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Understanding Anhua Tian Jian Dark Tea

Anhua Dark Tea is made exclusively from 'Hei Mao Cha' (Black Hairy Tea), which is categorized into seven grades: "Ya Jian, Bai Mao Jian, Tian Jian, Gong Jian, Xiang Jian, Sheng Jian and Bao Jian", among which " "Ya Jian" is the best, but due to its extremely small quantity, it has not become a commercial commodity. Therefore, among the dark tea products currently circulating in the market, Tian Jian tea is the best.

In ancient times, Tian Jian tea was a noble gift for officials, wealthy merchants, and friends. During the Qing Dynasty's Daoguang era (around 1825), it was designated as a tribute tea exclusively for the royal family. Now, it has become a fashionable drink among wealthy people in the south. This tea can be brewed or boiled; it is suitable for drinking plain or as milk tea, especially popular in southern tea houses and for brewing pot tea or cold tea at home. Tian Jian tea has become a trend in many provinces and cities across the country, particularly in Guangzhou in the south and Xi'an in the northwest.

Tian Jian tea is made from fresh leaves picked during the Guyu season (typically April). It is characterized by its black color, refreshing taste, unique pure pine smoke aroma, rich flavor, deep yellow and bright soup color, tender and uniform leaves, and stable quality.

Differences Among Similar Teas

  1. Anhua Tian Jian Dark Tea ages well in a short period (3 to 10 years), similar to wine, improving with age. If stored longer than 10 years it will become very mellow in taste.  To keep the tea longer it can be stored sealed after a period of 5 to 10 years (from the time of harvest). Tian Jian uses top-grade tender tea tips and is conveniently packaged in baskets to avoid secondary pollution.
  2. The raw material for Anhua Tian Jian Dark Tea must be authentic Anhua Dark Tea leaves from Anhua's origin. Using tea leaves from other places may result in lower quality and taste after fermentation. Hunan's superior natural ecological environment is highly suitable for producing dark tea, with a legend stating, 'Tea trees grow naturally by the mountains and watersides.'
  3. The ancient bamboo basket packaging of Anhua Tian Jian Dark Tea aids in complete fermentation, offering an eco-friendly, simple, and natural visual appeal.
  4. The process of making Hunan Anhua Tian Jian Dark Tea includes withering, rolling, pile-fermenting, and baking. Baked tea is superior to unbaked, ideally done using a Seven-Star Stove.
  5. Anhua Tian Jian Dark Tea is durable for multiple infusions, economical, and retains full flavor and sweetness after 8+ brews, with astringency turning to sweetness.

Quality Specifications: 

Tian Jian tea has tightly curled, round, and tender leaves with a black and shiny appearance. It has a mellow pine smoke aroma, orange-yellow soup, rich taste, and tender yellow-brown leaves.

Processing Method The processing of Tian Jian tea is relatively simple, involving screening, winnowing, picking, high-temperature steaming, rolling, baking, blending, and packaging to produce the final product.

Handmade Production:

  1. Weighing Tea: Each basket is weighed five times.
  2. Steaming: Each weighed batch is steamed for 20-30 minutes.
  3. Filling Baskets: Placed in a 'box frame', the steamed tea is filled into baskets in three batches.
  4. Pressing: The frame is pressed, then removed, refilled, and pressed again.
  5. Binding and Packaging: After pressing, the tea is weighed and bound with cross-shaped bamboo strips.
  6. Aerating: Five 40cm deep holes are made on the top for aeration and moisture release.
  7. Drying: The pressed tea is dried in a ventilated area for 4-5 days until ready for packaging.

Packaging Method:

Anhua Tian Jian Dark Tea is triple-layer packaged with reed leaves, palm leaves, and bamboo baskets. This facilitates fermentation, removes odors, and retains the tea's aged fragrance. The packaging evolved from large to smaller baskets (5 kg, 2 kg, etc.) and now to the smallest 1 kg packs, suitable for the fermentation needs of dark tea.

Brewing Method:

  1. 6-8 grams per 100ml volume brewing device.
  2. 100C spring water
  3. Keep steeps short for the first few infusions. 
  4. Wash 10s, then 15s, 20s, 25s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 80s, 120s.
  5. Feel free to adjust the amount of tea used and/or steeping times to get the tea closer to how you enjoy it!


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