The Qianjiazhai Dongsa Cooperative was established to be a steward to the oldest tea forest in the world, wild-foraging and hand-finishing every leaf using traditional craft.
The black tea used to make these dragon pearls is unique. While most black tea is batch-oxidized by machine and then finished with a roasting process, this tea is layered in bamboo baskets in the sun and allowed to slowly and naturally oxidize, which gives the tea more complexity. When the tea is fully oxidized, the Li family spreads it out thin and allows it to dry in the sun without added heat. This lets the true wild flavor of the region come through and allows the tea to continue aging after production. This 2017 dragon pearl pressing preserves rich spiced nutmeg flavors, while balancing the apricot notes of the looseleaf version with malty undertones and berry flavors. Overall, the steaming and shaping makes for a fuller-bodied tea that is beautiful to watch slowly unfurl in a teapot or gaiwan.