We are delighted to include Misty Peak Teas in the August box, a company that specializes solely in Pu'er tea. Nicholas, who started Misty Peak, shares more information about Pu'er and how he's able to ensure the very best in the tea he offers. August 5th is the last day to sign up and receive Misty Peak Pu-er tea.
Source: mistypeakteas on Instagram
Can you tell us a little about Misty Peak Teas and how it got started?
Misty Peak started with a mix of coincidence and fate. I, Nicholas, was traveling in my early twenties and looking for that thing we all probably look for in our 20’s. From meditation retreats in Thailand to yoga seminars in India, I was searching for something to add to my life that would ground me and balance me, and would be easy to share with others.
Long story short, I was walking thru a village in rural Yunnan China taking photos and became lost. A young man invited me in to escape a rainstorm and poured myself and my wife some tea. That cup of tea turned into 12 hours of drinking tea, which turned into three years of living on his family’s tea farm. Drinking this tea, I immediately filled that void and realized that tea is so easy to share and is very much a communal practice and beverage.
At the time, I was hardly familiar with premium teas or Pu’er tea, but I was sure that they had something special. I began sending out samples to tea companies and immediately got some substantial orders. It was clear that this is something that I must find a way to share, and so, Misty Peak was born.
What is Pu’er tea and how is it different than other teas (black, green, white)?
Pu’er tea is unique in a number of ways. One can not speak much about the history of tea without first mentioning Pu’er tea, as it was the first tea cultivated on earth thousands of years ago and was compressed into interesting shapes and carried by mule all across Southern Asia. It was a currency, a trading power, a historical artifact, and much more. In short, in order to be classified as Pu’er tea it must meet 3 basic criteria:
1) Be cultivated in Yunnan China
2) Be sun-dried
3) Be picked from the large leaf variety of the tea tree.
It is different in that it can be aged and does not expire like other teas. The leaves are also much larger and it is usually known for much bolder tastes and aromas compared to most other teas. There are three subcategories of Pu’er within itself and those are: Green(Raw/Sheng) Pu’er (which is what we offer), Aged Green (Lao Sheng), and Ripe (Black/Shou) Pu’er, which is an artificially aged green Pu’er. The taste, look, body-feel and aroma are all very different, but fun to experience in whatever the brewing method one chooses.
From where do you source your tea and why have you chosen to keep such a tight focus on what you offer?
Our tea all comes from one family and one farm in Xishuangbanna Yunnan China, where tea originated and where the oldest tea trees on earth still grow (some as old as 2,000 years old!) In China, and much of the world, each region, village, and even mountain, is known for a specific tea. For example, Southern Yunnan is known for Pu’er tea whereas Eastern China is known for their green teas and North Eastern India is known for its Assam and Darjeelings. Once one steps into one of these villages, no other tea exists; it is either impossible to find, or is simply not grown there. The farmer takes tremendous pride, and often has a relationship and deep family history, in that region’s tea.
In creating Misty Peak, I wanted to build that same relationship and really be a specialist in our tea. In Xishuangbanna, the farmers and people know and love Pu’er in a way that it is nearly a member of their families; however, they may know nothing about Oolong and have probably never even heard of Masala Chai Tea. Having such a tight focus allows us to have complete quality control and ensure that we know our product and can offer the very best Pu’er tea in the world by being a leader in a niche. Instead of supplying dozens, or hundreds, of teas, we offer only one and are able to try our best to make it the best. The Western world has moved so far ahead with the mega stores of our time and the big box stores where one can buy nearly anything. There are more consumers that are moving the opposite way, or are still in a time where they go to the baker, instead of the supermarket, to buy their bread because they know he really knows his bread. We are trying to be that way as well.
How does the tea differ depending on when it is harvested?
Harvest season in Pu’er, and most other teas, varies greatly and affects the taste, look, and energy of the tea. Think of it as the difference between Thanksgiving and Easter, or the feel one gets when thinking of Autumn versus thinking of Spring. In Spring, the winter has just passed and now the energy of the sun is going towards sprouting those little buds and bringing blossoms from plants all over. The taste and feeling of a Spring tea is much the same: it tastes like Spring and has more vibrance and energy to it than other seasons’ tea and taste much like the blossoms blooming all around it.
In Autumn, those blossoms have now turned into rich fruits like persimmons and apricots and pomegranates. Those rich and bold flavors and colors are also present in the tea. The cooling effect to the body one experiences, and needs, during the Spring harvest is different than the warming and grounding feel one experiences in an Autumn harvested tea. The rainfall, sunshine, and flora surrounding the tea trees all play a part in the characteristics of these lovely teas.
Thanks Nicholas! You can learn more at mistypeakteas.com.