Just as the Yixing region’s teapots are beautifully crafted down to the most subtle details, so is the region’s tea. Everyone in the Chinese tea drinking world knows about Yixing teapots, and a quick internet search will bring up countless websites and blogs about their exquisite clay teapots. But there is another side to Yixing that most people never discover, not even within China. Yixing produces are very fine tea, a tea they swear by, the only tea they will use to clean, shine, and brighten their beloved pots. As one teapot master once explained to us, “Our pots come from our clay. Our clay come from our soil, and our tea comes from our soil. That is why we only clean our pots with our tea, to bring out its full potential.”
So how did we discover this tea? More importantly, how do we have access to it? Well, without getting into too much detail, let’s just say we have friends. Yes, we have still more friends, even in Yixing, who are willing to save their precious tea for us to promote it, exclusively. That’s right, you can’t even find this tea on the Chinese market. It is produced in the mountains outside of Yixing by the Yixing people, for the Yixing people. Our friends, who also make and supply our Yixing clay teapots and tea sets, are willing to set aside a very limited quantity of tea each harvest to supply us with a unique tea, both in name and taste.
In many ways Yixing black tea is a typical black tea, almost like our wild-grown qimen, but its flavor goes beyond other black teas. It tastes and smells instantly of a fine Swiss chocolate, then quickly washes in with a smoky evergreen hint, and finishes smoothly with a strawberry aftertaste. It avoids the strong earthiness and bitterness that some black teas can have, but if steeped too long or at very high temperatures it can pack a punch.