Year of the Bull 2021 Yiwu Raw Puer



Our largest and one of our favourite productions each year, this tea is as “Yiwu” as it gets, exemplifying the typical character of the region: a pleasant and unique fragrance that is accompanied by an underlying sweetness.

As with our 2020 Rat, drier weather has contributed to a denser tea than previous years. Even with this denser flavour and a little bit of extra bitterness, this tea is still quite approachable and very suitable for beginners, both in terms of flavour and budget.

Our experience storing this tea over the last 10 years has been the development of more noticeable honey and fruit notes within 3-5 years.

As we highlight each year, a big draw with this tea is the quality of material used. The trees were planted by this farmer’s family over 45 years ago. At the time, plantation style terraces were in vogue (along with platform heels and disco… maybe not so much in China). However, since the 2000s, these trees have been converted to fangyang (放养, or “left to grow”). This means no pesticides, weed killer, pruning, fertilizers or over-picking.

While this style of farming isn’t ideal for producing maximum output, it does contribute to much higher quality tea than neighboring taidi productions, which adhere to conventional farming methods. The other downsides are the trees left to grow taller on their own tend to compete for space and may require relocation, which isn’t always successful. Additionally, manual weeding is a laborious task that takes at least a month each year to complete. Picking tall trees, even if they’re only middle-aged, is also a more difficult task than pruned bushes.

But if we had our way, every tea would be like this. The deeper roots and more concentrated yield produce a tea richer in fragrance and flavour than typical plantation productions in this price range. And of course, all this without the presence of any pesticides or harmful substances.

In previous years (2017-2018) we tested this tea against the EU Maximum Residue Limit (MRL) of 191 and 440+ pesticides, both passing with ease. Although this particular year’s tea has not been tested, the tea is from the same land and our confidence in this tea and relationship with the farmer remains strong. If you would like a copy of the lab results for previous years, please contact us.

This year’s wrapper features artwork by Mexico City based artist Lourdes Villagomez. You can find more of her beautiful work on her site and on Instagram, as well as in her shop here and on Instagram.

Picking period: 1st and 2nd flush, pre-March 28


Many of our samples for spring 2021 are in dragon ball form. While these balls will perform the same as the cake, they can be slightly trickier to brew. Here’s how we do it:

Additional information

Weight N/A
Dimensions 16 × 16 × 1 cm

9 reviews for Year of the Bull 2021 Yiwu Raw Puer

  1. 5 out of 5


    Dry leaf smells of paper, dry grass. Placed in a warm gaiwan there’s a lingering aroma of pears and honey under the typical sweet Yiwu fragrance.
    Wet leaf smells strongly of mangosteen and pineapples; a little sour but pleasant. First couple of steeps are a little drying but plenty going on already, tropical fruits and subtle sweetness between cups. As the tea opens up the fruit is backed up by notes of short pastry and sticky date sweetness with very little bitterness. Mouthfeel remains slightly astringent without becoming overly dry. Even when pushed in further steeps the bitterness remains low.
    Body feeling is pleasant and not pulled in either direction. Great candidate for an engaging daily drinker; especially for the price point. Pick this up if you’re after a tea with great fragrance and aroma!

  2. 5 out of 5

    skfrke (verified owner)

    This tea has just about become my daily drinker. Throughout the day, I get cravings and dream of the taste of this tea on my tongue…

  3. 4 out of 5

    Togo (verified owner)

    The tea is on the green side with a bit of a jade oolong profile.

    The aroma is savoury with notes of fried greens and nettle. It has a astringent, light to medium bodied, liquor with floral bitterness and flavours of green vegetables and dry grass. Really, the tea is quite bitter and drying, reminiscent of unripe fruit.

    The aftertaste, however, is long-lasting and fragrant with a nice tartness and a fruity sweetness that emerges after a while.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Martin Ödman

    Solid, cheap, clean and easy to drink. Sweet, gentle green tea-ish type of sheng. The kind of young sheng you’d brew for a skeptic that you’d want to gently drag with you into the abyss of young sheng drinking, and I say that as a positive thing. Trying this gives you an idea what to expect from the whole lower tier of the 2021 sheng lineup but it only gets better the more you pay per gram (which makes sense). For me personally, paying a bit more for Plum Beauty is the sweet spot but the value you get from a cake or tong of this is great. I find it hard to choose between 4 and 5 stars in general, because while I might find a tea lacking in some aspects, the price always reflects these shortcomings when it comes to Bitterleaf teas.

  5. 4 out of 5

    grateful.tea.d (verified owner)

    Year of the Bull is a nice, gentle, and green Yiwu. It’s an easy sipper now with lots of potential for aging. Right in line with the previous two iterations–Year of the Rat, and Year of the Dog–both of which have aged gracefully. Quite happy to have a cake of this to work on over the next 1-2 years. A no-brainer for the price.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Josh (verified owner)

    Soft and gentle sweetness that hits a few green and almost floral notes. An interesting tart and bready aroma there as well. A bit of astringency develops over infusions, but it’s not unpleasant – in general it’s a subtle and soothing tea. And it’s always fun watching the dark dry leaf spring into hay-greens and yellows with each steep.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Carlos Simeão Balbino Garcia (verified owner)

    Um ótimo puer, fresco, verde e doce, o amargor vai aumentando ao longo das infusões. é um chá que nos deixa completamente tea drunk, recomendo

  8. 5 out of 5

    Carlos Simeão Balbino Garcia (verified owner)

    A great puer, fresh, green and sweet, the bitterness increases throughout the infusions. is a tea that leaves us completely tea drunk, I recommend

  9. 4 out of 5

    Alexandra Verville-Paris (verified owner)

    A summer joy to its simplest. This tea is great when drank hot but surprisingly refreshing when cold brewed. The cloudiness of the liquor is visible even when the cup is opaque. Its thickness makes the whole mouth react with saliva. The sensation is pretty sweet, creamy and astringent. The long herbs/dry hay taste is lovely.

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