Wild Honeybush Black 2018
This Wild Honeybush 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.
Wild Honeybush is made from tea trees that are over 100 years old. They grow wild, at an elevation of 4000 ft, around the village of Zhenghe. The trees are a small-leaf varietal, native to the alpine forests of Zhenghe. In these vast, old growth forests, the wild tea trees compete with a variety of other types of trees, all seeking precious, diffused sunlight. At such high altitudes they are challenged by the wind and the quickly changing conditions. Thus, the roots of the tea trees extend deep into the earth to anchor themselves and draw nutrients; they grow slowly, accumulating these rich nutrients and compounds in their leaves. We feel this richness and fortitude in the tea they yield.
The craftsmanship of Wild Honeybush is somewhat experimental. It integrates aspects of the traditional craftsmanship of Fujian Oolong into the process of making Fujian Black tea. This means that the tea is charcoal roasted in two rounds, further accentuating the complexity and minerality of the leaves. The result is a particularly perfumed and robust black tea with mineral qualities that remind us of an oolong. Its scent is particularly intriguing: like ashes, cinnamon, and dried flowers.
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|Steep time||10 - 60 sec|
|No. of infusions||10