Verdant Tea

An Introduction to Craft Black Tea

An Introduction to Craft Black Tea

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This bundle includes five 25g bags of craft black tea for 125g total (25 sessions).

The finest black teas in the world come from small family farms run with the sustainability and beyond-organic practices that can only come from one generation tending land that they will pass down to their children. The rich deep complexity of the finest black teas comes from stringent picking standards for the ideal tender bud and leaf mix, and from slow careful oxidation to bring out more nuance in small batches.

This tasting kit is an introduction to the incredible diversity of flavor that our partners offer with their black teas from malty chocolate-driven Laoshan Black from the north of China to traditional and complex Wuyi black teas. Through craft, varietal, and microclimate, our farmer-partners are proud to represent the best that China has to offer.

An Introduction to Craft Black teas: 

Qianjiazhai Sun Dried Black Tea (25g)

This tea is wild-foraged by the Li Family of the Dongsa Cooperative within the Mt Ailao National Forest Preserve. The silvery buds and twisting golden leaves are picked from ancient tea trees between one hundred and eight hundred years old scattered between other evergreens, and wildflowers on the rocky mountainside. This labor-intensive tea to harvest is actually allowed to sun-roast and oxidize without applying heat in a wok. Because more moisture is retained in the leaf, this black tea is a fantastic candidate for aging like traditional sheng pu’er. Only a high-elevation remote place like Qianjiazhai can count on enough sunlight in the spring for this old but rare finishing technique. The result is a tea with the sweet malt of a black tea but the staggering complexity and herbaceous undertones of a sheng pu’er. A true standout!

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Hand Fired Qianjiazhai Black Tea (25g)

Master Zhou is still experimenting with other farmers in Qianjiazhai to produce new black tea offerings each year. The cooperative started with simple oxidized and sun dried black tea without any processing. Recently they have begun experimenting with wok-roasted hand finished black tea. The application of heat makes this more closely related to other Yunnan Black, and indeed it shares a rich sweet potato thickness similar to our Yunnan Golden Fleece, but with Qianjiazhai’s signature tulsi complexity and touches of citrus, and florals. Anybody who loves black tea will love this wild complex black tea offering from the Dongsa Cooperative.

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Wuyi Gongfu Black (25g)

Li Xiangxi works with her brother and cousins in the Wuyi Ecological Preserve to harvest this propagated-from-seed Xiaozhong varietal leaf and process it using traditional heap oxidization techniques and curling to bring out the tea’s natural complexity. Grown on a hillside in a ravine that collects a pocket of natural mist all morning, the tea buds slowly, yielding an incredibly sweet brew. The tea picks up mineral texture from the rocky volcanic soil and the natural spring water running through the Li Family’s plot. Deeper complexity comes from the natural genetic variation of allowing their Xiaozhong tea to grow from seed instead of cuttings, creating a rich multi-layered taste experience.

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Laoshan Gongfu Black (25g)

Laoshan Gongfu Black is one of the most difficult finishes for the He Family, requiring flat-pressing and hand-twisting and curling to achieve the final shape and finish. Mr. He saves this technique for his finest spring harvests, and this year we've been able to secure more of this spring's beautiful Gongfu Black with creamy honey-packed flavor and delicious "dessert" aromatics paired with a mineral aftertaste.

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Wild Tongmu Unsmoked Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong (25g)

This special offering Wild Tongmu Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong is picked one young leaf at a time, entirely by hand. The tea plants are wildly propagated by seed and left untended. This natural selection creates genetic variation and diversity between each standalone tea bush. Each bush grows between one and three meters high, out of cracks in the volcanic rock of the Tongmu mountains. The result is beautiful long twisted leaves packed with textural complexity and minerality.

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