2023 Qianjiazhai Hand Fired Black
2023 Qianjiazhai Hand Fired Black
Crafted by the Dongsa Cooperative
- DATE OF PICKINGSpring 2023
- QianjiazhaiMt. Ailao, Yunnan
- ELEVATION2140 m
- Qianjiazhai AssamicaTea Varietal
The Dongsa cooperative wild-forages the leaves for their hand-fired black tea from trees well over one hundred years old, growing on the cool high elevation slopes of the Ailao National Forest Preserve. The biodiversity and well established root stock makes for deeply nuanced and complex tea, normally reserve for pressing and aging as sheng pu’er. This experimental offering is a new project by the cooperative to hand fire over low heat in a wok for a more classic Dian Hong style. 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.
- savory - steamed bun, brown sugar
- fruit - currant, goji
- spice - redwood, bamboo
- floral - jasmine
- texture - velvety, rich
the Dongsa Cooperative also recommends:
- 2014 Loose Gong Ting Shu
Qianjiazhai Gong Ting Shu Pu'er is still a very new practice, made only by one of Master Zhou's students in the cooperative. Using the giant buds of Qianjiazhai's wild trees between 100 and three hundred years of age, this tea is carefully and slowly pile fermented to bring out a deep rich sweetness unlike any other shu pu'er out there. Master Zhou was so excited by this experiment he is sharing the technique across the cooperative and encourage more members to keep developing the craft.
- 2023 Qianjiazhai Sun Dried Black TeaThis 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!
- Qianjiazhai Gu Hua Sun Dried Black
This is just the second year this tea has been made. The Gu Hua harvest is an early autumn picking possible only in the cool high elevation mountaintops of Qianjiazhai, favored by Master Zhou for its fruity, rich flavor. In years past, this has been used exclusively for sheng pu’er. This year, a small portion was set aside to sun-oxidize as a black tea. The results are stunning! It has all the juicy flavor of the sheng pu’er but with creamy nutty depth only possible in a black tea.
'While Mr. Zhou is a recognized teacher of tea craft (and 4th grade cursive) in Qianjiazhai, we had the privilige to actually meet one of his own teachers, a kind but formidable woman in her mid-nineties who has mastered two distinct techniques for making Qianjiazhai’s uniquely complex and nuanced black tea'
oz.use 208° watersteep 20 secondsresteep many times
add 10 sec. each infusion
Gongfu5 g.6 ozuse 208° watersteep 6 seconds
add 3 sec. per steepingenjoy many steepings
oz.use room temp. waterrefrigerate overnight
8 hoursadd ice & enjoy