Spring 2022, sun-dried, medium-low oxidation
Natural tea gardens of Jingmai village
A satisfying balance between acidity and bitterness, heavy sweetness
Vibrant, juicy and flavorful
By breaking the conventions, we gave this tea a strong personality. Unlike classic yunnan black, not everyone will like this tea, the problem is we do, and we went full on this year, applying a technique most farmers in Jingmai reject.
A good black tea should be withered, rolled, oxidized and dried. They key to our taste is we skip the piling process which should allow the tea to oxidize fully. Our leaves go straight from the rolling machine to the drying mats.
The tea starts oxidizing quickly as soon as the rolling starts. Oxidation only stops when the tea is dry. Hence the rationale of skipping the piling step: the tea still has a couple of hours to dry. If you dry it under the sun, this is as low an oxidation as you can get.
If you're a tea producer reading this: don't skip the piling step if you're drying the leaves with hot air, it would result in very low oxidation level and too much bitterness.
Oxidation level in black tea balances bitterness and acidity; in the orbit lies a whole spectrum of flavour. Our processing eccentricities allowed this tea to reach the sweetness apoapsis. While the tea delivers a punch quickly in the early brews, it has the potential to sustain long end-session steepings and will hopefully take you to the moon.
Here is a trick to get better brews out of your black tea: