April 2018 Sun-dried black tea
Ancient tea garden leaves from Wengbo Garden, Jingmai Mountain
High pleasant acidity, active mouthfeel
It is uncommon to use ancient garden leaves for making black tea, such good material is usually made into Pu-erh tea. But we had made a lot of Gushu Pu-erh this season. With a few days left on our hands, we tried something new.
This tea was withered for 18 hours, but the leaves were still a bit stiff. In order to soften them, we laid them on flat bamboo baskets and let them rest for half an hour under the morning sun.
Direct sunlight will quickly soften the leaves, but you shouldn't abuse that process otherwise the leaves will dry out too much. We then rolled the leaves for an hour, oxidize them in a wet cloth for two hours in the heat of our greenhouse, and finally spread them over bamboo mats until they dried.
On the next day, we tried the tea. It was very strong and acidic! We chose not to sell it right away. We stored it in Pu'er for over two years and tried it recently. The tea is now ready. It still has a fairly high amount of acidity, but it is not overwhelming and is actually very satisfying. One cup calls for another. It reminds of those expensive Burgundy wines that are undrinkable when they are straight out of the oak barrels. You have to let them rest for a couple of years for their complexity to be revealed and their sourness to be tamed.
The tea leaves come from Wengbo, an ancient tea garden that grows on the upper slopes of Jingmai Mountain. It gives strong material with a good amount of bitterness. We can guess this natural bitterness was converted into acidity during the black tea processing.
You can expect a complex bouquet and an intense experience from this tea.