Roasted Rock 2017
This Roasted Rock comes to us from one of our well-respected tea foragers, Mr. Fan, also aptly known as “Hunter.”
Many years ago Mr. Fan had taken a position in the forestry department of his local government, in his hometown Zhenge, and was tasked with managing a population of wild boars that were wreaking havoc for local farmers. In 2009, while he was tracking boars in the mountains, he stumbled into an area dense with wild, abandoned tea trees. He was taken aback by the beauty of this discovery: to see so many tea trees, thriving on their own, at home in the ancient forest. And so began his path as a tea forager and producer.
For many reasons, Mr. Fan is a unique tea artisan. Firstly, he does not own any land himself, and he does not have a tea farm. He focuses on crafting tea from wild and semi-wild abandoned tea trees in the mountains, and his wealth is only his understanding of their location and their rhythms.
This tea is made from tea trees that were planted by tea farmers in the 1980’s, and then abandoned as people left the villages for coastal cities. The tea trees are situated within thousands of acres of old growth forest, more than 3600 feet above sea level, where there is minimal human intervention. They grew from seeds that were washed downstream from a river that runs through the middle of the forest. In these vast, old growth forests, the wild tea trees compete with a variety of other types of trees, all seeking precious, diffused sunlight. Thus, the roots of the tea trees extend deep into the earth to draw nutrients, and they grow slowly, accumulating these rich nutrients and compounds in their leaves. We feel this richness in the tea they yield.
At harvest time their young leaves are hand picked and then oxidized, before being roasted to completion over charcoal. During this process Roasted Rock is oxidized slightly more than most black teas, and we taste this in the deeper qualities it foregrounds. The wet leaves are a very dark, deep purple colour – they look strong and shiny, like arame seaweed. The nose is earthy and perfumed, like aged wood. The leaves brew an auburn liquor that, despite its strong appearance and characteristics, feels very smooth and somewhat bright on the palate. This is an atmospheric tea, akin to incense: it broadens the senses, brings both peace and alertness, and speaks silently of ash and trees.
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|Steep time||15 - 120 sec|
|No. of infusions||10