This is the first year this tea has ever 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.
For the fifth year in a row, Li Xiaoping is sharing her new Dragonwell Black Tea! She uses the same delicate early buds as her famous green tea, hand-picked from the slopes of Shi Feng, raised on sweet mountain spring water and covered in high elevation mist to protect against sunlight. After light twisting and rolling, this sweet, rich and distinctly mineral-laden tea is then set out in bamboo baskets and loosely covered for ten to fifteen hours and allowed to oxidize in the afternoon heat. This oxidation process brings out savory malty flavors in Li Xiaoping’s Dragonwell that show the unique texture of the region in a completely different light.
This black tea sampler includes five 25g loose leaf black tea bags picked, finished and packed on small family farms that make some of the best teas in the world, 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.
This special sampler features four 25g bags of golden buddy looseleaf tea. 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 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 incredibly 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. The loose Maocha is lightly steamed and then meticulously rolled and shaped one pearl at a time by Master Zhou without the use of molds or machinery to preserve the delicate complexity of the tea.
This year is the fourth fantastic harvest of the He Family's new osmanthus-scented black tea. Once again, the He Family is sharing a rich reserve-level Autumn Harvest Laoshan Black, scented during finishing with tiny hand-picked Laoshan Osmanthus flowers. The brown sugar, honey and fruity chocolate notes are melded together perfectly with the luscious almost creamy floral of the He Family’s meticulously hand-harvested Osmanthus blossoms. This tea is one of the hardest to make in the He Family collection since the local osmanthus blossoms are so small that they have to pick thousands just to make tiny batch of finished tea, but the results are worth the effort.
Wuyishan Black Tea
the original black tea, grown on a biodiverse mountain & hand finished
Laoshan Black Tea
cold-climate Chinese black tea shaded by ocean mist and fed by spring water
Hand-Twisted Craft Black Tea. First flat-pressed, then hand twisted, Laoshan Gongfu Black is a difficult finish favored by the He Family to bring out sparkling minerality in their tea. This spring tea has notes of rose, caramel flan and tropical citrus.
True Competition-Level Black Tea from Laoshan. This is the earliest, sweetest, most delicate harvest of the year, meticulously hand-rolled and twisted in the style of high-end Wuyi tea. The "gongfu" finish brings out notes of nutmeg, brown sugar, and fine dark chocolate.