Our specialty teas
Each month, we send our subscription customers two different loose-leaf artisan teas, each with a unique fragrance and flavour. We focus on high grade, single origin tea from the six different categories – white, green, yellow, oolong, black and dark. The teas we include in our boxes are very different to what you typically find in New Zealand. Our expertise lies in single-origin, 'pure leaf tea' - that is, tea that comes from the tea plant, Camellia Sinensis. We don't do blends, flavoured tea or herbals infusions. Other companies do those so well already. There are between 2,000 and 3,000 different types of artisan tea produced across the world, so we hope you will always something interesting and exciting on your doorstep.
To help you picture what you might receive, here are some teas that have appeared in our monthly subscription boxes.
Dark (fermented) tea
White Puerh Bud, China
Honey, cut hay, flowers
This delicate new form of Puerh tea is fermented in the traditional way, but only using unopened downy leaf buds plucked from ancient Puerh tea trees in Yunnan province. Pick up the plump dry leaves, look closely and you will notice the delicate hairs on each leaf – feel their softness between your fingers. Steep this tea four times and you will find delicate, sweet floral, honey and cut hay notes that change slightly with each infusion. While this looks like a white tea, its fermented nature is given away by the animal-like musky notes of the wet leaf aroma.
Tangerine Ripe Puerh, China
Tangerine, mushroom, damp earth, leather
These leaves have been rapidly fermented with moisture and high humidity, pressed into a tangerine rind, then dried in the sun for a week. The result is a typical earthy, leathery puerh tea but with a citrus flavour twist. You can either scoop the leaves out and steep alone, or break off some of the rind to infuse with the leaves for a more citrusy flavour. This tea pairs beautifully with a firm cheese - goats cheese in particular.
Doke Black Fusion, India
Caramel, molasses, malt, spice finish
Nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas in North East India, Doke Tea is a relatively new tea garden that prides itself on its sustainable practices as well as its white, green and black teas – a variety of tea styles that is unique for a tea estate in India. This is its signature black tea. When you pour Doke Black Fusion you will be rewarded with a vibrant, amber-coloured liquor, and notes of caramel, molasses, malt, pine and a spice finish. In subsequent steeps, the sweet notes reduce, giving way to a more malty flavour and astringent mouthfeel.
Black Gold Pearls, China
Malt, chocolate, sweet and spicy
Buds and leaves from the 2018 Spring harvest in Feng Qing, China, have been expertly hand-rolled into these beautiful pearls. Watch as the leaves unfurl and the flavours reveal themselves over multiple infusions. This imperial grade of tea has visible golden ‘tips’ weaved throughout each pearl. The malty, chocolate notes mean this tea works nicely with a morning or afternoon snack of bliss balls, nuts, chocolate biscuits and pastries.
Jin Jun Mei, China (organic)
Honey, warmed wood, malt, flowers
A high-grade, organic black tea from Tongmu village in the Wuyi Mountains, Fujian province, China. To create this tea, also known as 'Golden Beautiful Eyebrows’, two small shoots are carefully hand-plucked early in the Chinese Spring. The leaves are fully oxidised then handsomely twisted, creating a striking deep russet-red liquor and clean and full-bodied flavour. You will taste sweet, fruity, woody and flowery notes, deep smokey undertones and a long-lasting honey and chocolate aftertaste. The flavour is both smooth and sweet with a pleasant note of malt.
Keemun Congou, China
Malt, milk chocolate, raisins
This Chinese black tea is enjoyed by Britain’s Royal Family and is considered a delicacy in the British market. Keemun Congou comes from Qimen County, Anhui Province in China. Once processed, the dry leaves have a beautiful twisted appearance and they produce a deep copper infusion. The brewed tea has a lovely aroma of sweet malt biscuits and a flavour of milk chocolate, malt and raisins.
Black Pine Needle, China
Chocolate, dried fruit, spice
This premium black tea comes from Shi Aan Village, Yunnan, China. Yunnan is the birthplace of tea and this particular style of black tea was first produced more than 1500 years ago, making it one of the world’s oldest teas. Once you have poured the tea, close your eyes and its delicious aroma might remind you of a freshly baked chocolate tart. It has a slightly earthier edge than some Chinese black teas and this, along with its chocolate and dried fruit notes, creates a lovely mellow infusion.
