Picked and processed in the 1990s, this shou puerh was processed in Menghai and dry stored in Kunming ever since. The leaves are plucked from feral tea trees and have not been compressed. Dry storage has allowed the tea to develop its fermentation slowly, preserving much of the energetic and flavor characteristics within the tea. The aroma is earthy and warm and it steeps to an impressively smooth soup. The flavors are rich but are able to stand out without becoming muddled or dirty. Soft undertones of driftwood lay the base while a clean earthen flavor takes center stage. The tea finishes with warm hints baked clay and moss and leave behind a refreshed palate and an open airway and chest. Only a small quantity of this tea is available.
Origin: Yunnan, China
This loose puerh from Mangjing village is made up of leaf from several family's efforts to combine all of the old growth and feral tea growing in the mountains. The fog-covered hills are home to an incredible range of biodiversity, in which tea plants thrive in the mineral-rich soil that feeds the local ecosystem.
This tea was plucked and pile-fermented in 2015, and has been evolving in the years it has been aging. The liquor is a rich umber with a strong peat-like aroma. Each sip allows you to explore the depth and variety of flavors present in the leaf, from chocolate, to earth, wood, and notes of spice. The leaves can be re-steeped all day long and their warmth and smoothness have the effect of cultivating an inner, grounded energy.
Plucked from wild trees growing high on Ai Lao Mountain, this loose leaf shou cha is perfect as an introduction to puerh or as a refreshing breather for the afficionado. It has been sorted to include only the tips and has an effect that is clarifying and uplifting.
The first steep yields a bright and vivid infusion, with each consecutive cup reaching deeper notes of the leaf. The mineral content of the soil is prevalent in the cup with bright, energizing notes of copper, and grounding undertones of cocoa and damp earth. The liquor has a silky mouthfeel and leaves a lasting coolness in the throat, unusual for a tea of this style.
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
Iwachu, located in Morioka, is known for making skillfully crafted iron ware. This tetsubin, or cast iron pot, is a perfect marriage of classic form and function and modern deign and simplicity. The traditional arare pattern is achieved by painstakingly carving each bump into the mold before casting. Unlike traditional tetsubin, this pot has an enamel coat inside, making it easy to clean and not susceptible to rust. Because of this coating, it is ideal for steeping a multitude of teas without the potential of seasoning the metal. This pot can hold 22oz. of tea but it is not recommended to heat it over an open flame, as it can crack the enamel coating. Each pot has a large mesh strainer that can be left in or removed, depending on your preferred steeping style.
*The wooden tray is not included, but can be purchased separately*
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.
The tea leaves of Assam are large and thick when compared to the Chinese variety, which have been planted in most other regions of India. The resulting flavors derived from these plants are unique to the region, known the world over for being distinctively malty and bold, with a high note of astringency. We have found an excellent second-flush Assam, grown organically in the lush Brahmaputra River valley. The bright and brisk tea shows off the Assam characteristics with vigor and is a great way to get started in the mornings. Stands up well to milk and sugar, but delightful on its own as well.
Here's a tea you won't find anywhere else. Awa Bancha is only made in one small prefecture in Japan, and is barely known even in Japan. It goes through a unique lacto-fermentation process that yields a tea like no other.
The uniqueness of this tea starts at the plucking, which takes place in the summer, when the leaves have grown large and hardened. Every leaf is stripped from the branches, so each year the whole plant re-grows and there is only one harvest each year. From there, the leaves are boiled to soften them and make them more pliable. They are then rolled, similar to an oolong, but then packed into fermentation jars, and covered with banana leaves and heavy rocks to soak in their own juices. Because the tea is harvested so late, the leaves have a higher sugar content, which increases the fermenation that occurs. About a month later, the leaves are removed and air-dried.
The result is a drink that is slightly sour, sweet, and tangy depending on how you steep it. It is incredibly versatile and can be boiled over a fire to get the medicinal properties, or steeped more delicately to extract the sweeter notes. Awa Bancha's nickname used to be "peasant's tea" because it was typically boiled and every leaf was used, unlike other teas.
The flavor is best suited for those who love pickles, sauerkraut and all things probiotic. It is great for the gut and the more you drink it, the more your body will crave its effects.
2019 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 and sweet hay. These cakes can be broken up and enjoyed now, or stock op on a bamboo-wrapped tong and age it!
This is the perfect kyusu for making Japanese teas, especially green teas and sencha. The side handle and thick walls make is easy to handle and the high-fired clay doesn't leave any flavors to meddle with your infusion. The inside has a fine mesh strainer which will filter out leaves even from small leaf or fukamushi teas. This pot holds roughly 250ml, or 8 oz.
When steeping Japanese green teas, it is important to extract every last drop from the pot, as any water left will become bitter in the next steep. For that reason, this design makes is easy to shake out the last drop and get the best flavor out of your tea.
*TIP: Never put these pots in the dish washer and be sure to wash them after each use so the mesh doesn't become clogged.*
Here is an intriguing offer for the adventurous oolong lover. This oolong is made in Kagoshima, Japan from the second flush benifuki cultivar. Known for its astringency and bold flavor, benifuki softens a bit in the summer, and makes an interesting starting point for producing an oolong. Best flash-steeped in a gaiwan, this oolong has similar characteristics as a baozhong, but with more umph. Sweet and floral at the start, with a lingering dryness that keeps you wanting more.
Beautiful little birds on a branch to keep your tea company. The porcelain is a blue-grey color and has nice thick walls that don't get too hot. Each cup holds about 25ml.
