Cloud Forest Tea © is the private reserve of teas and Yixing tea pots that I have personally selected, which are available for purchase at workshops, lectures, tea talks and tastings. A limited quantity of teas are available via mail order.
Summer 2021 Private Reserve
Tea is a traditional, unique, and elegant gift for yourself or others. It is great for vitality and induces a state of mental calm and appreciation of life. Scientific studies document exceptional health benefits. Follow the custom of true tea connoisseurs: educate your palate by enjoying the best. The better the tea, the more layers and dimensions of taste and aroma. For more information about tea, visit the Way of Tea page.
Because of my direct contact with merchants, farmers, and connoisseurs and a commitment to fair pricing, I am able to offer my favorite teas at a fraction of their usual cost, underselling many tea shops in China. Tea orders will include details about tea preparation, Chinese tea ceremony, and storage. Supplies are limited.
We only offer single-estate loose-leaf teas, grown on sustainable farms or picked from wild tea trees in high, misty mountains. Unlike machine cut commercial tea, fine teas are harvested by hand, at least 2,000 pickings to make one pound of tea. The quality of each leaf is carefully checked. Many teas are rolled, twisted, or folded to create a gradual release of flavor and aroma as the leaves open in the hot water.
Personal Note from Ken Cohen Re COVID-19 All of my teas are stored safely and never shipped directly from China or other countries. I personally practice social distancing, maintain a clean business environment, and use disposable surgical masks and gloves when handling or packing tea for shipment. I advise customers to follow all CDC health and safety guidelines.
Orders shipped to U.S. addresses only.
Green Tea is dried quickly to “seal in” the flavor, yielding a beautiful color and fresh aroma.
Bi Luo Chun Green (Green Spiral Spring), Early Spring 2021 Harvest! I have been searching for years for an affordable, organic, early spring first harvest (known as pre-Qing Ming Festival) Bi Luo Chun green tea. This one, from Taiwan, is the best I have ever tasted. Pure, inspiring, springtime energy. The small young leaves are curled into tiny spirals; as they coil open in the hot water, they slowly release a delicate aroma of green vegetation, mango, apricot, and a hint of refreshing pine. Bi Luo Chun is considered one of the top 10 teas in China and often ranked the best Chinese green tea. 1/4 lb $49 Limited supply and then gone until next year.
Buddha Wisdom Green (Hui Ming). Rare, Exceptional, Enlightening. Limited quantities of this superb organic green tea. Although first cultivated during the seventh century, it was named for Buddhist Monk Hui Ming, who in 861 built a temple in the mountains of Zhejiang Province and planted tea around it. Our Buddha Wisdom tea is sourced from the most prized tea garden next to the original temple. This tea won a gold medal at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco in 1915 but, since that time, has remained relatively unknown in the West. A pure, fresh taste with a surprising aromatic finish, hinting of clover and peach.
Spring 2021 Harvest. 100 grams, $48
Ancient Forest Green. The Jing Mai Mountains in southern Yunnan Province are home to an ancient organic tea forest that since the Song Dynasty has been sustainably harvested by the original Bulang and Dai tribal people. The 50 ft. wild tea trees grow amidst medicinal herbs and share their rich healing qi. Not your usual green tea, this one combines vegetal green with smoky pine and orchid notes. Spring 2020 harvest. 1⁄4 lb $28 (sold in two 2 oz. packages to preserve freshness)
About the Jing Mai Mountains (source of Ancient Forest Green Tea and Verdant Trail Fresh Puerh): The Jing Mai Mountains are hailed as the world's natural museum of tea trees. The indigenous Bulang people have gathered the wild organic tea leaves since the 9th Century. Jing Mai Mountain Tea was one of the teas carried across the ancient Tea Horse Road, the tea trade route between China and Tibet.
