2010 Harvest Tea Now in the Teahouse!

The first 2010 harvest tea of the season has arrived in our warehouse and is now available in our teahouses! We'll have photos and put the teas on the web site by the weekend. The shipment includes an outstanding, early-picked Ming Qian Imperial Lotus Heart Dragon Well. Our tea farm is located in a sheltered valley and, similar to last year, the unique location protected our crop from severe weather even while nearby tea fields were devastated. I had an opportunity to taste this tea today and it's mild and sweet with substantial viscosity. The greenish-yellow liquor tends to the greener side of the spectrum, while the early-picked leaves, bursting with nutrients the tea plant has been collecting all winter, quickly sink to the bottom of the gaiwan, a sign of exceptional quality. The tea has an memorable long, sweet finish.

Our 2010 Harvest Imperial Dragon Well was picked only a few days later. The result is larger leaves with more of this varietal's distinctively flavored "fur" that lends the tea a hearty, forward aroma and slightly malty taste. While the leaves are spring green, the liquor is a bit more yellowish than the Lotus Heart. In the cup, the fur provides a satisfying, thick viscosity.

In addition to the Zhejiang dragon wells, Roy acquired two more interesting spring teas in Hunan Province, an area that was spared from the worst of the spring weather. After an absence of a couple of years we're pleased to offer a fine 2010 Harvest Jun Shan Yin Zhen, an uncommon yellow tea renowned as Chairman Mao's favorite. This tea acquires its color from a unique process in which the tea is withered, pan-fired until it's not quite dry, then wrapped in paper for a time. If you're not familiar with this variety, you owe it to yourself to get acquainted with one of China's most famous teas.

Roy also found an unusual green tea, Longevity Needles, that has the distinction of having been cooked three ways: the leaves are steamed, pan-fired, and roasted during the extended teamaking process. This delicious, easy-drinking tea is full of fresh spring flavor and will be a delightful discovery for green tea lovers looking for something different.

Finally, for the true contrarians (you know who you are) who drink black tea even in the spring, Roy found a fascinating golden tip tea from Guangdong, the first Guangdong black tea we've ever offered. Its exotic, southern taste recalls sugar cane and bamboo; it's familiar yet elusive, earthy and satisfying yet never overpowering. The beautiful gold-colored leaves brew up into a tantalizing amber infusion. If you appreciate fine black tea, you'll immediately understand why Roy was captivated by this newcomer.

Photos, tasting notes, and more details on these first tastes of Spring 2010 coming soon!