2020 leaf plucked from 2000 meter elevation trees on Ai Lao Mountain. The leaf composition is a perfect blend of expertly plucked tips and larger leaves with very little breakage in the processing. The result is a smooth, well-rounded tea with notes of apricot, sweet hay and melon seed. These cakes can be broken up and enjoyed now, or stock op on a bamboo-wrapped tong and age it!
Plus a bonus: This year our dear friend, Amber von Nagel illustrated the wrapper for us! And extra points if you can find the typo on the wrapper ;)
Origin: Simao, China
Our top grade sencha from Kirishima. This tea is from the Asatsuyu cultivar of tea and has earned the nickname of "Natural Gyokuro" for good reasons. Although it is not shade-grown, it has a vivid green liquor and deep umami characteristic that is typically associated with gyokuros. The farm it is grown on is completely self-contained, bio-dynamic and the oldest tea farm in the region. The aroma of the dry leaves is compelling and rich and only grows as it is steamed. The resulting tea is out of this world and a gift to any sencha-lover.
Harvest: Spring 2020
Note: Due to closures of international shipping avenues during the COVID-19 crisis, we had to use alternative shipping methods this year. Unfortunately this has resulted in a substantial cost increase for us and we have had to increase our prices accordingly.
One of our most popular teas! The leaves of the Black Honey Oolong are gorgeous, curled, first-flush tips from the Luye township in Southern Taiwan. The aroma of the dry leaves is so sweet and intoxicating, but nothing compared to the steeped honey-like fragrance and flavor. This tea is grown on a single organic farm run by a woman and her son. The region is home to a type of bug called the leaf hopper, which bites the tea plants and sucks the nectar from the leaves, causing the fermentation process to begin while the leaves are still on the plants. When these leaves are plucked and oxidized, the result is a naturally honey-like sweetness within the leaf. Several other growing regions try to replicate this process, but this is where is occurs naturally.
Harvest: Spring 2020
Origin: Luye, Taiwan
We have two types of ceremonial-grade matcha. Shohaku is best for making Usucha, (thin tea) while Kinrin is even smoother and can be used for Koicha (thich tea) or Usucha.
Shohaku is a great everyday matcha that is excellent prepared traditionally and still has a slight tannin characteristic so it won't get lost if you add it to a latte or smoothie. The color is vivid green with a deep seaweed-like base and bright grassy finish.
The Kinrin is a velvety-smooth matcha with robust umami flavor and offers rich notes of steamed kombu and a light sweetness. To prepare this as Koicha, use three times as much tea with less water and whisk with a chasen at least 200 times!
Both of our matcha offerings are produced and stone-ground by Marukyu Koyamaen, a family tea business that has been growing and producing tea in Uji for over 300 years.
Sri Lankans, for over 150 years, have grown this first flush Ceylon tea on the magical misty hillsides of Dimbula province. The long, dark, wiry leaves create a rich, fruity and satisfying cup strong enough to take milk and also excellent when steeped more briefly and sipped alone. The tea growers pluck only the delicate tips of the tea plants, circulating along the rows of tea bushes frequently to catch the golden tips at their peak. These leaves offer the best of Dimbula, carrying the fragrance of fog-shrouded mornings and the warmth of the sunny afternoons into your cup. Ceylon Golden is unblended and opens a clear window into the characteristics of the growing region. We recommend Blue Willow Ceylon for both mornings and afternoons, to be enjoyed by itself or with a variety of foods. We also find it particularly refreshing served iced during the hot summer months.
**This is a limited offering, made in small quantities. Once it is gone we can't get more until the next year's harvest.**
Picked and processed by hand in the small village of Xi Ping in Anxi, this expertly-crafted Tieguanyin is a perfect representation of the depth and complexity this tea can offer. Plucked in the spring and roasted over hot charcoal in bamboo baskets the dried leaf gives off hints of toasted biscuits and soft magnolia blossoms. Once steeped, it exudes enticing aromas of sweet cream and sponge cake while preserving the underlying freshness of the green leaf. The mouthfeel is full bodied and silky and the flavor is crisp, sweet and warming with an herbaceous note reminiscent of squash blossoms. The warming sensation stays in your mouth and throat urges you to take another sip.
The leaf itself is medium-oxidized and plucked from old Tieguanyin plants that have been in the family for generations. The soil it grows in is rich with minerals which add to the depth and roundness of the flavor. Only a small quantity is available.
Origin: Anxi, China
These perfectly plucked spring leaves are a delight to drink every time. The rolled tea is striped with beautiful golden velvet hairs which unfurl to reveal two young leaves and a bud. The flavor is well rounded with a warm cedar wood aroma, seamlessly accented with notes of stone fruit, and balanced with a velvety soft encore.