Moonlight White (Yue Guang Bai) is a white tea that get its unique name from tea leaves that are alternately dark like night and silvery white like the full moon, as well as the ancient custom of picking this tea only at night under the full moon and then wilting and drying in low light. It maintains the mystery and softness of a spring moonlit night. Most white tea is from a variety of camellia sinensis grown in Fujian Province. This tea is from the rare, wild Da Li Cha, camellia taliensis, a related ancient evergreen found at the opposite end of China, in the Jinggu region of Yunnan Province. The yellow gold infusion has notes of tall marsh grasses, chestnut, and vanilla. The feeling is soft and smooth, almost silky, with a lingering sweetness and peace. Picked in the spring of 2021. 100 grams, $35
Oolong Tea–partially oxidized–has the greatest variety of flavor, from a floral “Zinfandel” to rich “Bordeaux”.
Luminous Path Oolong. An organic oolong that grows at over 8,000 ft. elevation in the mountain wilderness of Yunnan Province. Picked in the spring of 2020, the leaves are emerald green with a hint of reddish brown on the edges, indicating that it is lightly oxidized, high in the healthy qi-balancing phytochemicals. Pine, cedar, a bouquet of wildflowers, the aroma reminds me of Cedar Creek (Shan Lin Xi) and Alishan, but with a hint of Yunnan earthiness. The qi of this tea sweeps obstructions from the pathway until it is clear and bright, a pathway of light. Background story: The governments of mainland China and Taiwan have had an ambivalent relationship and often been in conflict since 1949. But in tea there are no borders, no conflicts. This tea is made by a Taiwanese Oolong tea master who moved to Yunnan Province, mainland China, many years ago. I am reminded of a saying of the great Teamaster Sen Soshitsu, “A cup of tea is a cup of peace.” 100 grams $68 Sold Out
Imperial Beauty Rare Oolong. Enchanting and seductive, this rare Taiwan Oolong owes its name to the famed Yang Guifei (b. 719 AD), one of the “Four Beauties of Ancient China.” The tea is a product of a unique collaboration between people and nature. Green leaf hoppers, a kind of cicada, bite the leaves and start the oxidation/fermentation process that transforms green tea into oolong. The leaves are then hand-picked, rolled, and roasted. The brewed tea has notes of caramel, honey, peach, apricot, and lychee, spreading from the palate through the body to create a mood of tranquility and joy. With successive steeping, the infusion changes from gold to reddish bronze. This is one of those rare teas so filled with qi that it expands consciousness, as though after sitting in the absolute stillness of meditation you open your eyes to a mountain landscape of inexpressible beauty. 100 grams $68.00, Special 250 grams: $135
Alishan Green Mountain Oolong. The high mountain tea from Taiwan grows in an area famous for 2,000 year-old cypress trees, cedar forests, and stunning springtime cherry blossoms. Grown and crafted by personal friends in Spring 2020 at 5,446 ft. elevation, it one of the highest tea gardens in Alishan. The perfect leaves produce a sunshine colored brew with a fresh, elegant taste, wild mountain flower notes, and clear, luminous energy. Absolutely the best Alishan tea I have ever tasted. 150 grams $95
Phoenix Honey Orchid. This Phoenix tea is smooth, complex, with unique dark, campfire notes, and filled with qi, life force. The aroma, taste, and lingering aftertaste are like a mix of sandalwood perfume, exotic fruit, and a breeze blowing through a forest of blossoming peach trees. You will feel grounded and enlivened, like a deeply rooted tree opening its arms the warmth of the morning sun. 150 grams $70
Fragrant Branch Oolong. (Huang Zhi Xiang) This dark, lightly roasted Oolong comes from leaves that catch the dawn sunlight diffusing through mountains mists. It warms the body and mind. Initial aroma: an enchanting sweet mix of apricot and peach. Subsequent steeping brings notes of distant orange blossoms and orchids. Finally, a smooth taste of autumn woods. Gathered from tea trees more than 100 years old at 3,000 ft elevation in the Phoenix Mountains of Guangdong, close to Chaozhou, considered by many to be the birthplace of Chinese tea culture. 150 grams $70
