Min Hong Gong Fu Black Teas

A Trio of Min Hong Gong Fu Black Tea

Min Hong Gong fu teas are sweet, very stylish, slightly floral, slightly fruity, slightly malty, tippy black teas made in the eastern part of northern Fujian – north of the Min River, which is a geograpical divider between the teas from north and south Fujian.

These three teas are historic and important teas and are made in Fuan county, Fuding county and Zhenghe county, the same places where authentic Fujian white tea is made. In fact, some of these teas are made with the large leaf Da Bai cultivar that is used to make white tea, and also from a small leaf cultivar named Xiao Ye Zhong.

Min Hong teas were among the first black teas made in China, and Western tea drinkers would have known these teas (or a similar, earlier version) by the late 17th century. Other historic teas made in this area fell out of production in the 20th century, but these superb teas remain in manufacture today.

We are proud and excited to offer our tea enthusiast customers this special sampler of eastern China black teas that are not commonly seen in the US. All of these teas are of a high grade that contains a quantity of sweet tips – sip these black teas plain and you may find that no milk or sugar is needed.

The Tea Trekker Min Bei Sampler includes:

Bai Lin Gongfu

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This slender, slightly twisted, tippy Fujian black tea is produced in the town of Hu Lin in Fuding County. Here, gongfu black teas are processed from the Fuding Da Bai cultivar, which is also used to produce the most famous bud-pluck white tea – Yin Zhen – which is made in some nearby villages.

This is a Chinese black tea for tea enthusiasts who enjoy the style of fruity Ceylon black teas. Bai Lin is light but distinctive and has a soft-flavor profile and underlying sweetness characteristic of many Chinese black teas.

Panyang Gongfu

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Today, Panyang village primarily makes green tea. But fortunately for lovers of fine hong cha, a handful of tea companies still make Panyang gongfu.

This tea is among the finest manufactures of hong cha in China. Once made initially for export to the West,  these fully-oxidized teas are much in demand among knowledgeable Asian/Chinese tea drinkers.

Fine and thin, the well-twisted & rolled budsets of this tea are gloriously perfect in size and form. The tea is comprised of a significant amount of dark-golden tip, more so than what is found in most Panyangs. This gives the tea a bright aroma of tea and caramel, the trademark aroma of Panyang hong cha.

In the cup, the aroma continually changes and shows incredible complexity. Hints of the aroma of grilled meat, to plum sauce, to chocolate cake with a rich pear buttercream frosting are just a few of the ideas proposed by those who have tasted this exquisite tea.

The flavor is complex, with a pleasant astringency. Both chocolate and cocoa are found here, with cocoa being predominant, followed by raisin and mild chile. The overall flavor is rich and mouth-filling and the body is deep and satisfying.

Zhenghe Gongfu

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Thin, straight and wiry, this traditional pluck has a well-balanced proportion of golden tip to budset. The budset and tip are each of an even size and color and the aroma of the dry leaf suggests both biscuit and nut. This is a rich, fragrant but mild black tea with a brilliant golden-amber color in the cup.

The aroma and flavor are complimentary, both offering smooth, soft and round characteristics and a suggestion of  wheat toast and caramel. The leaf has been carefully fired in the manufacture, and the liquor has a touch of ripe stone fruit in the taste.

NOTE:

What is gongfu tea? 

We are often asked about the meaning of gong fu tea as many know this term to refer to a skillful style of Chinese presenting, steeping, and serving tea.

Yes, but the term gongfu alone means ‘skillful’. So, gongfu or gongfu cha is used to distinguish certain high-quality Chinese hong cha (black tea) that are made with discipline and skill and excellent crafting.

Gongfu black tea represents the Chinese approach to premium-quality tea making which values the taste of the tea;  sweet, rich flavors in the cup; and a stylish appearance of the dried leaf. These qualities come from whole tea leaves that have been carefully crafted and fully oxidized.

These teas are not the same as China’s standard black teas that are exported in large quantities and often sold to companies who will add these teas to average quality proprietary blends. Such teas, for example, are sold simply as Fujian black or Hunan black tea without further place of origin attached.

So, gongfu does have two meanings and it can be a bit confusing. For instance, one can serve gongfu cha or congou tea gongfu-style and enjoy a skillful presentation of a skillfully made, delicious tea.

