Verdant Tea

Liquid Gold: Tasting through China's Golden Buds Black Teas

Liquid Gold: Tasting through China's Golden Buds Black Teas

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

There is nothing like tender downy tea buds, hand-picked in cool early-season weather and hand finished by passionate small family growers. Buds have a unique flavor, and an intense sweetness from the stored sugars and the extremely limited sun exposure. In traditionally crafted black tea this flavor translates to honey, sweet potato, toasty bread, and other rich deep caramelized notes with a thick commanding texture.

This tasting kit is an exploration of all the ways buds bring flavor and texture to tea from three different regions and three different farmers dedicated to sustainable farming and meticulous craft.

This bundle includes four 25g bags of black tea for 100g total (20 sessions).

There is nothing like tender downy tea buds, hand-picked in cool early-season weather and hand finished by passionate small family growers. Buds have a unique flavor, and an intense sweetness from the stored sugars and the extremely limited sun exposure. In traditionally crafted black tea this flavor translates to honey, sweet potato, toasty bread, and other rich deep caramelized notes with a thick commanding texture.

This tasting kit is an exploration of all the ways buds bring flavor and texture to tea from different regions and different farmers dedicated to sustainable farming and meticulous craft.

 Taste & compare buddy black teas: 

2022 Qianjiazhai Hand Fired Black Dragon Pearls (25g)

While the Li Family uses sun drying to bring out rich texture and spice in their sun dried black tea, they have recently started experimenting with a light roasting process, done entirely by hand over a special wood-fired wok. This brings out much sweeter flavors in the black tea. This Dragon Pearl is made with the Li Family's hand fired black tea, closer to a traditional Dian Hong than their Sun Dried Black tea, with savory notes of honey, walnut, fig and a warming hint of cinnamon and tulsi spice.

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Jin Jun Mei Black Tea (25g)

Jin Jun Mei Wuyi black tea is one of the most labor intensive and demanding teas to produce. Fine Jin Jun Mei is made exclusively from tiny spring buds, and requires thousands and thousands of hand-picked golden buds to make a single pound of finished tea. The result is a downy tea with a thick full texture, and a beautiful elegance. Li Xiangxi's spring-fed tea grows out of rocky, sandy soil, yielding a rich mineral flavor true to Wuyishan's unique terroir.

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Yu Lu Yan Cha (25g)

This unique offering from Wang Yanxin is only possible because of her deep connections in both Henan and Laoshan. Her farmer friends produce extremely tiny bud Xinyang Maojian, a fine downy showstopper of a green tea. The second picking of the year is still all delicate downy buds, but tradition dictates only the first harvest is used for Henan's iconic buddy green tea. Wang Yanxin works to rush-ship fresh tea leaves the day they are picked from Henan all the way up to Laoshan Village, where they are allowed to traditionally oxidize in the sun to make a black tea, and then finished using Laoshan's extremely honed-in roasting and finishing techniques to combine the buddy steamed bun texture of Jin Jun Mei with the chocolatey goodness of Laoshan Black. This cross-province collaboration continues to prove that the world of tea is still full of innovators, pushing the boundaries of tradition.

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Mei Zhan Jin Wuyi Black Tea (25g)

Mei Zhan varietal is famous for its rich and focused fruit-forward oolong made from long skinny spring leaves. Recently, Mr. Li has been experimenting with a stand of his family’s iconic Mei Zhan in early spring when the plant puts out huge buds that are too delicate to withstand oolong processing. He personally leads the hand-picking of the Li Family Mei Zhan buds and brings them to the family home and workshop in Tongmu for Jin Jun Mei meticulous black tea hand-finishing. The slow oxidation in bamboo baskets brings out big savory notes and sweet rich honey and cream.

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Tieguanyin Jin Jun Mei (25g)

While Tieguanyin Xiaozhong uses smaller leaves for a traditional black tea, the Liu Family'a Tieguanyin Jin Jun Mei uses large Tieguanyin buds, orange with down, for a unique and particularly uncommon offering. This is a chance to taste the rich, sweet and savory flavor of bud material in the naturally floral Tieguanyin varietal. This tea is a clear demonstration that farmers like the Liu Family are not tied by tradition to only make what is currently accepted with the varietals they grow.

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Yunnan Golden Jasmine (25g)

This spring harvest pre-Qing Ming white tea is traditionally scented and made with Da Bai varietal white tea. This white tea is not sprayed with artificial oils or aromas. Instead, it is dried together with fresh jasmine blossoms scattered among the buds, allowing the natural aroma of the jasmine to absorb over several days into the tea itself. The process of adding fresh wild Yunnan jasmine blossoms is repeated six times over six days to get a full rich and creamy infusion that holds its intense sweetness and natural potency over many steepings. The creamy dessert-like Yunnan silver needle white tea is the perfect delicate pairing with Lincang's local luscious jasmine.

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2022 Golden Fleece (25g)

This spring harvest Golden Fleece gets its name to honor the soft, rich textural experience of tasting this beautiful small harvest tea. Golden Fleece is hand picked from wild growth (unmanaged) Yunnan Da Bai tea bushes over forty years old. The biodiversity of the growing region and deeper roots mean a more complex flavor and aroma. Only the most perfect large tender buds are hand-harvested, and carefully hand-finished. The down from the buds infuses into every cup, yielding a uniquely thick mouthfeel. This year's harvest is full and complex with cooling cedar, and spiced nutmeg and cinnamon undertones to bolster the luxurious creamy base.

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Zhu Rong (25g)

Lady Zhu Rong was a legendary dagger-wielding warrior-queen of Yunnan descended from a god of fire. The toasty-savory spice and sweet, creamy boxy of this Yunnan black tea evoke the kingdom of Dian, an independent state before it was conquered by China and renamed Yunnan. Dian Hong is a relatively new kind of tea introduced in the 80's that has recently taken China by storm for its full body and depth of flavor that comes from its signature downy buds. While budset black teas from Fujian tend to be very crisp, Yunnan golden bud harvests like this Zhu Rong are much bigger and creamier.

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