This tea is made from the leaves of the Zi Juan “purple grace” varietal of the pu-er tea plant. Prized for its exquisite color, medicinal qualities and powerful, euphoric qi, this tea takes on a warm and sensual dimension when oxidized in the style of Raw Black. This tea has a musky aroma with notes of fresh red grape skin and a sweet and refreshing flavor reminiscent of dark berries and plum.
"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. "
This tea is made from the big leaf varietal of the Yunnan tea plant that is used to make Pu-Er. It differs in process from pu-er and most process of black tea in that it is never cooked. Instead the fresh leaves are rolled and massaged, breaking the cell walls and releasing the enzyme polyphenol oxidase which catalyzes the oxidation of the leaves. The tea leaves are massaged between one and 3 times over the course of the day and left in the shade to rest inbetween.by nightfall the green leaves have turned brick red. The oxidation gives the tea its refreshingly light astringency and its deep, sweet woody character. This 10-year-aged version of our classic sun-dried Yunnan black has a deep, dark character due to its age with a mossy flavor and a pronounced fruity Hui Gan, or aftertaste.
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.