Origin: Yunnan, China
If you're a fan of Japanese green teas and haven't tried Tamaryokucha yet, you're missing out. This tea has some of the most robust flavors out there. Grown in Ureshino, it is produced in a way that is a cross between Gyokuro and Sencha. The tea plants are shade grown similar to Tencha (for making Matcha) or Gyokuro. This step increases the chlorophyll and decrease the bitterness. Then the leaves are plucked, but much younger than even a Sencha. The result is an incredible tea with vivid green liquor and an flavor that excites the senses. The aroma is like seaweed and fresh cut grass and the flavor saturates your whole mouth with umami.
To get the most out of this tea steep it lower than usual (around 140°-150°) for 1 minute. When resteeping, pour after 10 seconds. This tea is great for over 4 steeps and the leaves can be eaten afterwards with the addition of a little salt, dashi or soy sauce.
This is a truly lovely oolong, high-grown in Taiwan, and very lightly oxidized. The bright green leaves unfurl, showing the slightest outline of amber around the edges and radiate an incredibly sweet jasmine-like aroma. The leaves are not scented or flavored, but are masterfully crafted to bring out the natrual floral element within the leaves themselves. The flavor is fresh and uplifting with no astringency and a lingering embrace of sweet nectar.
Origin: Nantou, Taiwan
This tea is one of the highest quality teas being grown in Japan. Grown in shaded small gardens in Uji, by Koyamaen, a tea grower that has been in the Koyama family for over 300 years, this tea is truly special. The tea is grown the same way as tencha and matcha; The shading of the plants before harvest causes the leaves stretch and grow very thin and delicate and produces higher levels of chlorophyll. This process also increases the catechin antioxidants and decreases the tannins, making this tea less bitter and extremely high in health benefits.
The deep green needle-like leaves infuse into a bright green liquor with a hearty flavor. Fresh and full of life, this tea has medium body and a lingering sweetness. Don’t pass this extraordinary tea up, limited supplies are available only at certain times of the year!
Origin: Uji, Japan
*We are currently waiting for our second shipment of this tea to arrive, since we sold out of our first shipment so fast! We will make this tea available again as soon as the new shipment arrives, by late September.*
One of our favorite teas! These tiny leaves have so much going on. Plucked in Fujian in the early spring, the tips are fully oxidized and lightly smoked. The dry leaf smells like plums and burnt caramel and just the steam is intoxicating. The tea itself is bold and sweet with a perfect balance of hardy oak smoke and chocolate and delicate fruity overtones.
Origin: Fujian, China
This is the sister tea to the Tamaryokucha, grown in Ureshino. Both these teas are shade grown and harvested in the spring, when the leaves are still young and approximately 1/2"-3.4" long. The difference lies in the processing. While the Tamaryokucha is steamed, typical of Japanese senchas, the Kamairicha is pan-fired in a large wok, similar to certain Chinese teas. This method was adopted from mainland China in an area just north of Nagasaki, which is known for it's melting pot of international cultures.
The result of processing this robust Japanese tea with traditional Chinese methods is a completely unique experience. The aroma is both sweet and vegetal with notes of hazelnut and soft to. The mouthfeel is smooth and full-bodied has just enough viscosity to linger long past the tea is gone. Steeping to a soft yellow-green, the soup is both bright and grounding. The vegetal depth and umami characteristics balance perfectly with the warming toasty notes the pan-firing imparts.
This tea is made by a third generation tea producer and only a limited quantity is available this year.
Harvest: Spring 2020
Origin: Saga, Japan
This high-grade, pan-fired tea is a delicacy. Each tip is perfectly flattened in the wok by expert hands and the leaf integrity is undamaged as a result. The flavor is sweet, fresh, crisp and soothing. It's silky mouthfeel coats your mouth and throat and has a lingering flavor of asparagus and buttery artichoke. This tea is plucked in the early spring and is available for a limited time. Once we run out, it's gone until next year!
Region: Zhejiang, China
Grown in the foggy hills of Kirishima, this tea is made by two brothers who are producing some exceptional quality teas. The moisture of the air and fertile soil from the nearby volcano create a perfect environment for growing complex teas. This Sencha is plucked from a single farm that is completely self-sustaining and bio-dynamic. This is one of the most full bodied and balanced senchas I've had the pleasure of cupping. Part of that is because the tea plants are nearly 100 years old with gnarled trunks and roots reaching deep into the earth to pull up all the minerals the volcanic soil holds. The aroma of the leaves is invigorating and fresh and steeps to an amazingly smooth tea. The mouthfeel is silky with a deep umami character and a bright finish. This is an asamushi tea so the leaves are not as broken as the Asatsuyu, creating a softer tea that is often more approachable for people new to Japanese greens.
