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. We are offering this "Imperial Grade" Laoshan Black tea made from the tippiest first flush of spring 2017 tea leaves.
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 in the first week of April.
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 1st (pre Ming) and 2nd flush material during the first week of 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 Classic grade, although not as small and fine as it's Imperial counterpart it is more robust in taste and has more of a dark chocolate bite to it. It is very smooth with a golden yellow tea soup that is viscous and soupy. 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: early April