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.
For a few extraordinary weeks at the beginning of autumn, every wild tea tree in Qianjiazhai puts out deeply aromatic golden blossoms. In recent years the Dongsa Cooperative, led by Master Zhou, has experimented with picking small amounts of the rich evocative tea flowers to blend with their wild-picked ancient-tree teas.
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. Combine this standout with wild-foraged tea flowers and you get a stunningly sweet black tea with unprecedented textural depth.