Hong Cha

Fall is underway. Cool days and nights make us wish for stronger tasting teas. Chinese hong cha is the perfect choice in this time of changing weather. Warm, rich, sweet, smooth, deliciously full in the mouth…Chinese hong cha has many styles and tastes to discover.Hong cha, known as red tea in China (for the amber/ red colored tea liquor in the cup) and black tea in the West (for the dark color of the dried tea leaf), was the final type of tea to be developed by Chinese tea makers in the latter half of the 17th century.

Hong cha are full-bodied and smooth in the cup – their flavors suggest chocolate, dark red fruits, woody aromatic spices such as cinnamon, caramel, malt, with the gentle aroma of ‘biscuit’ such as that of a petit beurre. Some types of hong cha feature a touch of delicate smoke, or a flinty, brisk characteristic known as ‘winey’.

Almost all have a sweet finish that leaves a pleasant aftertaste in the mouth.

Hong cha is made in several provinces of China

Anhui, Fujian, Guangdong, Sichuan, and Yunnan

This tea is generally comprised of large, somewhat thick and dark, brownish-black or grey-black, fragrant leaves, while the bud-only style has a glorious straight or slightly twisted or curled form, and tends to be golden in color due to the lack of pigmentation in the freshly-plucked bud or budset. However, all are fully oxidized and worthy of your attention.

We think that Chinese black teas are among the tastiest black teas made anywhere. They represent centuries of workmanship and the distinctions of terroir, and all are wonderful drunk plain, without milk or sugar. We have recently added several new Yunnan black teas to our already large collection of these wonderful teas.

2014 Korean Green Tea

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New teas continue to arrive almost daily as the time has come for us to start receiving seasonal spring teas from Japan and Korea.

Yes… I just said KOREA…..as in SOUTH KOREA!

It as been 4 years since we first introduced these wonderful and unique green tea from Hadong County and the environ of Mt.Jiri, South Korea. For lovers of fine green teas, these teas are distinctively different from both Chinese and Japanese green teas. And, Hadong County tea is available in very limited quantities comparative to spring green teas from China and Japan and other tea producing regions of South Korea.

These are the same teas from the same producer ( 2014 crop ) at virtually the same prices as we sold these teas for in 2010 and 2011, the last two years when we featured these Korean green teas. While these teas are pricey ( they are pricey in South Korea, too) this is a great opportunity for our tea enthusiast customers to experience FRESH, FRESH, FRESH versions of these delicious teas at a fair price.

Read more here:  http://www.teatrekker.com/teas/other-countries/korea/green-tea

Additionally, we have also received the first of our 2014 Japanese green teas, along with some exciting new teas, one of which has been created just for Tea Trekker. We are unpacking these teas now and will feature them in a post and on the website in the next few days.

LIfe is good !

 

More 2014 Chinese Green Teas Have Arrived

Our store has suddenly become a whirlwind of boxes and air cargo deliveries of tea.
Tea, glorious tea – fresh and fragrant and newly born from emerging tea leaves in awakening tea gardens.

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Zhu Ye Qing

 

Several of the 2014 Chinese green teas that many of our customers have been waiting for are now here. These are Pre-Qing Ming teas meaning that they were processed before April 5th. This is what we have:

We announced the arrival of these teas on Sunday to our loyal tea enthusiast customers on our mailing list and several of these teas now have a big dent in the remaining quantities. So do not dally if you are interested in purchasing some of these very fresh and newly made teas.

Remember, that these teas are ONLY MADE ONCE A YEAR  (now) and WHEN THEY ARE GONE, THEY ARE GONE.

More 2014 spring China green teas are still to arrive as the spring unfolds and the teas come into production. But the teas mentioned above are made in the smallest quantity given the time-frame of their harvest dates (mid-March until April 5th).

 

 

2014 Longjing Tea Has Arrived

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This year we are quite pleased to announce the arrival of the first two of our 4 Longjing (DragonWell) offerings for the season. Our ShiFeng and Weng-jia Shan Longjing shipments arrived on Saturday and are ready for drinking.

These geographically-highly-controlled selections are made from pre-Qing Ming leaf (plucked prior to April 5, 2014) and represent some of the most elegant and sought-after teas of eastern China.

To read more about Tea Trekker’s Longing here or to place an order visit:

http://www.teatrekker.com/

Stay tuned for additional Chinese spring green teas arriving soon.