was drinking. The average quality of the tea market has fallen dramatically, there were only the quantity. Many tea came from elsewhere, Viet Nam, Laos, see the other region of puerh (Pu Er tea) and were sent here to be sold as puerh.
Mr. Luo Hou You will not follow the trend and remain on the positron, focused on quality tea. For him it was the only possible attitude to face the madness room. This is especially wary in 2006 of the general trend of disproportionately puerh (Pu Er tea) store, reminding himself that if puerh (Pu Er tea) store is not very hard, then sell it is less easy, especially when the product is not enough high quality. This is precisely what will the straw a number of producers and sellers of the following year, when the market suddenly collapses, and that demand is practically nonexistent, especially for low quality teas.
Trees Unique and Wuliang Ailao Mountains, the mad project of Mr. Luo Hou You
Mr. Luo Hu You, Passera three years between 2003 and 2006 to survey the Ailao Mountains Wuliang and where he will learn as we have seen to control the diversity of soils of these mountains, but also the technique of tea, harvest work leaves. But first he will weave a network of small producers in several hundred villages and with whom he now source virtually all the teas that press, almost exclusively from old trees, a hundred years to more than 300 years for some.
However, although these trees are of high quality, and produce excellent teas, there's something else he motivates foremost Mr. Luo Hou You in his explorations of the mountains: the monumental trees scattered here and there in corners of Wuliang and Ailao. Unlike the old plantation gardens, which may contain a large number of trees, these huge trees sometimes exceeding ten meters are much rarer and often there have one or a small handle around a particular village.
Mr. Luo Hou You has taken years to meet villagers to find these trees and to build a huge collection. Total is more than 3000 trees has selected Mr. Luo Hu You, located in nearly 300 villages divided into three distinct regions which he regularly buys and leaves.
- 1. Trees in old Wuliang Shan
- 2. Old Tree at Wuliang Shan
- 3. Beautiful tree Ailao Shan tea
- 5. Magnificent Tree Ailao Shan tea
But in places to produce assemblies of these sheets, Mr.Luo Hou You take the crazy parties and daring to press each tree independently. Indeed, it has been noticed that a number of years he y'avait growing demand for a product "pure" single origin. While this before we cared only for the mountain home of tea, it is now looking more and more often the tea of a particular village. He then asks what this mean, and how far to push the accuracy of origin, region, village, garden ... and why not to the tree?
Indeed when one has to do with such multi-centennial trees, especially transitive, every tree in its character, its flavors, its soul. Although we generally classified all tea trees of Yunnan from behind the name tea tree in Yunnan large leaf, it there's actually more than a hundred different variety, the overwhelming majority from breeding and natural mutation. A number of these trees are actually what are called transitive trees, that is located between the wild tea plant and tea domesticated, and have unique characteristics that distinguish them from other tea most commonly used puerh (Pu Er tea) to produce tea. Thus the old trees and Ailao Wuliang montages are all unique individuals with their own genetic heritage, and their own flavors.
And it is this immense variety of characters that Mr. Luo Hou You us to discover. This is absolutely not for him to denigrate the assembly of sheets, which is probably the best way to achieve a balanced product, but to propose something else, unique characters, and deep trenches. It is indeed difficult for a single person is perfect in every way and this is why we assembled the leaves, so that default of some other correct ones. But if you exceed this balance concerns, and finally standardization, can be found in the uniqueness of a tree a richness that can not exist elsewhere, of pure character, and sliced assumed.
Begin to meet it by a magnificent tree Wuliang Shan, aged over 200 years, and reaches a height of 4.5 m, whose leaves are harvested in summer 2010.
Now see another individual atypical and at least as good, this time from the heights of Ailao Shan. With a height of 7m and a circumference of 130cm this is a beautiful tree of transitive over 300 years.
In 2006 Mr. Luo and Hou You begin to purchase, production and marketing of tea trees. He asked farmers to separate the different harvests of each tree and sign contracts with it for a number of them to book production, which is usually not more than 2 or 3 kg per tree. Who can not be permanently in 300 villages from which leaves it sets up a logistics complex, different people are responsible for collecting the harvested leaves and worked by peasants and send them to the factory or each box and carefully recorded and stored.
