Ms. Qiong's Heritage Red
Unlike most tea craftsmen, Ms. Qiong’s foray into tea making was not for the love of tea. Her intention was to restore and enhance the vitality of the land in her home village. She firmly believes the key to our future lies in reconnecting ourselves with nature, which means living and farming in accordance with nature’s principles. Guided by this intention, Ms. Qiong adheres to natural farming methods, intervening very little with the tea she produces. The path that brought her to tea making is a modern one, and a story worth telling.
Ms. Qiong’s hometown is Xiufeng Village in Fu’an County of Fujian Province, where the history of tea cultivation spans hundreds of years. She grew up watching her father and mother harvest and make tea, which was common practice in her village. Eventually, in 1995, she and her family left Xiufeng and moved to the city of Fuzhou in search of better employment opportunities and more income. There, Ms. Qiong studied architecture in University and later worked as the CFO of a corporation in the coastal city, Xiamen. After holding this position for ten years, she understood that corporate life in the metropolitan city was depleting her spirit and she yearned for the simpler life that she and her family had felt they needed to leave behind; one that deepened connections between people and the land they lived on. After the passing of her father, she acted on this feeling: Ms. Qiong returned to her hometown, moved back into her family’s centuries-old wooden house, and started to make tea.
This Heritage Red is a very special tea for Ms. Qiong. She crafts it every year, in very small quantities, as a tribute to her late father, and the memories she cherishes of watching him make tea when she was young. It is made from the leaves of a small plot of tea trees that were planted by her father in the 70’s.
The trees she inherited from her father are quite rare: an heirloom varietal, indigenous to the region, which were largely cut down in the 1980’s in favour of higher yield varietals with uniform leaves. These trees are farmed regeneratively by Ms. Qiong, as part of her greater practice of rebalancing and listening to the land. Every Spring she harvests during the daytime and crafts the tea at night. It is extremely labour intensive, but it is the only way she wants to make her tea. Most of the time, she works alone, doing everything herself – from farming and taking care of the trees, to the harvesting and crafting of the teas. Ms. Qiong crafts this tea by hand, following the traditional methods of her region, and sundries it slowly on bamboo mats, making the tea taste more delicate and smooth.
This gentle black tea is perfect for Spring and Summer seasons. Its sweet, floral notes echo all the beautiful blooms we see around us at this time of year: cherry blossoms, magnolias, plum blossoms, lilacs... Alongside the bouquet you’ll find vanilla, toasted sesame, and the aromatics of honey.We also taste tea very specifically here, and it shouldn't be surprising: there is something direct and unmediated about all of Ms.Qiong’s teas. We could call it “purity,” but it is perhaps more accurately understood as the signature of her indirect care for the tea trees. With the support and attention Ms. Qiong provides for their context, the tea expresses itself very clearly in the spaciousness created by her broad perspective. Tasting for this adds an extra dimension to the enjoyment of Ms. Qiong’s Heritage Red.
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The key to brewing this tea is to use boiling water, and very fast infusions, starting at 10 seconds.
|Steep time||10 - 60 sec|
|No. of infusions||10+