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.
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.
White Tea is made from a cultivar that, as it dries naturally in the air, produces a refreshing aroma.
Yunnan Wild White Tea. White tea is most famous in Fujian Province, but the Jing Gu region of Yunnan, the historical home of tea, also has rare, wild tea trees that produce this extraordinarily refreshing brew. Made from exquisite sun-dried tea buds that look like small flowers, the scent and taste are reminiscent of ancient pine trees with a scattering of ferns on the forest floor. Soothing to body and mind, this tea will retain its flavor for years. 150 grams (nearly 1/3 lb) $38
Green Tea is dried more quickly to “seal in” the flavor, yielding a beautiful color and vegetal aroma.
Buddha Wisdom Green. An organic green tea grown in small quantities behind a Buddhist temple in the mountains of Zhejiang Province. Virtually unknown today, it won a gold medal at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco in 1915. A pure, fresh taste with a surprising aromatic finish, hinting of clover and peach. Spring 2019 Harvest. 100 grams, $48
Monkey King Green (Tai Ping Hou Kui). Spring 2019 Harvest. This tea will give you the full experience of a great hand-crafted green tea. Grown near a lake in the Yellow Mountains (Huang Shan, the inspiration behind many Chinese landscape paintings), the leaves are exquisite spears of translucent jade. The combination of rich soil, morning mist, and different day and night temperatures, gives the tea its resilience, complex flavor, and qi (life energy). You will understand why Monkey King Green has won so many awards in China. Nutty, sweet, rounded, filling the palate, with clean and slightly bitter after-tones. ¼ lb. $45 (sold in two 2 oz. packages)
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 amber notes. 1⁄4 lb $28
Organic Chinese Matcha. (powdered green tea, “mo cha” in Chinese) similar to the ground tea that was most common in ancient China and mentioned in the classic of Chinese herbal medicine, the Ben Cao Gang Mu. Excellent for lei cha (pestle tea) in which powdered tea is mixed and whisked with powdered or ground nuts, seeds, and flavorings such as ginger (a kind of ancient Chinese trail food). You will need a whisk to dissolve and froth it in the water. $30 for 1⁄4 lb. (compare with similar grade Japanese Matcha at $25- $50/oz)
Oolong Tea–partially oxidized–has the greatest variety of flavor, from a floral “Zinfandel” to rich “Bordeaux”.
Oriental Beauty (Dong Fang Mei Ren). Taiwan’s most unique Oolong. This is one of the few great Oolongs that does not require a high mountain environment. When green hopper insects chew on the leaves, they start the oxidation process. Then, at just the right moment a master tea farmer picks the leaves and processes them into a magnificent Oolong tea, with orange marmalade, burgundy, and honey notes. The tea creates a refined and expansive feeling. 2019 Summer harvest, will maintain its fresh and aromatic qualities for years. The last time I was able to procure this quality tea it sold out quickly at $150 for 150 grams. Thanks to a large purchase in my recent trip to Taiwan I have a limited quantity of 150 gram packages, only $85 each
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 late October 2019 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 (Temp out of stock)
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. Exceptional Spring 2019 Harvest, best in many years! 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, meadows, granite 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 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. 2019 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
Honey Aroma Tie Guanyin Oolong. The master who crafted this Taiwan high mountain tea has won first place tea awards 16 times in the past 35 years. The leaves are repeatedly rolled and twisted before light roasting over natural wood coals. At first, the taste and aroma have a hint of fruitiness, with a slightly woodsy astringency. By the second, third, and subsequent steeping, the amber brew is smooth and rounded, with a hint of sweet honey. October 2019 harvest. 150 grams $65
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
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” (shu) 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
Big Snow Mountain Green Puerh. Exceptional 2018 harvest from high, deep rooted tea trees at least 100 years old. Entrancing aroma, taste, and look, each cake hand-crafted. Smooth, only slightly dry, without bitterness (unless you over-steep). Meditative, like sitting in a Zen temple deep in forested mountains, with a gentle aroma of sandalwood and musk incense adding to the tranquility. Drinking this delightfully complex, organic tea awakens the mind and body. Rare: only 2 cakes left. 400 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 grapes and rasberries. The deep golden brew has only slight astringency. An initial aroma of magnolia, lilac, and pine; later steeping produces a pure woodsy taste, with a refreshing and cooling quality. The qi is gently penetrating, going to the heart and then then spreading through the rest of the body. 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 Factory in 1957. 200 gram tea cake, $75