- 1. Collection of leaves in a single shaft of Wuliang Shan
- 2. Leaves freshly harvested
- 3. Small producer Ailao Shan
- 4. Receiving a sample of the production plant Kucong Shan Zhaoi
- 5. Boxes of single tree Maocha Kucong Shan Zhai
- 6. Stock Maocha factory Kucong Shan Zhai
This is of course a daunting task. Besides managing the 3000 catalog of teas from as many different trees, there are also the thorny problem of the quality and false. Indeed the value of such tea trees, especially unassembled, is particularly high, and it is common by the peasants try to mix the leaves from other trees, to delude the quantities will sometimes impersonate a different single tree younger trees. We must be constantly on the lookout, check Maocha sent by each farmer, and not hesitate to part with farmers in which one can have complete confidence.
Various other producers who produce tea tree unique, especially in soils highly recognized as Bing Dao, do not hesitate to send someone, paid full-time, to control the production of each leaf of the tree sending Maocha, but this is impossible in the situation of Luo Hu You, the trees are scattered over a vast area.
The other problem is the taste of the tea. How to ensure that the production of each tree, only a few kilograms, will be up, knowing that the latter is not only dependent on the character of each tree, but also very strongly influenced by climatic conditions, not to mention the work sheets , made by peasants lost in the heights of the mountain, whose technique and equipment sometimes leave much to be desired. Also the price of such productions single tree being particularly high expected naturally to a tea worth the price, and thus to a certain perfection, often beyond what a single shaft produce fear.
I and in recent years with Mr. Luo Hu You, but also drank tea with hundreds of unique trees, especially with her and we must admit that while some are of exceptional quality, this remains a minority, a rare jewel among many teas whose default outweigh the pleasure you may have to taste them. Whether it's tea tree or individuals the question is fairly close, isolating someone from the crowd to come face to something singular is fairly easy ... fall on a sort of exceptional individuals is much less.
But this is not the concern of Mr. Luo Hou You. It is not possible for him to taste his 3000 trees constantly to judge the quality, which would in any case hardly feasible especially knowing that the production are reserved in advance, sometimes several years. So for him it's part of the uniqueness of the character of these teas, each tree in its history, is different, and each tea is, some are better, some worse, and things are well done.
Again this is made possible by the Chinese market, and lack of consumer demand facing the eating quality of tea. The fact that tea is rare, expensive, and he comes from a trusted brand is more than enough for the vast majority of Chinese consumers, especially affluent, who are anyway not the end of tasters.
That's why since 2010 we have undertaken with Mr. Luo Hu You, to seek the best individuals and a certain perfection among these unique trees and Ailao Shan Wuliang, first through various exploration and Ailao Mountains Wuliang but also and especially tasting the tea of the countless trees to make a selection of quality.
Here are a few individuals to make this joint selection:
I would start with one of my favorites, which over several years was distinguished by its quality. This is a monumental tree located in the village of Ailao Shan Jia Jio. If this gigantic tree is very old, it is obviously planting, and tea product that fits into the framework of a puerh (Pu Er tea) upscale, and has no keys atypical of wild tea plants or transitive.
It is also interesting to compare this tea, from a single tree Jio Jia, with another Maocha presented early in the article, gathered and worked by the same producers, specifically and exclusively from the same garden, but composed of a mixture of old trees.
Kucong Jio Shan Zhao Jia garden vs. 2011. Jio Shan Zhao Jia Kucong single shaft 2011
Tea tree single does not seem to go elsewhere, away from the shaft assembly or affirm a singular character, but go further, deeper. It is exactly the same tone but it is more intense, deeper, seems to continue where the other tea is stopped.
Tea from a shaft assembly is excellent, immediately invaded the entire mouth, throat, nasal cavity, charming and relaxed. But when you drink the tea tree's unique garden for printing something that opens, ensure you have a barrier that takes us much further.
