If you could only show someone five loose leaf teas, what would they be?
This is a sample box designed to give experienced tea drinkers a taste of some of the best teas from different production styles. Each of our entries for green, white, red, oolong, and dark tea are unique, high quality, and affordable. They represent the best that these five production categories have to offer.
In this box:
14g Golden Green Tea (cream, spinach) 14g 2018 White Peony (honey, vanilla) 14g Brother's Dancong (cinnamon, sage) 14g Unsmoked Old Bush Lapsang Souchong (berries, clove) 14g Laos Green (cream, honey)
All of these teas have been sourced directly from their respective producers:
Golden Green, like most Chinese green teas, is pan roasted and picked according to the two-leaf-one-bud principle. It does however also have a uniquely full and mellow flavor as well as a relatively high animo acid content.This is a chemically and gastronomically excellent tea that deserves your attention. It is one of the few Chinese green teas rich and mellow enough to be palatable to even the most green-avoidant tea drinkers.
Far more well-known than Golden Green is White Peony. With its nuanced notes of floral, vegetal, and sweet flavors, White Peony is one of the most popular picks of white tea for good reason. Our 2018 sample here has the distinction of being aged, making it sweeter and mellower than more recent harvests. This is a calming tea well suited to extended afternoon or evening gongfu brewing.
This is a medium-light range roasted Dancong that has had time to rest. Carefully picked from a mid-mountain property, its quality production is reflected in the smooth repeated brewing one can extract from this tea. Throughout a few infusions, the drinker will enjoy flavors that are first sweet and spicy, then thickly vegetal.
Unsmoked Lapsang Souchong in China has largely replaced its the smoked variant that still has a place in grocery stores and cafes abroad. While the dry leaves of our sample here still has the characteristic darkness and shape of traditional gongfu red tea, it has also the sweetness and mellowness of modern Chinese red teas. This sample is also part of the minority of Lapsong that definitively comes from the original Tongmuguan production area and the indigenous Xiaozhong tea bushes that grow there.
Now separated on a map from the large-leaf tea trees indigenous to Yunnan's Menghai and Yiwu regions, the ancient Laotian tea trees of Phongsaly produce tea of similar quality and form. This Laos "green" is a dark tea similar to the raw puer one finds in Yiwu. While still relatively sweet, this tea also packs a variety of spicy, bitter, vegetal, and floral notes that only raw puer could deliver.