Jade Mountain. Summer 2020 Harvest. Pure Mountain Qi (Life Force). From Jade Mountain, which at more than 12,000 ft. is the highest mountain in Taiwan. The rich greenery makes the mountain shine like precious jade. Sourced from a Taoist Tea Master who, with her daughters, carefully harvests and crafts this exceptional tea. When you drink this tea, you drink the mountain: with the first steeping, you will be almost overwhelmed by the entrancing aroma of wild flowers. The second and subsequent steepings include lingering notes of pine trees, sunlight and refreshing mountain breezes. 150 grams $85
Cassia Cliff Oolong. (Rou Gui) This cliff tea (yan cha) from the Wuyi Mountains is roasted and lightly twisted into an elegant shape. It yields a red colored brew that has a distinct fullness and a sweetness like burgundy wine flavored with honey, roasted cherries, and chocolate, very similar to the famous Big Red Robe Tea, but at a fraction of the cost. This classic tea, crafted since the Qing Dynasty, has yan yun, the rhythm and vitality of pristine mountains. It retains its aroma and taste through multiple steepings. The energy of the tea is strong, exotic, and warming. 150 grams $75
About Wuyi Oolong Teas: According to noted TeaMaster Yuan Zicai: “When you drink Wuyi Oolong Tea, arrogance is eliminated, impatience is removed, temper is softened, and mood is elevated.”
Tie Guanyin Oolong
Tie Guanyin is the most famous banquet tea used to honor and inspire special guests (or oneself), with a flavor ranging from floral to smoky. In ancient times, a poor farmer found an abandoned temple with a beautiful iron (tie) statue of the Goddess of Compassion (Guanyin) enshrined on its altar. He began making regular trips to the temple to fix it up, offering flowers, incense and prayer. One day, a year later, Guanyin appeared to him in a dream and said that to reward the farmer for his piety, she would give him a precious treasure the next day. Following her dream instructions, he discovered a rare tea plant with an amazing, blissful taste.
Guan Yin: Buddhist symbol of compassion, Nelson Atkins Museum, Kansas City (photo by Ken Cohen)
Cloud Forest Tie Guanyin. 2020 Spring harvest This tea is grown according to the specifications of Master Zhang, who brought the first Tie Guanyin seeds from Fujian Province to Muzha, Taiwan during the late Qing Dynasty. I purchased this tea directly from his great grandson. A direct link with generations of tea masters going all the way back to the dream and inspiration of Guan Yin. Pure, grounding yet links the mind to spiritual realms. An elegant tea that will bring you to tranquil mountain-side tea fields drifting in and out of the mist. 150 grams $85
Original Taste Tie Guanyin. A soothing everyday Tie Guanyin, with a hint of Taiwan cypress, pine, and mountain moonlight. Relatively small leaves picked early in the season (small leaves = less bitterness) and then roasted to tone down flowery notes, multiple infusions range from golden bronze to red amber. Spring 2019 harvest. 150 grams, $60
Puerh Tea from Yunnan Province
Often compared to single malt scotch, puerh is an acquired taste, but once acquired, never forgotten. It can be green (also called "fresh" or sheng in Chinese) or allowed to age and become a dark, peaty, “ripe” (shou) puerh. The green is musky and aromatic with dimensions of flavor and aroma that change with each steeping; the ripe is peaty and famous for its soothing effects on digestion. Puerh Tea comes from a large leaf varietal of the same plant that produces white, green, and oolong tea. It is found only in Yunnan Province, the original home of tea.
Puerh Tea is generally compressed into a round "cake" or rectangular "brick," from which the leaves are easily removed for steeping using a butter knife. In ancient China compressed cakes were a necessity because of ease of transport. A pound of tea can fit into a large, bulky bag or compressed into a one inch thick cake, easily stacked one on the other. Compressed cakes or bricks have an additional advantage. The outside of the cake/brick interacts with the air around it-- oxidizing-- more than the interior. Different oxidation levels create differences in taste and aroma. Thus, when portions of the cake are broken and steeped, there is a richer and more layered sensual experience.
