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A sweet, malty, single-estate black tea from the famous Taoist mountain Laoshan near Qingdao in Shandong province, the closest tea-producing area to the Chinese capital Beijing. The Mou Family’s small 14 acre estate produces tea by natural bio-farming methods and they do not use any artificial fertilisers or pesticides.
Laoshan tea has a relatively short history, with plants brought over from Hangzhou in the 1950s to see if they could thrive in Laoshan’s tough winter conditions. Laoshan is one of the most northerly tea growing areas in China and the harsh winter when the ground freezes over and the plants have to be covered means growth is slowed down, leading to more concentration of flavour and texture compounds when the tea buds again in the spring.
This is an exceptionally sweet black tea with a concentrated toffee aroma and a lovely maltiness reminiscent of oats and breakfast cereal. The sweetness is strong but complex, almost like raw sugarcane, while the texture is thick and rich in the mouth. This is our benchmark for a high quality, everyday, Chinese black tea and a great example of why tea from this region is becoming more and more in demand.
Best brewed using around 3-4g of leaf per 150ml and water just off the boil. It can just about take milk if brewed hard, but we would recommend it without.
Mou Family Farm, Lao Shan, Shandong, China
SIZE OF FARM
PLANTS AND PROCESSING
Camellia Sinensis Sinensis. Old Tree Long Jing cultivars. Harvested Spring 2016.
95°c without milk, 100°C with milk, 3-4g per 150ml. 4 infusions.
Mr. Mou & his family are quite new to tea as indeed is Laoshan, an area where tea production only started in the 1950s when Long Jing cultivars were brought over from Hangzhou . Before the mountain was better known for the home of the Taoist Immortals and its special water which is one reason the nearby Tsingtao beer was originally renowned as it used the mountain’s unique water. Working with us they developed a black tea which we nicknamed Beijing Breakfast as it is the closest black tea grown to Beijing not because all of Beijing’s residents start the day with it. Sadly Mr Mou and his fellow farmers will never produce enough for that to happen as their and Laoshan’s total production is tiny compared to other tea producing areas
The Mou family’s farm is also the most northerly tea farm we work with and the soil even freezes during winter time. As you can see in the pictures below Mr.Mou and his wife had to cover the tea plants with plastic sheets to keep them warm.