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
Yuzamashis are great tools for making tea. They are typically used to pour hot water into to cool it down until it is a suitable temperature for brewing sencha, gyokuro, and other teas that require lower temperatures. They are very handy if you don't have a kettle with an thermometer, as the water is typically ready to use when you can rest your hands on the outside without the heat being uncomfortable. They are also convenient to pour the tea into if the capacity of your cups is less than the vessel you are steeping in. If you regularly use a kyusu to make your teas, this will be a welcome addition to your teaware family.
This yuzamashi holds roughly 10oz, and looks perfect when paired with our black faceted kyusu.
*The wooden tray is not included, but can be purchased separately*
Blue Willow blends Blood Orange as a fruit tisane containing dried orange peel, hibiscus petals, rose hips, cranberries and other fruits. Steeping to deep magenta liquor, the robust tartness is well rounded with citrus appeal. The beverage can be enjoyed hot or iced and drunk any time of day due to the lack of caffeine. It is a versatile blend and makes a great addition to black, or other teas for those who love to experiment. Especially refreshing iced with lemon and sugar.
Pure Ceylon tea is blended with Madagascar bourbon vanilla beans to create this aromatic blend. The sweet smell of vanilla beckons and the bold black leaves create an astringency that is accented by the natural sugars. This tea delivers a brisk pick-up throughout the day with an alluring accent. Especially great iced with fresh lemon. While there is no bourbon whisky in this blend, it makes a great base for a hot toddy!
For those who can't get enough tea and require it in all forms. Especially attached to your keys. By Tea Thoughts.
*tassel colors vary
Hand crafted genuine Jingdezhen clay for those who appreciate the beauty in details when making tea. These pieces are each unique and incredibly lightweight. The textured clay is porous and will "drink" the tea, seasoning over time. There is a faint network of surface cracks along the glaze that will get darker with each steep and create a tea egg pattern typical of Ruyao glazes.
The pot holds roughly 140ml and has smooth pour. There is a rounded out strainer molded onto the inside of the spout to strain leaves and prevent clogging and uneven pours. The pot perfectly fills three cups and for this reason we include a gong dao bei (pitcher) with the set.
The set includes one pot, two cups and a pitcher.
These ceramic cups are styled after the traditional arare tetsubin pattern but without the weight of being cast iron. Holding 4oz. or roughly 100ml, they are a great in-between size for drinking tea. Two of these cups perfectly holds the volume of our different kyusus, making it a tasteful addition to your serving setup. T
*The wooden tray is not included but can be purchased separately*
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.
While it seems everyone has been familiar with the calming characteristics of chamomile since childhood, it is surprisingly difficult to find a quality chamomile with favorable flavor qualities. We are proud to offer a certified organic chamomile which has such a delicate sweetness and completely clean flavor which is sure to relax the mind and please the taste buds. Our chamomile is a whole-bud variety grown in Egypt.
**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
Love making matcha? Join the club. By Tea Thoughts.
*Tassel colors vary
Iwachu, located in Morioka, is known for making skillfully crafted iron ware. This tetsubin, or cast iron pot, is a perfect marriage of classic form and function and modern deign and simplicity. The two-tone finish is achieved by first applying a gold coat, followed by a black coat which is then carefully brushed to reveal the underlying color. Unlike traditional tetsubin, this pot has an enamel coat inside, making it easy to clean and not susceptible to rust. Because of this coating, it is ideal for steeping a multitude of teas without the potential of seasoning the metal. This pot can hold 22oz. of tea but it is not recommended to heat it over an open flame, as it can crack the enamel coating. Each pot has a large mesh strainer that can be left in or removed, depending on your preferred steeping style.
*The wooden tray is not included, but can be purchased separately*
For those who like to add a little green in their cooking. This is a premium food grade matcha, produced by the same folks as our ceremonial grades. It is a vibrant green with intense umami flavor and grassy notes. But it also has an astringent kick to it, which is helpful when using it to cook or bake (or even make lattes and smoothies). When combined with other ingredients, the tannins are canceled out and the flavor of the matcha isn't drowned out. If the matcha is too smooth, it will get pushed into the background with the addition of other ingredients.
Add this to cookies, smoothies, make ice cream, salad dressing, you name it. Not only will it taste great, but you'll also be getting the elevated health benefits like catechins, chlorophyll, vitamins and antioxidants. It's a win-win!
This is NOT the type of matcha you get in the bulk aisle at the grocery store. It is processed in Uji, Japan by a family that has been making matcha for over 300 years.
The British discovered the wonderful tea-growing properties of the Darjeeling district in West Bengal in the nineteenth century. We have found an estate there that provides us with an organic and fair traded Darjeeling tea. The light body and floral accents of this tea create a wonderful delicacy and flexibility that is favored by tea drinkers worldwide. The musky aroma arises from the incomplete oxidation process and gives this softly flavored tea the elasticity to be appreciated from breakfast to dessert. During the day, Blue Willow Darjeeling provides a wonderful, light lift with a muscatel sweetness and clean finish. The full, fresh flavor and delicate floral hints create a truly pleasurable sipping experience on its own, with a sturdiness that can handle the addition of sugar and milk.
These sheng (raw puerh) pearls are hand rolled into 7g servings from the mao cha we used to press our cakes in 2018. If you aren't ready to commit to a whole cake, or like the ease of having pre-weighed portions, this is a great option.
These pearls comprise first-flush, pre-rain tips which were plucked in 2018 from strictly old growth, wild trees and have a lot going on. Best when flash steeped repeatedly, this tea is like a slow drip of energy, and really can steep all day. The aroma is fresh, bright and incredibly floral. When sipped, the tea leads with an intense burst that is at once dry and silky, leaving a cooling sensation in your throat. The flavor is verdant with notes of dried apricot, and the astringency is beginning to smooth out and embrace it's inner earthiness in the years it's been aging.
These pearls will only get better over time and supplies are limited.