This Phoenix Mountain Mi Lan Xiang translates literally to "Honey Orchid Fragrance" and lives up to it's name. The mid-oxidized, and roasted leaves of this exquisite tea reveal a journey within itself. The leaves appear dark from roasting, yet expose deep hues of green with gold-tinged edges as the tea steeps. When dry, the leaves smell distinctly toasted with deep notes of dried fruit, but when steeped the aroma blossoms into a floral and honey-sweet medley. The soft yellow tea is delicate and pleasing with sweet notes of pluot and a slightly dry, mineral finish. The intensity of the burnt sugar aroma that remains in the empty vessel is always an added perk.
Origin: Guangdong, China
We only have a very small quantity of this tea on hand, so will not be selling bags larger than 8 oz.
Forget that Lapsang you had at the coffee shop years ago, the one that assaulted your senses with smoke and clung to your mouth for hours after. This is not that tea. Grown in the Wuyi mountains, this Bohea cultivar is expertly crafted. The dry twisted leaves present an alluring aroma of pine smoke without taking over. Steeped, the leaves exude a gorgeous amber liquor and offer aromatic hints of toffee and tobacco. The soft veil of smoke clears with each steep, yielding to deeper notes of sherry and raw cacao within the leaves. Juicy and robust while sipping, the tea finishes slightly dry with just a hint of embers remaining.
Origin: Fujian, China
For the tea lover who appreciates a little sweetness in their cup. This tea is a high-grown jin xuan from Anxi, Fujian. The tea is expertly picked by hand and lightly roasted to bring out the creaminess of the Taiwanese cultivar. It is then steamed with milk to further accentuate the sweet cream flavor and floral aroma found naturally within the leaves. The light oxidation and roast of this tea, paired with the nuanced nectar, create a prefect melange of fresh, sweet and uplifting.
Origin: Fujian, China
Made from a blend of two Taiwanese oolong cultivars, grown in Pu-er and processed as a black tea, this tea has a growing and dedicated cult following.
The family who tends to these plants operates a small organic farm and grow mostly Taiwanese cultivars. Red Dragon comprises leaves hand plucked from Ruanzhi and Jinxuan cultivars, grown at nearly 2000 m elevation.
This tea offers up a complex cup that is both wholesome and seductive. Enticing aromas of juicy lychee and smokey cedar give way to a full-bodied cup with the perfect balance of sweet and tart plum and toasty barley.
Origin: Pu'er, Yunnan
Grown at the base of the Luye mountains in Southern Taiwan, this highly oxidized oolong is produced by a mother and son team who grown exceptional teas on their organic farm. The tightly rolled leaves unfurl to beautiful deep, black red and impart an aroma of sweet maple. The tea itself has notes of tangy red wine with an equalizing undertone of toasty cedar. Pro-tip: Don't miss out on the aroma of the pot when you pour the tea out, it intensifies as the ceramic cools.
Origin: Taitung, Taiwan
This highly unusual tea is plucked from Ai Lao Mountain in Pu-er. The family who tends to these plants operates a small organic farm and grow mostly Taiwanese cultivars. This tea is exclusively from the Ruanzhi (or Soft Branch) bushes, which are native to Taiwan and grown for making oolongs.
The leaves are hand picked in the spring from 30 year old plants growing in rich, mountain soil and processed as a Yunnan green tea. The result is guaranteed to intrigue even the most well-versed tea lover, while remaining accessible to newcomers.
The leaves are sweet with a magnolia blossom aroma, full body and silky mouth feel, notes of buttered asparagus with a lingering toasty finish. Good for many steeps, this tea is quickly growing in popularity.
Origin: Pu'er, Yunnan
Grown at the base of the Huangshan Mountains, this is an authentic Taiping, picked and processed completely by hand in Houkeng. The long leaves of the Shi Da Cha plants are unique in that they can grow to be quite large while still remaining soft and pliable. Once the leaves are plucked and withered they are pressed flat between two layers of canvas and baked into their final form. When steeped, the result is a smooth and clear soup with very little bitterness and notes of fresh cut grass, asparagus and a lingering hint of sweetness. This tea is very forgiving and can be steeped a variety of styles, without the worry of bringing out unfavorable characteristics. My personal favorite way to drink this tea is "grandpa style", leaving the leaves in a tall glass in hot water and drinking it slowly. This way, the tea is soft and delicate at the beginning and gradually develops more body and vegetal undertones. Re-steeping is encouraged.
Region: Huangshan, China
The Wuliang Beauty is made in the style of traditional Oriental Beauty but without the colonial-era wording.
Plucked from Taiwanese Ruanzhi oolong cultivars, high-grown in the Ai Lao region of Yunnan, this spectacular tea does not disappoint. The farmer may be Chinese, but has remained true to the Taiwanese methods of crafting this unique Bai Hao tea.
The dry leaf gives off an intensely fruity aroma that steeps to a perfect medley of honey, stone fruit and lychee, all with a warm undertone of roasted wood. The leafhopper bites, extended basket withering and expert craftmanship make this a truly remarkable offering which is available for a limited time only.
Origin: Yunnan, China