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.
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.
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.
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.
This interesting tea is grown in Hunan and processed in a similar way as sheng puerh. The leaves are plucked in the spring, withered, fired, and rolled. But what sets this tea apart is the roughly 2 months of repetitive low-heat smoking that the leaves undergo afterwards. The result is a bright, energizing tea with a tannic overtone, contrasting with the earthen wood smoke that is most prominent in the first few steeps.
Plucked in 2016, the leaves have aged beautifully in bamboo baskets which have allowed the flavors to interact seamlessly. This tea has a cult following in the shop!