2022 pressing, not on website
Mornings at One River Tea’s traditional Tujia house in Maiyingtai village always started slowly. The three of us are not early risers. Tea in the house is made with water pumped from the river up into the village’s concrete reservoir. The river named Loushuiyuan (for which the local tea cooperative is named) runs through the valley bottom as a beautiful streak of aquamarine. In the kitchen’s wood wall, there’s a tap with a tiny filter on it that I’m not convinced does much to remove the river sediment. No bother, though; it’s very clean-tasting water and never made me sick. We’d prepare morning tea drank from Coca-Cola glasses sized and shaped like the cans.
It’s a lazy, cold and sunny Saturday morning at the end of October. I’m sipping on the last of this tea in one of those glasses, much like mornings in China but with city tap instead of aquamarine river water. Probably 3g to 300mL of 200F water, grandpa. The tea has a glassy, nectarous licorice root taste and texture before the tight compression of the cake gives way. It’s a substantial, though not heavy feeling tea once it finally opens up. Bright and fresh yet with rich, mature tastes of natural cherry candy, fresh mushrooms, honey, citrus, wood, a bit of goji berry, mineral cleansing. Very clean and sweet aftertaste. The taste gets woodier with nice raspy tannins as I move into the fifth pour, still bright in taste, a little cocoa. High in caffeine but comfortable and with great longevity, all of which would make it a good partner for busy days in the office. Enjoyable red tea, sad to see it go.
Flavors: Brandy, Bright, Candy, Cherry, Citrus, Clean, Clear, Cocoa, Goji, Honey, Licorice Root, Mineral, Mushrooms, Nectar, Rich, Sweet, Tannin, Wood