Wild Tongmu Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong is picked one young leaf at a time, entirely by hand, and entirely by native residents living Tongmu. The tea plants are wildly propagated by seed and left untended. This natural selection creates genetic variation and diversity between each standalone tea bush. Each bush grows between one and three meters high, out of cracks in the volcanic rock of the Tongmu mountains.
The region of Tongmu is unique within the Wuyishan region for its volcanic rock formations, and extremely thick vegetation coverage and biodiversity. Nestled along either bank upstream of the Jiuqu (Nine Bends) Brook, the mountains create a unique microclimate, perfect for many species of birds and a healthy ecosystem. Mountain spring water springs out of the ground and runs down every slope, and the rocky land and cold weather make for slow-growing but singularly incredible tea.
The Li Family finished this wild-picked Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong is traditionally, but leaves it unsmoked. The smokeless finish emphasizes the sweet and fruity nature of the twisted young leaves, with a beautiful mineral texture with a hint of moss and spicy wood that is unique to their beautiful unmanaged slopes in Tongmu.
We are so excited for the chance to share a black tea picked and finished in the same place as the earliest black teas ever. Brewing this tea – especially alongside the Li Family’s other Tongmu harvests – reveal what makes the region’s terroir so special.
The initial aroma of this tea immediately reveals the biggest difference: a thick creamy sweetness that is missing in other classic Wuyi Black teas. Tongmu’s soil and water add an intense textural dimension worth savoring. You smell thick rising bread and deep aromatic wood. The first steepings are full of the mossy old, tree flavor we love in Old Tree Wuyi Gongfu Black, but rounded out with something fresh and vibrant.
As the tea continues to steep out, it will begin to reveal a rich and satisfying nutmeg spice and a fruity apricot flavor. The texture and balance of this tea makes it more like tasting an oolong or even a sheng pu’er than a traditional black tea! Highly recommended to Wuyi black tea lovers of all sorts.