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 dried in the sun.
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.
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: Summer, 2021
Origin: Luye, Taiwan
A Blue Willow specialty, World Peace is a caffeine-free herbal blend that surprises with its subtle, soothing flavors. Breathe freely and cultivate inward peace with the help of this blend of all organic herbs and spices. The freshness of peppermint is complimented by the soothing sweetness of licorice root and accented by the spice of cloves. World Peace is an excellent treat anytime, but is especially comforting to those suffering from colds, flu or allergies. The scent penetrates and opens the lungs. Sipping World Peace coats the throat with soothing herbs and comforts the stomach. For an added perk and immune-boost, add fresh, finely-sliced ginger.
This tea provides the perfect marriage of the best qualities of jasmine blossom and green tea. Harvesters pluck the green tea in spring and store it in chests until early fall when night-blooming jasmine is picked and layered with the tea. Overnight the essential oils of the blossoms permeate the tea, after which they are removed. The process of layering is repeated up to five times to achieve a truly harmonious pairing of flavors.
Origin: Fujian, 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.
Due to poor weather conditions only a small amount of Asatsuyu was harvested in 2021. As a result, we could only secure a quarter of the amount we usually buy. For this reason, we will only be selling it in smaller quantities this year to help extend it's availability.
Harvest: Spring 2021
Origin: Kirishima, Japan