Crimson Lotus Tea Spring 2015 Kunlu Shan Slumbering Dragon Sheng

Origin: Pu’er
Harvest: Spring 2015
Elevation: 2000m
Tree Age: “As old as the earth itself”

Today I decided to try Crimson Lotus Tea’s Kunlu Shan Slumbering Dragon, another of Crimson Lotus Teas that I am hoping not to fall in love with. This is a rather interesting tea according to the description the trees that were used to make this cake, supposedly the trees are as old as the earth itself so anywhere between 6,000 years and 4.5 billion years and frankly those trees are too young for me to be seen in public with. Crimson Lotus Tea describes this as:
This is a rare puerh. Of all the tea we sell this is the hardest to source and the hardest to pick. There is a village in Kunlu Shan that isn't even on Google maps. Once you're there you need to hike another 3 kilometers into the mountains to get to these trees. The hike is often steep. You gain 500 meters and it takes more than 3 hours to get there. No one there knows how long the trees have been there or anything about their history. When you ask locals the age they simply reply that they are as old as the earth itself.
On the north slope of a steep mountain ridge, surrounded by dense forest, these trees reach to the sky. The trees at 20-40 feet tall literally scrape the ceiling of the forest. Impressive does not begin to describe these ancient beings. The Chinese call these trees '高杆'/gāogān which means "Tall Pole".
These skinny trees often grow in a trio and remain branchless until near the top. Barefoot, only the young and the brave, carefully climb to the top to pick the Spring harvest. There are no ropes, harnesses, or soft landings. It is dangerous work. In an attempt to conserve their strength for the ages these trees each produce precious few buds and new spring growth. A day's harvest for a young eager picker often maxes out around just 2kg. After roasting and sun drying perhaps half a kilo is all they have to show for the days work. It took them 2 weeks to harvest what we bought.
In 2014 we had a chance to buy a small amount of leaf from these special trees. We pressed just ten 100g cakes. Five we sold and five we kept for ourself. Out of all we sourced last year this puerh was the most unique. The flavor is strong, pure, natural, and quite bitter, but with a transcendent chaqi. We made certain to visit Kunlu Shan to get more this year.
We named this puerh "Slumbering Dragon" because of the visual image of these ancient trees growing so peacefully in the mountains. They seem to us like dragons of a previous era in a deep slumber for eons. The strong energy in this tea mirrors the strength of dragons in our active imaginations. 
We present this tea as is. This is unblended, single origin, high altitude, wild tree puerh. It will not taste like a lot of the puerh out there. It is strong and intense with a very pronounced bitterness that can linger. The intensity of bitterness will fade with age. Our 2014 has mellowed quite nicely. The energy in this tea is quite strong, it will sneak up on you. We hope you get a chance to try this amazing and unique tea.
I’ll be honest, this is one of the few teas I actually read the vendor’s description before sampling the tea itself. Normally I try not to let the vendor’s tasting notes or description bias me, but I knew this was an expensive tea and I didn’t want to make a mistake when brewing.

Dry Leaves: I’m always impressed at how much better other people are at breaking up cakes, once again my sample at first looks like maocha, but it is obviously from a cake and someone more skilled with a pick (certainly not from someone who routinely stabs himself while trying to break up a cake). The dry leaves has a slight sweet and fruity aroma.

First Steeping
Temperature: Boiling
Brewing Time: Five Seconds
Aroma: Fruity and Camphor
Flavor: Super Bitter, Bitter and Citrus Peel
Tasting Notes: Like always I did three quick five seconds rinses, and used a little more than 5g of loose leaf. I initially thought I was poisoned, I have never had something so bitter and sharp and I liked it; perhaps not enough to drink this often, but this has an amazing sharpness. I had a lot of trouble identifying any flavor because of the lingering bitterness, but I think there was some citrus peel taste, but I am not exactly sure. According to CLT’s description their 2014 has mellowed out quite nicely so I suspect if this is anything like the 2014 it will be nicer in a year.

This was the sharpest bitter tea I have ever had even though the bitterness lingered for an absurdly long period of time, I waited around five minutes or so between steepings for it to go away even though I started chewing on a sprig of mint. As for the aroma it is a little weak I did get something fruity that I could not pin down as well as camphor. Despite the bitterness I enjoyed this tea; this is definitely a puerh person tea.

Second Steeping
Temperature: Boiling
Brewing Time: 10 Seconds
Aroma: Fruity and Camphor
Flavor: Bitter and Citrus Peel
Tasting Notes: Again I had quite a lot of trouble trying to identify what I was tasting beyond the very sharp bitterness. I almost described this as kuwei and while I can certainly see someone who likes a pleasant bitterness in their shengs to enjoy this tea I don’t feel comfortable in describing it as such because of the lingering aftertaste.

The liquor is getting slightly darker and the used leaves smell wonderfully fruity, but this is definitely ones of those teas meant to be hidden away and forgotten.

Third Steeping
Temperature: Boiling
Brewing Time: 15 Seconds
Aroma: Fruity and Camphor
Flavor: Bitter and Citrus Peel
Tasting Notes: Again bitter and I had trouble identifying anything beyond that bitterness.

I almost decided against posting this since I had so much trouble with how it tasted, but it has an amazing Cha Qi, I’ll admit I got very tea drunk off the first infusion something that does not happen to me much (perhaps because I tend to drink a lot of cheap young puerhs meant to be drank immediately). I have never had a tea like this before, it does not feel like one of those puerhs that is not drinkable in its current state, but I feel like this is going to get so much better as it ages. I decided to publish my thoughts on this tea because I think it is a good tea, as many of you may know I only write about teas that I enjoy or find interesting on this blog and this Slumbering Dragon fall between both those categories. This tea made me feel like a tea novice again, I loved how Slumbering Dragon made me feel overwhelmed and inexperienced. At the time of writing this Crimson Lotus Tea is selling a 200g cake of this for $120 and it is worth checking out if you have a little extra in your tea budget although this is a very unique puerh so if you do plan on purchasing it come with an open mind.  


Just a guy who likes tea.