If the flavors are similar, the character of the single tree is deep, seeping through the senses, invaded the mind, relax deeply, invites meditation. Somehow this tea begins where the other leaves off ... and pushes a little farther the bar of excellence.
Turning now to a very different character and far more pronounced by the transitive nature of the tree. Probably close to the wild tea plant develops it with finesse typical aromas of wild tea plants aged.
Other tea marked by a transitive character, here is the fruit of a tree 6.4 m whose leaves are picked and worked summers by Shi Rong Da, a small producer of Wuliang Shan.
I would end up with a third individual I was particularly marked and is among the richest of teas this selection. No doubt coming from a particular transitive old tea, this tea has a beautiful and unusual nature, which does not refer to any other type of puerh (Pu Er tea) and dazzled us with his grace.
A unique approach to contemporary and fermentation
Besides its puerh (Pu Er tea) crude from old trees and unique trees, Luo Hou You also produces since 2008 puerh (Pu Er tea) fermented, which he is himself the fermentation at its plant in Shan Zhai Kucong with a very contemporary approach.
You Luo Hu is in fact part of this new generation of producers of Yunnanese puerh (Pu Er tea) fermented who has not experienced the puerh (Pu Er tea) old, wet storage Hong Kongers or standards of the 70s and which addresses the issue of fermentation of tea puerh (Pu Er tea) one otherwise.
It is more traditional storage imitate Hong Kong people, as it did in the 70s or 80s, but most take the fermentation of puerh (Pu Er tea) as a technique in its own right, able to sculpt the character of the tea and bring out new flavors, and resolutely contemporary.
Like Luo Hou You learned to work the leaves from the farmers, he will learn the techniques of fermentation puerh (Pu Er tea) by himself by visiting and taking advice from many producers in the region. Indeed contrary to popular legend that still heard here and there puerh (Pu Er tea) fermentation is a complex phenomenon but not secret, and these techniques are mastered by many young producers.
If it is however easy to ferment the puerh, reaching good results is much harder, a lot of knowledge and technical and engineering background will be particularly useful to Luo Hu You to develop production puerh (Pu Er tea) fermented in his factory.
- 1. Fermentation in puerh (Pu Er tea) plant Kucong Shan Zhai
- 3. Cakes fermented during drying plant in Shan Zhai Kucong
- 4. fermented Puerh Kucong Shan Zhai
In addition to cleanliness in the area of fermentation must be blameless, Mr. Luo Hou You make a point of honor not to use its puerh (Pu Er tea) fermented leaves that quality. It is quite usual to spend at puerh (Pu Er tea) fermented leaves of low quality, believing that this in any way obscured by fermentation. But Mr. Luo Hou You do not think for himself the quality really makes a difference and to an upper puerh (Pu Er tea) fermented must begin by using quality material, and that is why puerh (Pu Er tea) fermented Kucong Shan Tzai that are produced from sheets of good and Ailao Mountains Wuliang.
Level of fermentation, also the care taken to cleanliness, which feels good about the purity of the result, Mr. Hou Luo You is also in favor of long fermentation, more than 60 days, or there puerh (Pu Er tea) are generally fermented in 5 weeks. To these eight weeks of fermentation will add at least 3 months of bulk storage before being pressed, then a new period of rest before the cakes are sold.
The resulting teas are well worth the effort of Luo Hou You. On the one undeniable quality, they reflect both the approach and the vocation of this producer. It is no surprise away from the character of an older puerh, the antithesis of earthy undergrowth aromas, smells damp or dusty, but in something very clean, pure and bright. By varying the fermentation Luo Hou rounded characters, carved and polished the oak, the aromas of nuts, and brings out the fruitiness.
His first public performance, 6001 will be called and an absolute gem, bright and sparkling
In line, Luo Hou You produced a new series in 2009, the 8058, also of great wealth. Such was the previous generation, it is again in purity, roundness and light.
Last production of fermented Luo Hu You, the 1111 produced in 2011, while retaining something of the character of previous productions also knows how to separate and mark may be a turning ... positive?
