Sun-Dried Dragon Pearl
Shuangjang Mengku, in the Lincang Prefecture of Yunnan, is home to some of the oldest tea trees in the world. People have been making ancient-style black tea here for centuries. Sun dried black teas represent the oldest style of craftsmanship native to this region, and have a much longer history than Yunnan black teas more commonly found today, such as Dianhong or Yunnan Red, which still date back to more than 100 years.
Sun dried black teas of Lincang are made with a very unique craftsmanship, and one that sets them apart from other black teas. Their method of preparation involves steps that we recognize from both the crafting of raw pu’erh and of traditional white tea.The leaves for Sun-Dried Dragon Pearls come from 200 year old trees, and their preparation includes withering, kneading, oxidation, and natural sun-drying.
The result of this ancient, hybrid method is a tea that may not be immediately recognizable as a black tea. The energetics of it are more akin to a pu’erh, offering a very generative and grounding feeling in the body. The liquor is malty and glutinous, with subtle notes of ferment and hay, and a mineral density which signals the age and vitality of the trees these tea leaves have come from. The slow oxidation and sun drying has preserved the active compounds in these leaves, and along with them, the delicate flower-petal notes we will associate with a naturally dried white tea.
Sun-dried Red Dragon Pearls conjures a time when tea was less settled in its categories, and represents the shared origins of many traditional teas we love for discrete reasons today. For this, and for the nourishing effect it has on drinkers, it is a very deep tea.
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