The Way of Qigong
The Teachings of Kenneth S. Cohen
Qigong, Tai Chi, Taoism, Health, Tea & Cultural Arts
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.
Spring 2023 Premium Select
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 Pandemic Times: All of my teas are stored safely and never shipped directly from China or other countries. I 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) Spring 2023! 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. $36 for 50g (1.8 oz) Limited supply and then gone until next year.
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 2021 harvest. 1⁄4 lb $28 TEMP OUT OF STOCK
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.
Yellow Tea is produced in small quantities from tea buds that are repeatedly baked and compressed in cloth or natural paper to bring out a pure, fresh aroma and flavor.
Fragrant Meadow Yellow Tea. Yellow leaf tea is the least known and most time consuming to make. And because it is made almost entirely of early spring tea buds, there are smaller quantities produced or available compared to other teas. Initially the picking and processing is similar to green tea. But the tea is turned and dried in a large wok at a lower temperature to allow production of enzymes and gentle oxidation. This is followed by baking the leaves and keeping them warm and wrapped in cloth or natural paper, a process that is repeated for three or four days. This tea has a buttery mouth-feel and an indescribable freshness and purity, like dew in a spring meadow. Imagine a green tea with less grassy notes and a background of blossoms scattered on the forest floor. Spring 2022. 100 g package. $85. SOLD OUT
About our Yellow Tea: In Chinese, this tea is called Mogan Yellow Bud, named for Mogan Mountain, Zhejiang, where it is grown. According to legend, Mo and Gan were a loving couple and renowned swordsmiths during the Spring Autumn Period (770-476 BCE). The pair of swords that they forged are known as “the swords of love.” Mogan Mountain was named in their honor.
Oolong Tea–partially oxidized–has the greatest variety of flavor, from a floral “Zinfandel” to rich “Bordeaux”.
Jade Mountain Autumn 2022. 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.
It has been ten years since these three perfect conditions have occurred simultaneously in the tea growing regions on Jade Mountain:
The temperature has been perfect: averaging 59 degrees F. at night and 73 during the day.
There has been a gentle southwest breeze each night, sweeping mountain fragrance into the leaves and evaporating just enough moisture to make the leaves easy to pick.
Tea growers in Taiwan worry about afternoon rain, as tea leaves may become waterlogged at that time, which weakens the aroma and dilutes the taste. This was a rare season in which throughout the autumn tea growth cycle, rain never fell in the afternoon!
Autumn teas help us adapt to the winter. Yang shifts to yin, energy is retreating into the earth, moving from flowers to roots. We become more meditative and rooted when we drink autumn tea. 150 grams $89 SOLD OUT
Luminous Path Oolong. An organic oolong that grows at over 8,000 ft. elevation in the mountain wilderness of Yunnan Province. Harvested in the winter of 2022; the dark emerald leaves are unusually large, producing a subtle liquor of pine and late blooming wildflowers, with a hint of Yunnan earthiness. The flowery sweetness lingers in the palate and on the sides of the tongue. The qi of this tea sweeps obstructions from the pathway until it is clear and luminous. 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.” 70 grams, $49
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 2021 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 $85
Eight Immortals Oolong. An exquisite organic oolong tea from the Wuyi Mountains of Fujian. The volcanic soils fertilized only with goat manure and natural grain compost produce a tea that has a deep, earthy mineral content. The aroma that results from charcoal roasting is dark chocolate covered cherries with a whiff of pepperiness. The full palate taste has only a hint of an astringent edge to keep the mind alert. Beautiful, full chestnut-colored leaves that release their gifts through at least eight infusions, making this one of the last expensive teas per cup. A classic yan cha (mountain cliff energy tea) named for the Eight Immortals of Taoist folklore. Spring 2022 Harvest. 100 grams $85
Phoenix Awake Oolong. When you see the quality of the earthy green steeped leaves, you will know the care and pride of the farmer who picked and processed the tea. From the famed Phoenix Mountains in Southern China, Guangdong Province, the original name of this tea is Huang Zhi Xiang, Yellow Branch Fragrance. A delightful spiced honey aroma and taste that awakens mind and body and produces a sensation of qi, life force, especially in the face and heart. You may feel that you can glow in the dark, though I am not sure others will perceive it. Light up the room with your energy and inspiration, a gift from this ancient terroir of tea. Spring 2022 Harvest.
100 grams, $49
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” and consort of Emperor Xuanzong, the famous patron of Taoism. Like Asian Beauty Oolong, the leaves are picked after the green leaf hopper insects have nibbled them to start the fermentation process. When the leaves are then crafted into oolong and roasted, the result is an aroma and taste of honey and flowering fruit trees, especially peach and lychee. The unique honey-flower taste seems to spread from the palate through the body and create a mood of tranquility and joy. 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 one opens the eyes to a mist-covered mountain landscape of inexpressible beauty. Autumn 2022 Harvest, 100 grams, $59 (sold as two 50g packages to preserve freshness)
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
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. 2021 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. In Taiwan's National Tea Competition, this tea was one of the top three Tie Guanyins, 150 grams: $85
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
New! Limited Availability. Mountain Spirit Green Puerh. The great eighth century classic of tea, the Cha Jing, explains that the best tea is made from wild tea trees that grow from small patches of soil on a mountain slope, as though the tree is mysteriously sprouting from the mountain itself. These tea trees absorb mineral content and qi, life force, from the mountain, and when you drink it, you become the mountain! I have lived at 9,000 ft. elevation most of my life and this is the finest mountain qi (energy) tea I have ever had. Wakeful yet peaceful at the same time. Famed tea master Chen Guoyi spent a lifetime searching for this rarest of the rare teas. When you drink it, you can also sense the deep caring and respect shared by mountain and human—the tea picker loves the mountain and the mountain loves him!
