Perfect Wintertime Teas

February 17, 2020
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Winter can seem long and spring still deep beneath the snow. For those already dreaming of freshly picked teas, the waiting is a challenge. The aromatics of the spring harvest are but a distant aroma at the bottom of an empty bag. But hold on, luckily for us winter has excellent teas to offer to keep us going. In several countries, processing techniques have been developed to produce teas that are particularly well suited to the cold season. 

Here is a small overview of some traditional winter teas accompanied by our suggestions.

In China

Throughout the summer, producers in Fujian and Guangdong are roasting their teas to give the leaves their typical caramelized aromas. This process is the pride of this terroir. In the fall, after several rounds of charcoal roasting, these Wulongs are sold and consumed as the mercury begins to descend. Woody and toasted, with hazelnut or cocoa aromas, nothing warms up like a big cup of steaming Wulong.

Our suggestions:

Shui Xian Lao Cong

Certainly one of the most recognizable of the Wuyi Mountains “rock teas”, its rich caramelized aromas and mineral depth have made it a clear favourite of the region.

Chi Ye Bai Ye

This dark wulong from the Phoenix Moutains (Feng Huang) is a great example of balanced charcoal roasting: light chestnut aromas with a side of ripe fruits and a lingering flowery breath in the finish.

Rou Gui from M. Wu

Another famous cultivar from the Wuyi Mountains, this time with roasted nuts and spicy aromas. It’s flavour profile is marked by the mildly spicy flavor of Chinese cinnamon, a literal translation of Rou Gui!

In Taiwan

Highly aromatic, Taiwanese Wulongs always surprise with the intensity of their fragrances. In the mountains, the high altitude climate allows two interesting harvests per year: one in spring, the other in winter. While the spring harvests usually lean more towards floral and herbal aromas, the winter ones focus on notes of butter and exotic fruits with, as a bonus, incomparable textures in the mouth. Whatever your favorite Wulong style is (green, oxidized or cooked), our producers have a great winter version to offer.

Our suggestions:

Guei Fei

Harvested in the vicinity of Dong Ding, this Wulong packs generous aromas of flowers and red fruits in its silky liquor.

Pinglin Bao Zhong

The town of Pinglin remains true to the traditional style of "Bao Zhong" teas with the leaves rolled lengthways into twists. This green Wulong presents fresh aromas of spinach and flowers. Its velvety infusion is also slightly saline.

Mucha Tie Guan Yin

Classic Taiwanese style of roasted Wulong with notes of coffee, caramelized nuts and stewed berries.

In Japan

Japan is known on the world scene for its fresh green teas. But after the fall season, and despite the advanced conservation techniques developed by a state-of-the-art industry, the herbaceous luster that makes their reputation diminishes and quietly fades. Traditionally, two types of tea were produced in Japan for winter: Genmaicha and Hojicha. In the first, grilled rice grains are added to green tea leaves for a warm blend that will easily last during the cold season. In the second, producers roast their harvested stems and leaves to make a sweet beverage with hazelnut aromas that never fails to comfort. Low in caffeine, both of these are typically drunk by folk people during daytime and after meals. Sometimes even in the evening.

Our suggestions:

Genmaicha organic

Traditional Japanese blend of green tea leaves and grilled rice. Drink it for a warm and cozy moment.

Genmaicha sencha and matcha organic

Another version of the traditional Genmaicha, this time with matcha powder added for a caffeine boost and a delicious lively herbal contrast.

Hojicha Isagawa organic

Made from equal parts of roasted leaves and stems, this warm Japanese classic is often offered after meals.

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