This very special sampler highlights some of our most refined and unique teas, hand-produced in traditional styles. Taiwan produces some of the world’s finest oolong teas, like the superb Tung Ting Formosa “Green Dragon” Oolong. Japan is also known for exceptionally delicate (and exceptionally expensive!) traditional teas, and this bundle is a great way to sample two iconic Japanese offerings, Org. Roasted Kukicha (“Twig Tea”), a celebrated low-caffeine health tonic, and a brand new fresh 2020 harvest of the out-of-this world Hachiju-Hachiya Shincha (“88th Night First Flush Tea”)
3 packages of 2 oz each, this bundle includes:
Very lightly oxidized (less than 10%), these leaves are dark glossy green and mostly still intact, with 3-4 attractive serrated leaves on each stem uncurling impressively to fill up the steeping vessel and infuse an amber liquor with a wonderful woody-nutty aroma.
Well-suited to refined tastes, it is less sweet than most of our teas, yet still has a rich velvety mouth-feel. Dominated by buttery-nutty flavors at the front, complimented by minor malty and astringent layers which are mostly overpowered by a bouquet of floral notes including dandelion and vanilla, and eventually superseded by cedar, almond, pomegranate, and melon tones which linger with only a hint of dryness.
“Tung Ting” translates as “Frozen Summit,” the name of the mountain where these leaves are grown. See the product page for more on the careful artisanal processing of this hardy tea.
Steeping Time – 3-6 Minutes
Water Temp – 180-200 F
Perfectly processed tea leaves from Luku Township, Taiwan.
“Hachiju-Hachiya” means “88th Night,” and refers to the 88th date after the traditional Japanese Lunar New Year. Generally falling on or near May 2nd, this is a time when tea buds are just beginning to unfold. In Japanese, these first-flush teas are called “shincha” and are regarded very highly – some claim that even a single cup of fresh Hachiju-Hachiya tea can promote health and vigor throughout the year!
The stunningly jade-colored leaves are tiny, precisely rolled, and very attractive. Carefully cultivated, hand-plucked, immediately and expertly processed by the most skilled tea masters, this exceptional tea is rare and very special. It has a distinctly Japanese flavor profile – delicate and fragrant, with dancing floral, cured hay, and seaside aromas, it also has a lovely buttery mouthfeel, very low astringency and absolutely zero bitterness, with subtle chrysanthemum, vanilla, and barley notes rounding out the richly nuanced sweet/savory tones, plus long-lasting umami aftertaste. Read more about region, cultivar, growing and processing methods on the product page.
Steeping Time: 30-60 seconds
Water Temp: 170-180 F
Finest young shincha tea leaves
Kukicha – “twig tea” – is frequently enjoyed as a health tonic due to its high antioxidants and low caffeine. Kukicha is quite literally the twigs and stems of the tea plant, mostly byproducts removed from the leaves during processing. But this very mild tea is recommended as a balancing and restorative elixir.
Roasting adds more robust and well-rounded flavors, appealing more to Western tastes. It is still a very mild tea, with pale orange liquor and a subtle aroma, easy on the belly, calming and warming rather than stimulating. Flavors tend toward nutty with subdued notes of cedar, canteloupe, jasmine, plus a unique tone that stands out compared to other teas – rich and buttery oats. Kukichas are known for being “creamy” and this roasted variety seems to have even more thick silky body. This unusual tea produces very different cups at a shorter or longer steep – read more on the product page.
Steeping Time – 3-7 minutes
Water Temp – 170 F
Subtly roasted organic green tea twigs