2018 Autumn Sheng Pu Erh from Oma Mahei
Our Oma Mahei Sheng Pu Erh (2018 Autumn picking) is produced by Grandma GAO who owns the old tea trees and produces a small amount of tea by herself and her grand-daughter, she is now (2019) 95 years old. She was born in Luoshui Dong village in Yiwu mountain in 1924, started picking and selling tea when she was 12 to help with the family income supplement. When she was 17, she married to the son of a big landlord in Mahei village, 7 kilo metres away from Luoshui Dong in Yiwu Mountian. The landlord owned a famous tea company back then called Chengxing Chang. In addition to living a well off life, she started working at the tea company owned by her father-in-law and her husband, until 1949 when her father-in-law was arrested for being a landlord in the notorious time of Culture Revolution. Her husband was also arrested and died in the jail in 1959. That year was the 10th anniversary of her marriage, she was 27 with a small daughter and a son.
After the death of her husband, her father-in-law’s tea factory was forced to close and they were forced out of their house. In order to take care of the three elders (her father-in-law had two wives) and her two small children. She started climbing the old tea trees and picking tea in the tea field. Life during those years was beyond hard, the whole family lived under a leaking grass roof until 1982 when the Chinese leader Dengxiao Ping redressed the wronged cases and gave them back their old house.
At that time, she was living mostly alone in the big house because her three parents-in-law have died of old age many years ago, and her children have left home to work somewhere else. Feeling a nostalgia for the big tea factory her family used to run, she rented 5 Mu ancient tea field to produce tea by herself.
Because she takes care of the tea field alone, she does not have time or energy to plant new trees. All the trees in her field are at least 150 years old. In the beginning her teas were sold for a few cents per kilo. But the tea market in the recent years witnesses a surge in the price for tea from old trees. Now tea from her village Mahei can sell for about a thousand of Chinese money for 1 Jin (500g). Because of the boom of tea market, her grandchildren come home to help her with tea production. the visiting of the tea businessmen from all over the world makes her life a little less lonely in her yard.
A korean couple who come to visit her every year told us, grandma Gao is very lonely, she always holds our hands with tears in her eyes before we leave. She is very lonely when the tea picking season is finished and her yard does not receive any guests. But fortunately, she is very healthy and quite strong.
It is not a fairytale. It’s a real life story of an old lady started to pick tea at 12 years old, started working in a tea factory at 17, widowed at 27 and started to take care of herself and her famiky by climbing tbe tea trees and oicking tea. The rest 68 years of loneliness, companied mostly by tea trees.
About our Oma Mahei Tea:
The first infusion is a little grassy when the liquid hit your tongue, then comes the sweetness of dark fruits and slight bitterness of some citrus fruits.
The aftertaste of the first infusion is extremely sweet and mouthwatering (making your mouth water with sweet saliva).
Starting from the second infusion, the liquid is honey sweet with an aftertaste like a jasmine tea, the citrus bitterness and the grassiness of the first infusion are gone without trace.