"This is the legendary smoked black tea Zheng Shan XIao Zhong 正山小种. It hails from Tong Mu, on Wuyi Mountain. It is the oldest black tea, making Mt. Wuyi the origin point for both oolong and black teas. This tea is unique in that it is smoked over pine wood. It was developed when, scared away by approaching militia, Ming-dynasty tea farmers fled and left their tea harvest on the trail. The soldiers made camp on the soft piles of leaves, and by the time the farmers returned in the morning, the leaves had oxidized. In order to cut their losses, they dried the “ruined” tea over open pine fires instead of wasting expensive charcoal. The dark, smoky character was completely new and immediately popular, giving rise to the 600 year tradition of curing zhengshan xiaozhong with smoke. Our xiaozhong is produced using traditional methods in Tong Mu itself, now a UNESCO world heritage site. It is cured in a 3-story wooden smokehouse in a process that takes 2 months from picking to finished leaf, overseen by Master Chen Shui Man. Its flavor is deep, clean, and evocative, with a unique pine character, smoky fragrance, and rich, malty sweetness that persists for 7-9 steepings. "
Descriptions coming soon...
Chuan Hong or “River Red” the chinese name is a short for of Sichuan Hongcha, meaning red tea from Sichuan province. The name of Sichuan means four rivers. It is produced by tea master Heng Yi of Mabian county. Heng Yi works primarily with feral tea plants that have been growing on his ancestral land since the mid 20th century and possibly earlier. Heng Yi started his career in tea by producing green tea from these feral plants which is traditional in the region, however, his interest in other types of tea has led him to study the techniques for making white, yellow, and red (“black”) tea from these same feral plants. He learned his black tea processing technique from a female tea master from Wuyi in Fujian who processes Jin Jun Mei, a very fine and famous black tea. Black tea processing is the most divergent from the traditional green tea process that Heng Yi’s career is based in and so for many years Heng Yi referred to River Red as his “experiment”. The result of his efforts is a roasted burnt sugar sweet, tawny colored black tea with strong hints of cacao and jamaican pipe tobacco. Sourcing leaves from feral plants provides a calm, stable, uplifting qi characteristic of our other mabian teas.