LIN'S RED is a hongcha ("red tea", or black tea as it's understood in the west) from the Lin family in Chaozhou, Guangdong, China. The Lins are a 3rd generation dancong producing family, but posses an adventurous spirit—a quality we value highly in our partnerships at origin—making white tea and black tea with a small portion of their dancong trees. This lot is of mi lan xiang ("honey orchid scent") cultivar material grown at 600 meters that undergoes a fundamentally dancong process, but with an extended oxidation phase. The tea is hand-harvested in spring from 80 year old trees, rolled and bruised to about 90% oxidation, and roasted in three rounds at 105ºC to fix (halt oxidation) and dry.
Made in an effort to avoid overstocking mi lan xiang dancong, our producer, Song Lin, produced a black tea wholly on-par with the finest examples of Fujian hong cha—the material is beautiful, the flavor clean and distinct, its backstory just plain interesting. Plus, the lot tested clean of all synthetic agrochemicals at our 3rd party laboratory. Cupped next to Song's mi lan xiang dancong—which we passed on this year in favor of his ya shi xiang and da wu ye—the teas share undeniable expressions of cultivar and terroir.
Song's hongcha is a fascinating glimpse into the influence a tea's genetic origin has on its final character. When oxidized more heavily, mi lan xiang material—traditionally rich with lychee, honey, and floral tannins—develops a soft nuttiness with the subtle tartness present in most eastern Chinese black teas, but remarkably, zero astringency. Push this tea and some will show up, but at our parameters you'll enjoy a salted pistachio note with a consistent smoothness through many steeps.
vintage —spring '22
style —hong cha("red tea")
cultivar(s) — shui xian / mi lan xiang
region —Chaozhou, Guangdong, China
locale — Lin Dancong Farm
elevation —600 meters
producer — Song Lin
nomenclature —hong (紅)—"red" | cha (茶)—"tea"
(use freshly boiled spring water)
modern, large format [300 ml+ vessel — BOLI, large teapot]
4 grams — 200°F (93°C) — 2 minutes
traditional, small format [150 ml- vessel —gaiwan, small teapot]
6 grams — 200°F (93°C) — 20 seconds (no rinse) +20-25 seconds each additional steep