This season's Imperial Red was grown in the WuYi Mountains. It is a handmade black, using oolong stock it cups to rich red color and lush sweet notes characteristic of black teas from this famous area. The leaves are a dark brown color, thin and twisted with just a smattering of gold. This style of black is not typically made for export. The leaves are roasted over charcoal fires in bamboo baskets. In the last 4 years, there have been no offerings that matched the flavors our customers had come to enjoy. This year, we found a small lot that we are proud to offer. As an artisanal tea should, this year's offering is different from prior years yet will bring new aromas and flavors reminiscent of years past to your cup.
The leaves offer a very pleasing aroma, with just a hint of charcoal from the firing process. The craftsmanship in handling the leaf and processing is evidenced by the tea's appearance - the leaves are long and consistent with little breakage. In steeping, the aroma is fruity and fresh. This lot is complex - offering soft sweet flavors, hints of cocoa and a bit of molasses. Note the distinctive clear, russet-brown cup color reflecting the skill of the tea maker in oxidizing the leaves. The finish is clean and lingers soft and sweet. Made April 2019. Lot #1.
This Oolong varietal is known as a Ming Yan tea as it is grown within the WuYi Shan area. Given the elevation of the farm, the leaves of these Oolongs are dormant in the winter. This lot was fired over wood charcoal accentuating the aroma of the leaf. It is made from a comparatively early pluck reflecting the tea maker's decision to capture a more fruity, sweet flavor. This tea will steep multiple times.
This tea is complex and multi-layered in flavor and aroma. The first steep is brisk with sweet flowery notes being evident. While the flavor is generally fruity, we found tastes of molasses as well, with some maltiness. The second steep brought out more of the earthy side of the tea and its malty note. The finish is quite strong and lingers long after cupping. The aftertaste is very pleasant, sweet and clean. The mouth is enlivened with flavor.
Use a round tablespoon or about 3-4 grams for 8-12 ounces of water at a temperature of just below or at boiling. Rinse the leaves to awaken them. We suggest a steep of two minutes to experience the variety of flavors offered. Longer steeps of 3 + minutes will give more body to the cup. Leaves will steep multiple times.