Green (Sheng) Puerh
Emerald Moss Rare Puerh. Spring 2020 harvest. Superb. Grows in a remote, little known region of Yunnan Province near the Burmese border. From ancient wild tea trees discovered near a small organic corn field, planted by the local villagers. If you are looking for a tea that has health and sensory qualities of both green tea and Puerh, this is it. An intoxicating mix of ancient trees, moss, irises, apricots and earth. Springtime green plant qi and lingering honey and orange blossom notes. Silky smooth consistency and a delightful hui gan (sweet salivary response around the tongue). This fine puerh is invigorating and satisfying. It is also a great tea for training and improving your sensitivity to different aromas. 357 gram cake, $160
Verdant Trail Fresh Puerh. Spring 2018. Puts you immediately in a realm of sensory wakefulness, reminded me of walking through a spring forest, the symphony of aroma from the earth, the pine trees, rushes and reeds in marshlands, the hint of peppery bitterness from medicinal sweet-flag. The forest seems to be talking: “Listen to me” she says, creating a state of resonance and inner harmony. A great everyday tea, completely hand-made, grown at 5,000 ft. elevation in one of the highest tea gardens on Jingmai Mountain. 357 gram tea cake, $115
Peaceful Mountain Green Puerh. Spring 2015. Grown at 6,200 ft. elevation in the southern portion of the Wu Liang Mountains. Unified taste and aroma, smooth without bitterness, pure notes of sub-tropical forest and earth. Honey, magnolia, and rose in the drying cup. And a most unusual impression—this tea has the feeling of the area’s rich wildlife: monkey, gibbon, bear, herons, and pheasant. Carries the qi of comfort, patience, and kindness, as though the Earth herself is saying, “Relax and enjoy the beauty of nature!” 357 gram cake, $135
Pasha Ancient Arbor Green Puerh. In the language of the Aini Tribe of Yunnan Province, Pasha means “tall and straight forest.” It is the name of their village and the nearby famous tea mountain. The tea was picked on April 18, 2017 at an elevation of 5,900 ft. The great skill of the tea farmers is evident in every aspect of this tea, from the shape of the leaves to the color of the infusion and, of course the aroma and taste. The leaves are a beautiful dark forest green. The color of the infusion is clear gold without any cloudiness and an unusually smooth and soft texture, like silk on the tongue. The aroma—ancient wood, plum, cherry, and clove, with distinct honey in the drying cup. The qi of Pasha tea expands awareness beyond boundaries, beyond the personal self into a state of oneness with the mountains. Tranquility and harmony in a cup. 357 gram tea cake, $85
Purple Bud Puerh. An extremely rare tea varietal found only in a very limited area, gathered from high elevation wild trees between 500 and 1400 years old. The leaves are picked only in the early spring when they sprout purple buds, high in anthocyanins, the antioxidant-rich pigments that give blueberries, raspberries, grapes, and wine their color. The color of the tea is a stunning obsidian black, yet the leaves are green when steeped and create a liquid gold infusion. Use a small amount of leaves and short steeping time to prevent bitterness and to bring out the aroma notes of plum, cherry, clove, and earth, with magnolia and honeysuckle lingering in the cup as it dries. Qi impression: a river lined with river-willows in a tranquil meadow. 2018 vintage. 357 gram tea cake $175
Big Snow Mountain Green Puerh. 2014 harvest from Yong De county in western Yunnan, in the foothills of the Himalaya Mountains. The tea grows near a nature reserve with steep cliffs, dense forests and abundant plants and wildlife. Entirely sourced from ancient trees, hand crafted, and stone pressed into tea cakes. Vegetal, slightly astringent, strong qi with notes of earth after rain, mushrooms, camphor, slight scent of burnt wood from a campfire and ginseng sweetness at the finish. 400 gram cake $98
Mountain Moonlight Green Puerh. 2013 spring harvest. Some teas have an aroma that reminds one of an alpine meadow in the early morning. Not this extraordinary green puerh. The cha-qi (tea energy) of this tea is stone, wood, and moonlight. Drinking it creates an image of walking along a mountain trail flanked by high granite peaks bathed in silver light, creating a mood of tranquility and mystery. The aroma, the taste, the feeling of peace lingers. From wild, 100 to 300 year old trees in Jinggu, a beautifully forested region in southwestern Yunnan, home to 26 ethnic tribes.
