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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 rustic Sun-Dried Qianjiazhai Black Tea from Mt. Ailao in Yunnan. 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: 

 

Autumn Laoshan Black (25g)

The new 2019 Autumn harvest is here! This relatively new tea is fed by sweet mountain spring water and oxidized in the sun for three days before finishing to bring out signature chocolate notes. Mr. He perfected this tea as a proud reflection of the bold Shandong spirit and the perseverance of Laoshan Village. Laoshan Black is a labor of love to prove to the world how wonderful teas from Northern China can be. The cold weather, and pure mountain springs come together for a microclimate that yields some of the sweetest and most chocolatey black tea in China with a unique and distinctly northern flavor. This year in particular, dry and mild weather leading up to autumn in has yielded the sweetest picking in years, but a tiny yield due to reduced rainfall. The He family produced less than half of what they usually would this year.

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2019 Old Tree Wuyi Gongfu Black (25g)

The Li family’s position as community leaders and environmental stewards gives them the special privilege to pick from an old wild grove of tea trees, including the wildly propagated Xingcun Xiaozhong used to make the most oldest style of black tea in the world. Wuyishan is home to the first black tea ever made, and indeed, many of the living trees in the Li Family’s small grove are over 100 years old. This handful of special trees yield tea with a stunning complexity and commending textural sensation. The deep roots pick up huge volcanic minerality, while the mossy wild environment encourages the tea to put out tons of polyphenols, meaning bigger flavor and aroma. The result is a tea so commanding that Li Xiangxi will readily admit that it is her personal favorite tea to drink daily in the family’s whole collection. This tea is lovingly finished at the family workshop in the Tongmu protected region using sun roasting for oxidation and careful hand firing for the roast.

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2019 Jin Jun Mei (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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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 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. A true standout!

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Shi Feng Dragonwell Black Tea (25g)

For the third year in a row, Li Xiaoping is excited to be sharing her family’s 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 Ming Qian 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.

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