New Tea for the New Year

We're kicking off 2009 and the Year of the Ox with new editions of two of our most popular oolongs, Monkey-Picked Tie Guan Yin and Imperial Green Oolong.

For this year's edition of our most selective, Imperial-grade green oolong we sourced from Taiwan's famed Da Yu Ling region, at an altitude of 2,500 meters. The altitude produces a gentle but insistent intensity and trademark sweetness with delightful floral undernotes that we believe make our 2008 winter harvest edition something special for green oolong fans. Tea lovers the world over prize the beautiful jade color of the large, lightly fermented stemmed leaves, tightly hand rolled to help release enzymes that enhance flavor. Because the leaves grow in harsh, constantly changing weather conditions at high altitude, this winter oolong is packed with essential oils and nutrients, yielding a wonderfully thick, chewy texture to the greenish-golden brew that balances perfectly with this tea's more subdued florals and powerful “cha qi” that ensures a long, pleasing finish.

The new Monkey-Picked Tie Guan Yin—hand-fired, as always, by Imperial Tea Court’s Teamaster Roy Fong—has greater complexity and more pronounced flowers than comparable teas in recent years. This year's edition produces a reddish-gold liquor that's very rare among contemporary teas of this variety. Sourced from the steep cliffs of China’s Anxi county in Fujian province, this is a thoroughly traditional tea featuring the time-honored highly “fermented” leaf style and a rich, roasted flavor with mature florals reminiscent of lilac that come forward as the brew cools (for a preview, slurp the beautifully clear, reddish-gold broth vigorously from your cup). Although it's no longer picked by monkeys, our Monkey-Picked Tie Guan Yin respects China's long history of tea culture in every way and is an outstanding example of the teamaker's art. We're honored to present an oolong made the way it was meant to be.

Rounding out the new arrivals, good news for those who appreciate the intense florals of high-quality jasmine-scented tea. Yin Hao Jasmine, Silver Needle Jasmine, and Everyday Jasmine are back in stock with fresh versions from the latest harvest! Stop by one of our teahouses soon to inspect the new teas in person, or order with confidence online, knowing that we select, pack, and ship every order with the same care we'd use if it were going to mom!