Vintage Orange Pekoe Black Tea - 1970sTaiwan Sourcing
This tea was like a baby that was unwilling to wake up from its beautiful dream when we first encountered it. When you open the bag and smell the dry leaf you will notice an obvious raisin aroma. We were very interested in offering this aged Black tea because it's so rare to find one that has been stored well. Normally an aged tea will tend to have a strong "aged smell" and a sourness in it. This one, like our 1976 Vintage Oolong, has the clean character which would allow us to understand the era it belongs to more clearly.
The name Orange Pekoe, comes from the British Black Tea classification system. This Black Tea obtained this name due to the fact that it was once the tea for exporting purpose. Thanks to the still high demand in the pre-1980's era, Black Tea was one of the main export goods for Taiwan, and this tea was produced for export. (The full story of our Black Tea factory trip is related to this tea in some way). For some unknown reason, this tea was never exported, but kept stored well in an airtight case until now. There was only one such unopened case and we were able to obtain just a portion of that.
This is also the hardest tea for photography yet due to its fragility. Even though the leaves were large varietal, time has made them fragile and difficult to arrange into a single perfect leaf. As a result, for this tea we took a different approach for its appearance in the photo - not using a single leaf, but to arrange it into the look of "one bud, two leaves" as it would have looked originally.
The tea itself carries a fresh texture. You might think us a bit out of our mind to describe an vintage tea "fresh", but we must say this is probably the most accurate way to depict its character. We have read the story of the glorious past of black tea in Taiwan, now it's time to sit down, and savor that historical heyday.
Varietal: Multiple Large Leaf / 各式大葉種
Region: Nantou / 南投
Oxidation Level: 86%
Roast Level: 0
Aging Potential: High
Brewing Guide: We suggest using about 7 grams in a small yixing pot (150ml or so). We didn't throw away the rinse as it indicates the purity of how it was stored. First round was 15 seconds then added 15-30 seconds or so for the first 7 infusions. Then steep many minutes if you like.
Vibrant, honey and sweetness that can be infused 12-15 times! Clean aged hong cha taste.
This tea is both subtle and surprising. I brewed it as a special treat for 2 friends on a quiet evening. 5-6 grams goes a long way. The feeling in the body was serene yet wakeful...with a definite fruity richness that was such a joy. The real kicker was it steeps endlessly. After 10 or so rounds I let it steep over night, then proceeded to steep it many more times the next morning. There were incredible fruity sweet notes that reminded me of Yunnan black teas. Just such a special tea that is really worth putting away for a special occasion.
As an old dog who was fortunate enough to encountered our 1976 Oolong, this new vintage tea again reminded an old dog's reason for tea exploration. An old dog very rarely share how its tea was being brewed and drank with its paws and doggy mouth, but for this tea it is going to share it. An old dog had this tea in a quiet midnight and was using a Zhu Ni teapot so I can taste every aspect of it. An old dog only had very little amount of this tea since it was a sample, so it only placed around 5 grams of it into the teapot and used boiled water to wake it up. The water was injected carefully with a very thin parabola. At first the tea was not as strong as thought, but the body was conspicuous for everyone to notice its layer and texture. It still has some of the classical black tea flavor such as lemon, but eventually something surprising showed up - a hint of vegetable juice .This was a surprise, because that actually was an indicator of how clean this "vintage tea" was. An old dog had heard of this "vegetable juice" taste a while ago, but never experienced once. This tea brought an old dog a new definition and experience to the world of vintage tea. It would be inadequate to call it "amazing" since it had a very soothing character that would not grab you all the way to its world. Instead, it comforts you quietly with a soft and tender touch while allowing you to listen to its story on a comfortable cushion next to a warm fireplace. Serenity.