Full leaf smoked black tea from Tongmu Village in Fujian Province.
Reserve No. 101: The first release in our Reserve Series line of teas. Also an excellent companion when driving down the West Coast’s most iconic highway.
Place 7 grams of tea leaves into 175 ml (6 ounce) gaiwan. Bring spring or freshy drawn filtered water to a rolling boil. Add enough water to cover the leaves and discard water after five seconds, this is to rinse the tea leaves. Fill your gaiwan to the top and let the leaves steep for 10-20 seconds. Set the strainer on top of the decanter and pour the tea out of the gaiwan with the lid slightly askew, without allowing the tea leaves to escape. Serve into small cups and repeat this process at least 4-5 times and notice how the tea leaves change in flavor over each infusion.
Alternatively, this tea can be brewed for single infusions using 3 grams of tea per 8 ounces of water and steeped for five minutes.
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Smoked Chinese Black Tea
History’s first black tea was created by chance in 1646. When the army of a Qing general invaded the misty Wu Yi mountains of Fujian during peak tea harvest season, the people of Tongmu village wisely fled. Two days later the soldiers decamped, and the villagers returned to find their tea crop fully oxidized. Dark and smoky, it was considered ruined. Rather than discard it, however, they dried it with smoking boughs of local horsetail pine—instead of their customary odorless bamboo. This proved auspicious. The Dutch traders in Canton loved it and ordered more the next year—at a premium. Today, the black, large-leaf tea first called bohea is the famous lapsang ("pine wood") souchong prized around the world. Tongmu, meanwhile, has become part of a nature preserve. Teamaking there still thrives, but access is extremely limited.
This style of tea is the most sought after smoked tea in all of China. Delicate and wiry black tea leaves are smoked with horsetail pine boughs for a complex and full yet smooth experience.
Fujian Province is one of the most famous tea growing regions located on the southeast coast of China. Black, white and oolong teas are all thought to have originated from this province. With Taiwan so close in proximity, there has been much sharing of knowledge between the two in terms of tea plants and production. Oolongs have two harvest seasons, in late spring and fall.