Bada Spring Forest Fresh Puerh. From wild tea trees in southwest Yunnan Province, where high mountains, humidity and rolling mist make a great tea environment. More plant qi and less mountain qi than most green puerhs, this one is like a stroll through a tropical forest, with hanging moss, creeping vines, rich undergrowth, and moist earth. Slight astringency, with a hint of wild rose in the background. 2015 early spring picking. If you store it in a breathable basket or cloth bag, it will age well and develop even more character (and value) over time. 200 gram cake $48
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
Wuliang Mountain Wild Green Puerh. A loose-leaf green puerh (not a compressed tea cake) from 2008. Good everyday tea, not as complex as other puerhs, notes of humid forest, with slight campfire smokiness and gentle muskiness associated with the camphor tree. The tea is warming and leaves a slight astringency in the mouth. This high mountain, wild puerh was picked in the Wuliang Mountain Nature Reserve, a remote area of Xishuangbanna, Yunnan Province, well known for rich flora such as fragrant evergreens (Pine and Laurel), Magnolia, and Rhododendron and rare wildlife: black gibbon, leopard, tiger, and sambar deer. 1⁄4 lb. $35
Ripe (Shu) Puerh
Bulang Ancient Forest Ripe Puerh (2012). Stunningly beautiful certified organic compressed tea cake that produces a mahogany (reddish-brown) brew. Imagine walking through a lush semi-tropical forest after a long gentle rain: dense woods with overhanging shade that does not permit much undergrowth, producing a mushroom-like aroma of moist earth, a hint of pepper spice in the distance. Now imagine recapturing the entire sensual experience in a cup of tea—the aromas, the taste of the air, the touch of soft earth and tree bark, the sound of gentle footsteps. This is how great this dark puerh is. Not overpowering, but smooth and fulfilling. The leaves picked from ancient forest trees, not from a plantation. The packaging states “These ancient tea trees, found deep within these great mountains, growing amidst clouds and mist, have breathed the spirit-qi (ling qi 靈氣) of Heaven and Earth for hundreds of years.” My favorite ripe puerh. 357 g tea cake $99
Heaven Earth Puerh (1985). This 1985 vintage puerh tea is from the national award winning Xiaguan Tea producer, near the ancient city of Dali in northwestern Yunnan. The area is known to be a backpacker’s paradise, near the 13,000 ft Cangshan Mountains, on the shore of Erhai Lake, a lake of liquid jade. Classic earthy and woodsy dark puerh taste but not as peaty as the Bulang Puerh above. A hint of licorice sweetness at the finish, similar to the flavor of great Tibetan teas. You will feel the qi of heaven and earth joining in your body, creating a feeling of rootedness and unity with nature. I am making this tea available at an exceptional discount for a limited time. 250 gram rectangular “tea brick” $95
Menghai Old Tree Ripe Puerh (2010). Smooth without astringency or bitterness, classic forest after rain aroma and peaty flavor. From the southern Xishuangbanna region, known for earthy teas and the rich cultures of the indigenous people who gather the tea. “Old trees,” are defined as trees that are at least 100 years old, accounting for less than 4% of the tea plants of Yunnan Province. 357 gram cake $45
Falling Leaves Tuo Cha (2007). Tightly compressed into a “bird’s nest” shape, clear woodsy qi, with a slightly sweet aftertaste. Known in China for its soothing effect on the stomach, this is an excellent, grounding, everyday dark puerh. From the famed Xia Guan Tea Company, 98 gram compressed “dome” $20
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.” A mid- 20th century Puerh recently sold in Hong Kong for more than $200,000. U.S.
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
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
Dark Rose Tea. Rose petals are added to the dark tea and compressed into approx. 1 inch (5 gram) heart-shaped pieces. Full bodied perfectly blended flavor and aroma. Meditation and Romance all in one! Bag of 30 hearts (about 1/3 lb.), enough for 50-60 cups of tea, $25
First send an email with a list of the items and quantity you would like to order to: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 720-985-6445. Be sure to include your name, mailing address, and phone number. We will reply shortly to confirm that the items are in stock, the total cost, and instructions how to pay. We accept PayPal, Credit Card, and personal checks or money orders (US only).
Shipping Within the U.S. By first class or priority mail (secure and trackable): Orders up to $70, add $8. Orders $70-$100 add $12. Orders over $100 add $15.
International, including Canada. Airmail shipping cost varies by weight. International post is generally safe and reliable, but please note that because of varying customs regulations, we cannot be responsible for lost items.
All orders receive 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.
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.