Leaf Type: Black
Where to Buy: Tao Tea Leaf
Well known throughout the world, TangYang GongFu is a fully oxidized black tea from the Fujian province of China. The tea was created in the year 1371 during the dawn of the Ming Dynasty. This tea has a thick and heavy body and tastes bold and slightly sweet. The brew is a perfect balance between the bitterness, sweet, honey and fruit like flavors.
Learn more about this tea here.
I may be ruffling some feathers of you Chinese black tea lovers out there, but I just want to put my honest opinions out in the open. Fujian Province makes the best black teas. Hands down. My favorite black tea of all time is Jin Jun Mei, (also known as Beautiful Golden Eyebrow) which is also from Fujian. Must be something in the water. Or the dirt. Or the air. Yup. It’s gotta be the dirt. Just looking at this dark chocolaty brown leaf of this tea is making me thirsty. I love seeing the little golden fuzzy twirls hiding out within, that coy, delicate bud just waiting to hit me over the head with its rich deliciousness.
Of course, I whipped out my trusty porcelain gaiwan and got down to it. I just had to gongfu brew this tea. I mean, it even has the word in it’s name! I used 3g of slender, lightly twisted, leaf in my 100ml gaiwan. I gave it a quick rinse for about 3 seconds before beginning. Even the rinse had already become a deep, rustic brown. I knew I was in for a treat.
The tea was gracious enough to brew up all of it’s goodness slowly, letting me enjoy every last drop to it’s fullest. The soup was thick and broth, and a brilliant red. The taste was heavy in my mouth, and the flavors lasted long after each sip. I got no astringency whatsoever, it was so even and smooth. The aroma is similar to fresh baked whole wheat bread, with perhaps some dried fruit snuck inside. Upon further inspection, I detect creamed honey and thick malt coating my throat. It still retains that bread quality without becoming toast. This would make for an excellent breakfast tea!
Leaf Type: Green
Where to Buy: Verdant Tea
Hearty and rich, this green tea could stand up to any meal, if you could stand to do anything but appreciate its complex flavor. From the Taoist Holy Mountain of Laoshan, the leaves are hand picked and slowly dried over a wood-fired wok. The tea is bean-like, and sweet, with grassy undertones and a thick body.
The aroma of this tea is fantastic. It is as close to what I’d imagine a sun-drenched grassy meadow filled with wildflowers to smell like as any other green tea I’ve ever experienced. I can smell the grassy tones, the crisp sweetness of the air, and the beautiful flowers. It smells fresh. It smells amazing!
The flavor is equally as amazing – and there are some rather unique characteristics about this tea that I don’t often experience with other green teas. The above description is correct: I can taste the bean-like notes there, giving it a rich thickness not only to the texture but to the taste. Unlike some green teas, this doesn’t taste “light.” Nor does it feel light – the body here is smooth, rich and substantial.
It has a mild sweetness with hints of nutty flavor. Far in the distance, I can taste a very subtle roasted tone that compliments the nutty tones nicely. There is also a very distant floral note to this tea that is difficult to pin-point because just as quickly as it appears, it disappears. It is teasing my palate!
This Laoshan Northern Green has an interesting vegetative note that is somewhat grassy and somewhat like steamed spinach. There is even the earthy, savory tone at mid-sip that reminds me of the flavor of steamed spinach.
A very lovely green tea experience is in store for anyone who tries this tea! I highly recommend it.