357 gram cake, $135
Banzhang Ancient Tree Green Puerh (2006). Banzhang is one of the most sought after Puerh teas, the leaves picked from ancient trees, 400, 500 and even 1,000 years old, growing at 6,000 ft. elevation. Woodsy, bold, complex, slightly bitter, with notes of tobacco and fallen leaves. Banzhang Village in the Bulang Mountains of southwest Yunnan Province, has been officially producing tea since the late 1400s. However, the Bulang (also known as Hani) tribe has been in the area for more than 2000 years, and tea has probably always been an essential part of their nature-based culture. 250 gram compressed tea “brick” $59.
Banzhang Imperial Gold Fresh Puerh. Picked entirely in the early spring of 2013, then compressed into small domes (tuo cha), this is the tea of Kung Fu Masters and Buddhist Monks. Strong tea qi that spreads throughout the body, without being localized in any particular region (some teas send qi specifically to the feet, the abdomen, etc.). With notes of wood, musk, amber and sandalwood, this tea causes the mind to become tranquil and enter the realm of “Form is not different from Emptiness.” (from a Buddhist text called The Heart Sutra), that is, the everyday becomes the realm of enlightenment. 100 grams mushroom shape compressed tea $35 Note: This tea is much more tightly compressed than any of our other puerh teas. It will take a sharp implement and some effort to break it apart, but well worth the effort!
Purple Dawn Puerh Autumn (2013). Great everyday green puerh, from rare purple hued leaves, the same healthy pigmentation found in wine grapes. Viewed in a heat tempered glass cup, the infusion is cloudy golden-bronze. Initial aroma of lilac, leather, and a cedar forest after rain, only slight astringency with pure woodsy taste. The qi is gently penetrating, going to the heart and then then spreading through the rest of the body and connecting you with the earth. Grown at an elevation of more than 4500 feet in the famous Menghai region of Yunnan. This tea is crafted under the direct supervision of one of the most famous Puerh Tea Masters in China, “Mr. Old Comrade,” Zhou Bingliang, who began his career as a co-founder of the famed Menghai Tea Company in 1957. . 200 gram tea cake, $75
Bulang Autumn Mountain Green Puerh. Harvested in 2016 by members of the Bulang Tribe, probably the first in the world to grow tea, at an average of 4,500 foot elevation in small tea gardens fed by pure mountain water. Here 20 to 30-year old plants have had a chance to spread roots and absorb minerals from the rich soil. Bulang puerhs are noted for an initial bitterness and vegetal astringency mixed with woodsy notes. When you finish the tea and smell the cup, you will be delighted by the subtle background of musk, sandalwood and rose. The second infusion includes notes of damp leaves and earth after rain. The taste gets smoother with each steeping. 100 gram cake $39
Yi Wu Mountain Wild Green Puerh (2002). Wild teas, compared to terraced or farmed, are increasingly rare, as they are harder to find and more labor-intensive to pick. This tea was gathered entirely from wild tea trees in the early spring, stone pressed into perfect cakes, and then stored carefully for 10 years in a tropical environment, where the air is perfect for correct aging of Puerh Tea (like storing cigars in a humidor). Yi Wu Mountain Puerh is called “the Queen of Puerh Teas,” and it was here that the art of Puerh tea making was revitalized after the Cultural Revolution. The leaves produce a gorgeous golden amber brew, with initial earthy and spicy notes, followed by magnolia and honey sweetness. Complex, yet smooth, with a strong balance of earth, forest, and mountain qi. Exceptional price for an 18 year-old tea cake of this quality: 380 gram cake $135