While remaining in the light and fruity it is in something much more heavy, dense and thick. Assayed as previous productions yields a tea incredibly dense, invasive, that has nothing to envy to a strong coffee. Dosed sparingly found the softness and roundness of 6001 and 8058, but with less finesse and spiciness, and a balance less marked.
We can of course put it on the youth of this tea, a fermented with puerh (Pu Er tea) usually need several years to arise and assert themselves, but also most likely to the tastes of the time of Luo Hou You.
Coffee lover Luo Hou You love indeed fermented teas particularly dense and thick. It also infuses these teas not so gung fu to either land in a teapot but in a large glass teapot in which to brew the leaves remain for hours over low heat, producing a deep black liquor , and particularly condensed flavors.
I uttiliserais Gaiwan however, and a more conventional mode of infusion to present this newest puerh (Pu Er tea) fermented Kucong Tzai Shan.
A short talks with Mr. Luo Hou You
- 1. Mr Luo Hou You
- 2. Tea Tasting at Kucong Shan Zhai
- 3. Mr Luo Hou You in his office
- 4. Mr Luo Hou You on the road from the villages of Ailao
I live with tea since my childhood, I have always been immersed in this environment.
It was ten years I was drinking all the tea that I found, really all I was, and I was trying to find the default and qualities. There were teas produced by small families in the mountain which was really good, but the sanitary conditions were very bad, once I found myself with a chicken feather in my cup!
I could not give that kind of drinking tea to my customers and friends, so the only choice I had was to create a factory to ensure hygiene and cleanliness of the product.
The tea and people are not so different, now I can see very quickly a good tea with tea less interesting without having to drink it, or the personalities of people in just a few cups of tea.
- 1. Tea with a family of small producers Ailao Shan
- 3. Factory Kucong Shan Zhai
- 5. Shan Zhai factory Kucong
Because I know very well Wuliang tea, and the Ailao Zhenyuan, and I know how to work with these tea. We can all do so by all if we do not mind doing. It's impossible! Even for the Ailao Mountains Wuliang and which I devote myself exclusively, I do that part ... and it is already huge.
I was playing in the forest when I was little, it's easy for me to find all these trees. But there are not many places because most trees are bigger, they are rare.
There're puerh (Pu Er tea) fans who say they appreciate that the "pure" Gu shu (old trees). I've always wondered how they could call it "pure"? In a garden the trees are necessarily mixed breed, it y was old, and it y was the youngest ... only a single tree can be "pure." So I started to separate trees, each has a very different character, and very large tree is truly a unique taste!
And each site has its own history, that's also made me more passionate about tea. For years I was with the peasants around the campfire, listening to their stories, their views ... Thanks to the tea I could meet people from the mountains, villages, small towns and big cities, so many different worlds. All this through the tea ... I gained a different perspective on life, that's also prompted me to live tea.
Each method has its advantages and its character, there is not one that is better than the other. Everyone turned to the approach that best suits them, it will be too pretentious to say that I am the best, right? In addition, if everyone did the same thing and drank the same thing, it would become too monotonous is not it?
Our factory is located in this village, Ku Shan Zhai Cong, and most employees are Ku Cong. But I also chose this name because it sounds very natural, ecological, something that has to do with our primitive origins.
Before, Kucong lived on hunting and gathering in the forest. They did not use money. When they wanted rice or vegetable of the plain, they left just tea or an animal skin on the side of the road and returned to the forest. When they recrossed later someone had exchanged against rice. That's what life was like back then.
Throughout the area there there's the high and low, and in any low season, there will always be someone who will come out well anyway. For me, the most important thing is to have confidence and be serious with what you produce.
Above all, be honest, on the land, the seasons, about everything. Consequently, do the best for quality and try to stabilize prices.
Puerh tea is an art object that you can drink, it's not just a ball of compressed I do not know what ... and to achieve this level of art, one must first improve.
We drink some coffee, and after some tea, some tea, then some coffee! It's not too boring to drink if one thing in life?