White teas are the least processed of all teas. The newest leaves of spring are carefully selected, very quickly withered and then dried; either in open air, by the sun, or mechanical means. Due to this simple process of withering, they take a little longer to brew, though may be enjoyed with either a short or long steeping. Like most high quality teas, these will profit from several steepings as the flavors come out slowly.
Drum Mountain White Cloud
From the famous Drum Mountain Monastery in the northern Fujian Province in China, where they’ve been growing tea for centuries. This is a “white peony” or the “two leaves and a bud” and the end of the stem, the newest spring growth. This is known as a low-caffeine varietal. Staff tasting impressions: Mild, sweet and fragrant with a soft nutty flavor, acorn, mint, pine, spicy dried plum, riparian plants like mugwort, pleasant cleansing astringency, nectarines and cantaloupe, savory spices and lightly creamy.
Green tea is from leaves that are picked, heated just enough to make the leaves pliable so they may be rolled, twisted, curled or pressed. Simply, this breaks the outer structure of the leave, exposing the inner juices and oils to concentrate and oxidize. A quick oxidation produces a green tea, and the leaves are then “fired” again to stop the process.
Dragon Well Special Harvest
From the Zhejiang Province in China Dragon Well is one of China’s Famous Teas, and this is an excellent example. Known for it’s cooling qualities.
Staff tasting impressions: Toasty, walnut-almond, aromatic, anise, dew evaporating from meadow grass, Asian noodles.
Hugo’s Green Tea
From the Fujian Province, a wonderful everyday green tea. New tea drinkers and aficionados alike will enjoy. Staff tasting impressions: Pleasant, mild, pleasantly astringent, hints of lavender and persimmon, ever so slightly earthy and smokey.
Herbal Green Tea
Traditional Korean tisane made organic Mulberry leaves that are processed just like green tea- but no caffeine.
Staff tasting impressions: Toasty, slightly sweet with fruity, berry-like flavors.
Dragon Pearls with Jasmine
The best of dozens of Pearls we’ve tried this year, from top grade pearls not usually used for scenting. Dragon Pearls are the two leaves and a bud that have been rolled into a little ball, sometimes called Yin Yangs, as the white bud and green leaves look similar to the famous Chinese symbol of balance, interconnectedness and polarity. Staff tasting impressions: Good green tea flavors well balanced with jasmine. From real night-blooming jasmine blossoms- not from jasmine oils of lesser pearls.
Somewhere between green and black teas lie the oolongs. After the leaves are picked, they are spread out and allowed to wither slowly until most of the moisture has evaporated and the juices have concentrated. During this process, they are tossed and rolled hourly, allowing a very slow oxidation until the oolong master decides they are finished. The leaves are then fired again to stop the oxidation and enzymatic changes. Lightly oxidized leaves can look quite green, and darkly oxidized like a black tea, but the flavor and aroma is uniquely oolong.
Phoenix Mountain Private Reserve
Tong Tian Xiang (flavor that comes from heaven) Guandong Province. A famous oolong varietal grown at 4-5,000 ft. from very old trees. Hand rolled and slowly dried in the ancient traditional methods.
Staff tasting impressions: Notes of peach, apricot, grapefruit, honey, tobacco, ginger.
Like green tea and oolongs, the leaves are picked, withered and rolled, twisted or curled. The leaves are then laid out in cool, humid rooms to oxidize slowly. The oxidation turns the leaves anywhere from gold to copper to quite black according to the producer, and are then fired to stop the process.
Hugo’s Breakfast Tea
This year we’ve selected Black Bi Luo Chun as our house black tea. Bi Luo Chun is another of China’s famous teas also known as Xia Sha Ren Xiang which translates as Astounding Fragrance. Bi Luo Chun roughly translates as “little green snail shells” or “Green Snail Spring” because of the very unique way the leaves are tightly rolled into a spiral, like a snail. This tea is grown in the Lake Taihu area in the Zhejiang Province on high elevation mountain tops near two lakes. The clouds and mist from the lakes is perfect growing conditions for tea, and the surrounding fruit trees give extra aroma to the leaves. The leaves are picked in late spring, and usually processed into green tea. Staff tasting impressions: Smooth, mellow and rich. Fresh water in autumn, golden leaves, mild honey and caramel, just baked pastry. Great with or without milk.
This gold-colored tea of mostly unopened leaf buds has deep, rich flavors, very smooth.
Staff tasting impressions: molasses, tobacco, sage, touch of plum, mellow, Tahitian vanilla beans, roasted corn, very refined.
Organic Earl Grey blends bold-flavored Yunnan Dian Hong harvested from antique tea trees with natural Bergamot citrus from Southern Italy.
Our House Chai blended with organic Assam black tea.
Traditional flavored black tea from the Guangdong Province naturally scented with the juice of Dragon Eye (or Longan) fruit.
PU ERH TEAS
Pu Erh teas are grown in the Yunnan, China and can be white, green or black teas that undergo a very slow “fermentation” by being aged deep in caves of that province for many years, even decades. Legend has it that Pu Erh helps with weight loss, assimilation of fat, lowering cholesterol, and hangovers.
1996 Pu Erh
Large leaf from ancient trees. Steep a long time to allow the leaves to open, and will take a minimum of 3 pots to maximize the flavors! Staff tasting impressions: Has notes subtle tobacco and roasted barley, sweet and creamy finish, and a good amount of earthy, mineral cave aroma.
Ginger Pu Erh
Organic Pu Erh and ginger, both known to be good for digestion, they work well together.
Staff tasting impressions: Candied ginger at first, then gingerbread, raisins, pears, earthy.
HERBAL AND SPICE “TEAS”
Organic and wild-crafted. The benefits of licorice are too many to list, anti-depressant, chronic fatigue and asthma to name a few. The mint brings out the flavor, and this tastes unlike any licorice we’ve ever had.
Ginger Turmeric Tea
All organic ginger, turmeric, licorice, orange, lemongrass and lemon
Organic peppermint, spearmint and fieldmint
Chamomile & Vanilla
Organic chamomile, fennel seed, licorice root and vanilla pod
Tulsi Holy Basil
Organic blend of the three tulsi plants: Krishna, Vana and Rama.
Herbal Green Tea
Traditional Korean tisane made from Mulberry leaves that are processed just like green tea- but no caffeine.
Caffeine-free blend of organic spices: Rooibos and the ancient Ayurvedic recipe of cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, ginger and black pepper. We also have a Black Chai.
Organic Rooibos from the Cedarberg Mountains of South Africa blended with vanilla, orange and blue mallow.
The most prized of all cinnamons for it’s high essential oil content and sweetness.