Inner Strength Green Puerh. Picked by indigenous people on Zhang Lang Mountain in the spring of 2019, completely hand processed and stone pressed. Wood, leather, cherry, and subtle musk fragrance, no astringency but a pleasant wakeful bitterness in the initial steeping. I had the sense that the tea pickers, like the tea, had a long history of being deeply rooted to the land, and by drinking the tea I was too. I especially enjoy the strengthening qualities of this tea during the autumn and winter. 100 gram cake $39
Ripe (Shou) Puerh
Menghai Golden Needle Puerh. Great cha qi (tea energy), earthy, slightly woodsy, aroma of medicinal roots and lingering cool, fresh mountain air, slight licorice sweetness at the finish. Absolutely smooth, with a pleasant hui gan (moist mouth response) normally found in green puerhs. Premium “golden needle” grade leaves picked near Menghai in 2013. 357 gram teacake, $65
Classic Topaz Puerh (2019). A loose leaf fully ripened organic puerh tea and great introduction to the realm of puerh. Smooth with notes of peaty earth, moss, and tropical evergreen forest, lasting through many steepings. Peaceful and harmonious qi (energy) that unifies heaven and earth, fire and water. Lingering taste and moisture in the palate are signs that this is a great tea. $25 for ¼ lb or $40 for ½ lb (sold as two 4 oz packages for freshness or use one as a gift)
Interesting Fact: Puerh that is picked fresh and green (sheng) and allowed to naturally age gets better and more expensive over time, a “drinkable antique.”
Dark & Black Tea
Dark Tea (Hei Cha) is a unique black tea made from a fermented and fully oxidized leaf, with a slightly sweet aftertaste.
Liu An Bamboo Basket. In a class by itself, some people consider this a hei cha (dark tea) even though it is crafted like a Puerh. Picked in Anhui Province in 2006, this spectacular tea has been aged in a bamboo basket covered with bamboo leaves. The taste is a cross between a green tea and a roasted oolong tea, with bamboo fragrance in the background. Liu An Tea was a favorite medicinal tonic during the Ming Dynasty. Woodsy, expansive, and smooth, with a honeycomb aroma lingering in the cup. 250 gram (8.8 oz.) basket $53
Wu Yi Mountain Pine Smoked Black. Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong “Small Leaf from the Wuyi Mountains”, a World Heritage Site in Fujian Province. This totally unique organic black tea is placed in bamboo baskets and smoked for several hours over pinewood in a special tea smokehouse. The intoxicating pine aroma hits you immediately; catch the scent, then drink and enjoy. Pine Smoked Black is also one of the best teas for use in Chinese cuisine. For example, try steaming your favorite fish over this tea! Or one of my favorites: Tea Smoked Duck, in which the tea is ground with black pepper and salt and then rubbed into duck breasts before roasting in the oven. Or just enjoy the tea and its pine qi (energy)!
1/4 pound, $35
Dark Tea Cake. Little known in the West, from Anhua county, Hunan Province, sometimes called “post-fermented” because enzymes in the leaves produce a unique dark tea reminiscent of puerh, though not quite as peaty. Smooth and mellow with a hint of licorice in the aftertaste. This tea is prized for its taste and healing properties in Northwest China, Mongolia, Tibet, and Russia. 4-inch diameter, 1/3 lb. compressed tea cake, easily flaked with a knife. $25
HOW TO ORDER
U.S. Orders Only
To order teas, please fill out Tea Order Form. All orders include detailed instructions on tea preparation and storage.
Prices and availability are subject to change. If we cannot fill your order as requested, we will contact you to offer, according to your choice, a substitution or refund. Because U.S. law classifies tea as a food item, once ordered we cannot accept returns.
If you have any questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 720-985-6445.
Ken Cohen offers “tea talks" including lectures and tastings for private groups, tea-houses, and conferences. For more information, visit the Tea Talks and Tastings page.