The name of this tea in Chinese is Shi Gan Dang, which actually means Stone Protector, referring to a Taoist martial artist and woodcutter who was said to have the power to scare away demons. His presence was so strong that, today, images or plaques with his name are often displayed at Taoist temples to keep negative forces away. Similarly, this tea may keep adverse qi away by nourishing your strong mountain spirit! 2019 spring harvest.
200 gram compressed tea cake, $175
Tea Drunk Puerh. The name of this tea is Cha Zui Wu Yan, literally “Tea Drunk Without Words”. This is the kind of tea that could only be discovered by a dedicated “tea hunter” with refined taste and a deep knowledge of the land. Thanks to Tea Master Chen Guoyi, you can also experience the state of “tea drunk”, in which the senses expand, fully open to the wonder of tea, so that life is experienced directly, without the mediation of concepts and words, and a deep joy of sharing your “nirvana” with tea friends. You will be drunk in the ancient Daoist sense of a spiritual realm free of the rigid structures of convention and society. Harvested in remote mountains in 2015. The leaves produce a smooth, silken, golden infusion, with a captivating cha qi (tea energy/tea breath) that carries the aroma of lotus, ancient wood, sandalwood incense, and honey fragrance lingering in the cup. 100 gram cake, $68
Azure Sea Fresh Puerh. Fine “silver needle” (yin zhen) grade puerh gathered in the spring of 2004 among old growth trees in the Menghai area and then expertly aged for 3 years before being compressed into cakes. Although grown in the interior forests of Yunnan, this tea has the feeling of a coastal rainforest, with notes of pine trees, earth and bark, hint of wild berries in early spring, honeycomb and apricot aroma lingering in the cup. I sense the energy of the tea going to the heart and lungs and then expanding, spreading, dissolving blockages. Excellent tea qi and tea spirit; it nourishes the soul. 250 gram cake, $75
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
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
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
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
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 in April of 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, $110
Five Village Fresh Puerh. Puerh tea connoisseurs know the saying “Banzhang is king; Yi Wu Mountain is queen.” Unfortunately, the “king” often commands an imperial price. But thanks to tea friends in Yunnan, I have sourced a certified organic Banzhang tea that can introduce you to this noble terroir. Gathered at high elevation around all five villages in the Banzhang area of the Bulang Mountains: Lao Ban Zhang, Xin Ban Zhang, Baka Nan, Lao Man E, and Baka Long. A rich experience with humid forest greenery merged with purple plum notes and slight astringency. Sourced from old trees in April of 2018, traditionally stone pressed 357 gram cake: $85
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 $49
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 a 20 year-old tea cake of this quality: 380 gram cake $135
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, then carefully aged for 6 years before being pressed into 357 gram cakes in October of 2019. $68
Gold Tip Imperial Puerh. Superb gold-tipped ripe puerh, perfect balance of wood, bark, earth and slight cherry fruitiness. Leaves are cut small to allow quick steeping, maintains flavor/aroma over multiple infusions. Hand harvested in 2004 near Jinghong, Xishuangbanna (Yunnan Province), home of the Dai Tribe and twelve other ethnic groups. The region is suffused by the spiritual energies of Buddhism and Shamanism, with a nearby tropical rainforest and the Mekong River Basin, one of the most biodiverse environments in the world. Deeply comforting and expansive, the peaceful spirit of this tea stays with you long after the last sip. ¼ lb loose leaf $39
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.”
Pine Smoked Black Tea. I love pine trees. On Chinese New Year it is common to wish someone “the longevity of the pine.” The Chinese character for pine is composed of two parts: the word for tree and the word for grandfather. The pine is a wise elder and inspiration to mountain poets and hermits. This is a strong tea, like the pine, a black tea smoked over the wood of the Chinese red pine, so it is infused with a pine resin-like aroma. It is the tea that accounts for the delightful smokiness of Russian Caravan Tea. Our Pine Smoked Black Tea is energizing and inspiring, harvested in 2021 in in the original home of all black teas, the Tongmu region of the Wuyi Mountains, Fujian, China. 100 grams, $38
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. 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 roasted oolong and puerh, with bamboo fragrance in the background. Liu An Tea was a favorite medicinal tonic during the Ming Dynasty. Woodsy, expansive, and smooth, a honeycomb aroma lingering in the cup. 250 gram (8.8 oz.) basket $53
HOW TO ORDER
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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 email@example.com 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.