Imperial Grade Laoshan Black Tea from Shandong
Laoshan village is near Qingdao in the province of Shandong at an altitude of just 300 meters. Laoshan village is also near a sacred mountain, and not far from the ocean. Tea has been grown in Laoshan area for many generations.
Our Laoshan teas are grown by the Liang family, who have a small family operation growing Laoshan tea and doing all the processing of the tea themselves as well. You will notice that the tea is grown undercover of greenhouse which are fully covered in the winter to protect from frost and also in the earliest part of spring as well just as the leaves are starting to sprout. In the middle and later part of the first flush growth stage the coverings are removed and the tea bushes grow in full view of the sun until plucking begins in the first week of April (early May for Black teas).
Laoshan black tea is small and tippy, it lacks white pekoe style hairs that give black teas their gold color. Instead Lao Shan black is grown from Long Jing #43 and the dry leaf is small, spindly and has a brown-black shiny look to it. The brewed leaf gradually unfolds and reveals it’s brown color. The brewed leaves have a vertical (parallel to the stem) striations as a result of the rolling they undergo. The tea soup is tending more towards gold in color with much less red than a typical black tea. The taste of Laoshan black tea is amazingly sweet with very obvious chocolate notes and the slightest hint of osmanthus. People often question whether sugar was added to the tea somehow, but it’s just naturally sweet and thick.
Laoshan Black is harvested from during April-May, and again in Autumn. The tea is picked, wilted briefly, fried (kill green), rolled and then allowed to wilt under the sun in cloth bags for 2 to 3 days (depending on ambient temperatures). After sun wilting is complete the tea is roasted in a kind of hot air tumbler (滚桶 ).
Our Imperial Grade Laoshan Black is the highest grade black tea from Laoshan normally available and is picked and processed from the finesttippy material picked during the first half of May. The taste is sweet and voluminous with notes of cane sugar, chocolate and baked yams. The Classic Laoshan Black we offer is also excellent with a more robust taste and a little more of the dark chocolate bite to it. I recommend getting a little of each grade to start and then decide for yourself which you like best!
We feel confident you will enjoy family-sourced Laoshan teas and invite you to try them all!
Area: Laoshan village near Qingdao in Shandong
Time of harvest: Mid-April into Early May