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The He Family were some of the first to plant tea in Laoshan, one of China’s newest and northernmost tea growing regions. Laoshan is a mountain village on the ocean, subject to cold winters that give the tea a flavor unlike any other on earth. Mr. He has established a cooperative to promote his award-winning vision for sustainable beyond-organic agriculture and rigorous technically demanding craft.
This collection represents the most classic and iconically representative teas the He Family produces. It is an invitation from Mr. he, Qingqing and the whole family to get to know their passion and their unwavering commitment to make Laoshan one of the most famous tea regions in China. You’s get to taste Laoshan Green, the first tea they ever mastered, along with newer styles such as the wildly-popular Laoshan Black and Special Grade Laoshan Gongfu Black, the new and exciting Reserve Laoshan Green Oolong, and even mountain-foraged Gan Zao Ye, finished using green tea techniques.
While every tea in the collection represents a tremendous diversity of flavor, the whole collection circles around the iconic rich malty soybean profile of the region and the rocky texture of the mountain soil.
This tea is the earliest curled Laoshan Black from the He Family of 2020 – carefully crafted with hand-picked buds underneath the protection of the greenhouses, then oxidized slowly to bring out sweet, chocolatey flavor. The He Family is offering this early Laoshan Black harvest to show off the wonderful flavor that their craft in roasting and oxidizing brings to tiny budset Laoshan tea. The stored sugar and nutrients of the earliest Da Tian pickings has more sweetness and lingering aftertaste than later harvests. This year’s beautifull spring came together for a harvest full of delicate flavor.
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A mild winter and cool spring has made for a stunning early harvest of delicate buds and leaves from the He Family’s ocean-facing plot at the foot of the Laoshan mountains. These sweet delicate buds are fed by limestone-filtered mountain spring water and shaded by mist. The reserve Da Tian harvest is picked shortly after the winter greenhouse coverings are removed when the leaves are still sweet and packed with deep minerality.
Laoshan Green Oolong takes the beautiful mineral-forward green bean profile of Laoshan Green and gives it an astounding depth and complexity through meticulous labor intensive craftsmanship. Mr. He starts with sweet rich fresh leaves, then kneads and shakes the leaves to bring out rich florals and fruity undertones. Heat locks in the green quality of this tea before it can oxidize, yielding a fresh pure and honest expression of the unique flavor of the region. This special reserve harvest was made from some of the first spring harvests after the winter green houses were removed in 2020.
This is the highest grade Laoshan Black tea that the He Family produced in 2020. Laoshan Gongfu Black is one of the most difficult finishes for the He Family, requiring flat-pressing and hand-twisting and curling to achieve the final shape and finish. Mr. He saves this technique for his finest spring harvests, and this year, the He Family has reserve a small harvest of a very special grade of Laoshan Gongfu Black, picked as soon as the green house coverings were removed this year.
Gan Zao Ye is wild-foraged Laoshan Jujube leaf, hand picked and carefully hand finished using the painstaking withering, fixing, curling and drying process that the He family reserves for their early spring Laoshan Green. The classic spring harvest is sweet and creamy, with a delicious hint of toasted rice or barley. This herbal tisane is naturally caffeine-free.
Our farm sits at sea level, protected from the sun by the ocean mist
that rolls up the slopes of the steep Laoshan mountainsides. Our parents began
cultivating tea in this village sixty years ago and started the right way with
organic farming & respect for the ecosystem of our Taoist holy mountain.
We hand pick every leaf and hand-finish our tea in small batches.
We hope you’ll taste for yourself to understand what makes our family’s tea
from the northernmost tea region in China so unique.”
He Changke is a proud 2nd generation tea farmer.
His father was one of the first people to plant tea in the village outside of the Taoist monastery, pioneering organic farming with a vision of making Laoshan the most famous tea microclimate in China. Mr. He is passing on his father’s work to his daughter He Qingqing, co-owner of importer Verdant Tea.
Qingqing and her parents have worked together to not only improve the craft of the region, but invent entirely new tea types to bring fame to Laoshan and raise up their village.
The He Family hopes that tea will be the path to better living for the whole region, and believe a healthy tea industry in Laoshan is the best way to champion environmental protection for Laoshan National Park.
In the south, mild climates mean easier seasons. Here in the north, we rebuild greenhouses every winter, cut back every summer, and grow soybeans between tea fields as a way to distract insects and to mulch and return nitrates to our soil.
When picking season arrives, we have a short window of perfect weather to hand pick every tender bud .
We hand-finish every leaf in our family workshop. Every 100g of finished tea takes more than a pound of fresh picked leaves. Many of our teas take over 16 hours of craft to get from fresh leaves to finished tea.
We take no shortcuts in our craft because we believe that Laoshan unique climate can produce some of the best teas in the world.
Many importers claim to source from small family farms, but are they actually sharing the stories, values, and point of view of the farmers?
Don’t settle for tea of questionable origins. See the people behind the tea and hear the real stories. The He Family and Verdant Tea have been working together for almost a decade. Here are just two videos from our time together: