The culmination of several weeks of planning, tasting, bank transfers and email writing, I'm very excited to introduce a range of puerh teas of a very high standard. Over the past year we've been trying to find some good ancient tree puerh to offer for our website. We've been tasting many samples from many producers, but none of them have displayed the depth of character and adherence to quality across the board as those from Mr. Feng.
We first met Mr. Feng a couple of years ago in Yunnan. We bought a few cakes from him at the time and were impressed with the quality, but we forgot about them until recently when going through tasting some old cakes in our collection. Mr Feng's cakes were outstanding and we contacted him again to see if he had any of his back-catalogue of pressings still available for sale. Fortunately he did & sent us a box of samples to taste. We have selected our favourite four from these and are now very pleased to offer them for sale to tea lovers in the West.
You can find Mr. Feng's pressings in the Young Puerh section of our website
We asked Mr. Feng if he would be happy to write a little about himself for our website. He provided the following:
I began my tea business in 1998. From that time I had the intention always to be honest to my customers and to keep a high standard of quality of my teas. I knew this was going to be a difficult path, but it seems like the only way to do tea business successfully. Around the year 2000 I met a Taiwanese tea business person who advised me that to continue in the long term I needed to strike a good balance, making a reasonable and steady profit, but also selling the tea at a price that the customer thinks is reasonable for the quality of the tea. He advised me not to look at the short term profit, but plan for the longer term. At that time I couldn't understand it because I was too young, or hadn't thought carefully enough about it. After many years, I've come to realise that this advice made sense, so I started to plan ahead for my business and make sure the quality matched the price.
From my understanding, to engage successfully in the tea business, you need to have an honest heart and let the customer taste the pure original flavour from the leaves. Puer tea doesn't just belong to Yunnan, or even to China, but to the whole world. It's much nicer to share with other people rather than keep this for ourselves.
Over the years Mr Feng has pressed his puerh tea under several different brands. In 2010 he began to use the name "Shang Yuan Cang" for his teas.
"Shang" alludes to previous generations, a reminder that these ancient tea trees have been passed down from the ancestors of the minorities of Yunnan and that the people today should remember their kindness and take care of this gift. "Yuan" is an abbreviation referring to 'original natural environment'. Good quality tea has to be grown in a natural, pure environment. If we don't protect our natural environment all the good things will disappear someday.
When I communicate with the tea farmers in the mounains & explain my thoughts and the meaning of my brand. Some of them can't understand, some others try to find a shortcut and go against the natural environment, using pesticides and fertilisers to try to make the ancient trees to produce more leaves but they don't know that this way will cause the ancient tree to die and will destroy the environment around the ancient tree. This is how the oldest tree in Nannuoshan died previously. Some people have visited the tea mountains in recent years, calling themselves experts. They bring a lot of ideas, but after the farmers use these ideas, the environment is just getting worse and worse. This has ruined many places & I've had to abandon making tea from a lot of tea mountains.
The third character 'Cang' refers to 'hide'. Good teas are hidden, as if behind clouds. To taste good tea is not easy, we need to have a heart, always with appreciation for the people providing us with the good tea, like our farmers. I have been telling the farmers not to use any chemicals, don't keep using fertiliser, pesticides and weed killer. Don't keep destroying the natural environment. Every year I go to visit the tea farmers in the mountain, I keep offering to them that if they don't know how to hand-fry the tea, they can ask me, I will share my knowledge with them. I also learned to hand-fry tea from some farmers with very good skill. I said to those farmers "I can never fry tea better than you because you are frying many days of the year, but what I can share is my opinion on the taste of tea & the quality of the dry leaves. These are the areas in which I do have some experience."
Below are some of Mr. Feng's photos from his visits to the various tea mountains that the cakes we offer are sourced from. Click on the pictures for a high resolution gallery.
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