Aromatic, naturally sweet, smooth and full bodied, fruity, malty, chocolate, hints of smoke are all apt descriptions of Chinese black teas. Given that the Chinese prefer their black teas unblended and unscented, our blacks reflect this. They are made with a lighter touch in the oxidizing step to preserve the nuanced tastes and natural sweetness of the varietals. We source our black teas in various provinces and their body, strength, aroma and flavor depend on the bush varietal, farming methods, elevation, time of harvest and, finally, oxidation.
In the west, black tea is named for the color of the leaf. In China, is is called "hong cha" or red tea in recognition of the color of the infusion. A properly oxidized black tea will show a bright-red color in the cup. Given their rich flavors and aromas, our black teas are, for the most part, unblended. Like green teas, the highest-grade blacks are harvested early in the spring. Tea farms in a famous area such as Fuding, in Fujian Province, will process leaves either as a green tea or a wonderful Golden Monkey depending on the perceived market demand.
Each of the provinces produces unusual, high-quality varieties that can be limited in quantity and, increasingly, competitively sought after. Fujian Province contributes wonderfully sweet and malty blacks such as Golden Monkey, Imperial Red, Golden Needle and a variety of blacks called Congou and Gong Fu made to local tastes to fruity flavors such as found in Dragon Eyes; then on to very smoky flavors and aromas offered in a well-made, traditional Lapsong Souchong and high grades of WuYi Yan Cha. More locally, we have sought out unusual varieties and procured what are called "fresh" black teas such as "Wild Black" and "Black Fragrance". These are black teas made to local customs, consumed in the local area and not exported.
Our offerings from Yunnan Province are made with thicker leaves grown at high elevations and jungle-like conditions yielding peppery flavors and brilliant, brown-red cup colors. From Anhui, we offer top grades of distinctive Keemuns grown organically and at high elevations that are easily identified by their subtle smoky aroma and intense and winey flavors. While the majority of our offerings are sourced in China, we also offer full-bodied Assams and Darjeelings.
We invite you to enjoy the breadth and varied flavors of our premium black teas, hand-selected from some of the finest producers in the world.