Hefeng Solidarity Sampler
One River Tea
As we continue to develop as tea specialists, the time is long overdue to reactivate our Solidarity Trust. Past efforts at profit sharing were too premature and unfocused to make a meaningful difference for any single supplying producer. This summer, as we expand our volunteer project in Hefeng County, we are happy to launch this new sampler as a means of directly supporting cooperative households in the Loushuiyuan Cooperative. In this $45 sampler, $8.50 covers our own labor costs, $6.50 goes to the cooperative, and $30 goes straight to the member households. We will do pay-outs at the end of June and December to households that the Loushuiyan Cooperative recommend for their compliance with organic standards, good field management, or financial need. We want to encourage these farming households to put more faith in organic management methods and cooperative marketing.
While this is certainly a sampler oriented towards charity, it is also a collection of unique teas at a competitive price. In this sampler, you will get:
-Hefeng Maojian 25 grams
-Hefeng Red 25 grams
-Hefeng Shaigan 5 grams
In processing, Hefeng Maojian is a fairly standard upper-mid market Hongqing, baked green tea. There are more than a dozen variations of baked Maojian tea in China, and Hefeng’s version is not especially distinct from the better known Maojian made in the nearby counties of Wufeng and Guzhang. Just like these other variations, this Maojian is largely straight and needle-like in shape, solidly green in leaf color, and more unambiguously savory than other styles of Chinese green teas. Unlike your average neighborhood Maojian, the green tea in this sampler was all picked from local heirloom varietals. The first four orders will also contain exclusively Maojian that we picked and sorted ourselves.
Hefeng Red is a modern spin on Hubei’s OG black tea for export, Yihong. It is picked a month later than the Maojian from the very same heirloom bushes. Like most black teas in China today, it is a relatively sweet, mild black tea that is less oxidized and more visually appealing than past generations of Lipton-like bagged tea. This a perfect red tea to drink gongfu style at night when you want some natural sweetness and stomach relief without too much of a caffeine rush.
Hefeng Shaigan is a re-creation of what tea used to be in Hefeng before the 1990’s. It starts out with the same pick and initial steps as Maojian, but it is not kneaded fully and dried by sunshine rather than a modern oven. Unlike any tea that you have ever had, the last processing step, tixiang, happens in your own kitchen. The tea leaves need to be heated in a ceramic or metal vessel over a gentle flame until the leaves become aromatic but not burnt prior to infusing them. Old timers in Hefeng claim this processing style offers a better aroma and gentler flavor, but it is a style that has almost been completely lost to history. We have made about 150 grams of this tea, meaning we can fulfill 30 orders before it is all gone. Try it while supplies last.