With notes of chocolate, toasted barley and subtle florals, this innovative fall harvest from the He family transcends the boundaries between black tea and roasted oolong to new levels of complexity . . .
Mr. He is extremely proud of his oxidized teas. He is the only farmer in the whole village of Laoshan who has mastered the art of creating the rich malt chocolate flavor that the tea can yield. He is able to produce such incredible tea because of the labor he puts into the process. In addition to meticulous chemical-free farming and hand picking before dawn, Mr. He adds the traditional three day sun roasting oxidation to this tea for a truly full body. Next, he sets aside a full eight hour day of hand-tossing the leaves over extremely low heat to create the enzymatic reaction that defines oolong.
The full four day process from picking to finishing that created this fresh batch of less than fifty pounds is well worth it. The He family first made this tea in the spring of 2013, and this fresh harvest is a beautiful continuation of a new tradition.
Mr. He speaks about his commitment to organic farming
The aroma is surprisingly evocative of Wuyi teas, with the malt of a Wuyi Gongfu Black and the roast of a Big Red Robe. The chocolate is well balanced and subdued by a beautiful minerality that is true to the rocky soil and mountain springs of Laoshan.
The early steepings are full of subtle oolong-like orchid flavors to accent the mineral note sand persistent aftertaste of dried cherry and lychee fruit.
As the tea continues steeping, a rich creamy body balances out the minerality for a dessert like experience of vanilla whipped cream and chocolate pudding. Even as the tea becomes sweeter, the complexity of the tea holds strong as spicy undertones of sandalwood permeate the aroma.
This lovely cross-genre tea gets deeper and more beautiful every year. It takes the satisfying and comforting qualities of Laoshan Black and combines them with the fascinating nuance and balance of roasted Wuyi Oolong. It is no wonder that this quickly becoming one of Mr. He’s favorite teas he produces.
Date of Picking:April 20th, 2015
Location of Picking:Ocean-facing slope of Laoshan Mountain in Laoshan Village, Shandong Province He Family Farm 15-20 acre plot fed by the mountain spring running down from the rock face of Laoshan.
What Was Picked:Young leaf material with buds
Quantity Acquired:15 lbs
Sourcing Agent(s):Mr. He of Laoshan Village hand selected this batch of leaves as an ideal picking to show off the best his cooperative can offer.
If possible, use filtered or spring water, freshly boiled.
Western Brewing: Use 4g of tea (1T) in 6-8oz of fresh-boiled (205°F) filtered or spring water. Steep for 30 seconds in a brew basket or equivalent. Enjoy many infusions. Add 10-15 seconds with each steeping, or to taste.
Gongfu Brewing: Use 5g of leaves for a medium gaiwan or yixing pot. Heat the gaiwan or pot with boiling water and pour out. Add leaves, rinse leaves with boiling water for less than a second. Use this steeping to heat cups and pour over yixing. Steep each round for 2-3 seconds, increasing time by 3 seconds each steeping after the third steeping. Enjoy at least 15 infusions.
Iced Tea (Cold Brewing)
Use about 4 grams of tea for every 12oz of water. Combine with room temperature water in a covered vessel and refrigerate for 8-12 hours. Enjoy!
Iced Tea (Flash Chilled)
Use 1TB (5 grams) of tea in a 6-8oz vessel. Steep for 30 seconds with filtered boiled water. Fill a martini shaker (or equivalent) with ice, then add brewed tea and shake until well-chilled (usually 10-30 seconds). Pour out through martini-shaker top over fresh ice in a new glass and serve.
Making Laoshan Oolong Tea
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