Kenilworth Ceylon Orange Pekoe
Robust and rich, sweet malt, oak
Kenilworth estate produces some of the best teas in Sri Lanka. The estate is renowned for its full-bodied, strong liquors and is considered to be the hallmark of Ceylon medium-grown teas. This particular tea is grown at a medium altitude of just over 600m above sea level. It is a bold leaf style with small, twisted leaves that produce a deep, earthy copper infusion and a sweet, robust flavour with notes of malt and oak.
Runglee Rungliot Darjeeling
Stewed apricots, floral and aromatic
This classic, medium bodied Darjeeling has a bright and vibrant burnt orange liquor and a delightful aroma. In your first infusion, you will taste notes of stewed stone fruit followed by a floral and grassy finish. In the second infusion, the stewed fruit and floral notes remain but the grassy finish is replaced by a subtle spice note. Darjeeling is known as the ‘Champagne of tea’ and this one exhibits the distinct Darjeeling character.
Da Hong Pao 'Big Red Robe, China
Wood, walnut, spice
Da Hong Pao comes from the well-known mountainous area of Wuji Rock, in Fujian, China. It is one of the famous ‘rock oolongs’. The leaves for this tea can only be plucked from a few select tea bushes that are thought to have lived for hundreds of years. Da Hong Pao means ‘Big Red Robe’, named after red robes that were draped over specific tea bushes said to have cured an Emperor’s ill mother in the 1300s. Da Hong Pao’s large twisted leaves produce warm, roasty notes of wood, walnut and spice.
Cassia oolong, 'Roi Gui', China
Cinnamon, dried fruit, apple, wood
Roi Gui is a unique oolong from the famous Wuyi Mountains in Fujian province, China. If steeped carefully, its leaves can be infused up to seven times, with each infusion rewarding you with different notes; think sweet spice, woody and fruity aromas alongside cinnamon, nut, apple, tree bark and dried fruit flavours. Roi Gui is known as ‘Cassia Oolong’ because of its distinctive cinnamon note, which sets it apart from other teas of its kind.
The Meadow, Taiwan
Flowers, cream, passionfruit
This is a fresh and lively lightly oxidised oolong, grown, harvested and processed by the Yang family in Taiwan. It has a beautiful, Spring-time flavour of flowers and cream with a touch of passionfruit. Careful processing means that, while it is a light style tea, it has a punchy body and a hint of acidity, making it a nice afternoon pick-me-up on its own or as a companion to food.
Jade oolong, Taiwan
Floral, buttered greens, fruity finish
This well-known tea comes from the mountainous region of Nantou, Taiwan, where it is harvested twice a year. After being plucked and withered, these leaves are lightly oxidised then heated, rolled and compressed multiple times to release their aromatic oils, creating their wonderful fragrance. This process also produces the lovely bead shape of the dried leaves. A highly prized tea, Jade Oolong has a delightful flowery aroma, brisk flavour, and a smooth body with notes of buttered greens followed by a fruity finish.
Tie Guan Yin, China
Floral, nutty, earthy
Tie Guan Yin is a premium Chinese oolong made up of tightly rolled leaves which slowly unfurl as they steep. A lot of time is taken to produce this style of tea; after plucking, withering and oxidising, the tea master wraps the leaves in a cloth and places this into a mould which is used to roll the leaves into their unique bead shape. Tie Guan Yin is a lightly-oxidised oolong with a sweet orchid and milky aroma and a floral, nutty and earthy flavour. Also known as ‘Iron Goddess of Mercy’, Tie Guan Yin is produced in Anxi region, Fujian Province, China.
Huo Shan Yellow Bud, China
Floral, grassy, mellow
Huo Shan Yellow Bud has been made since the Ming Dynasty in China (1368 – 1644AD) and was classed as a ‘tribute tea’ – a fine tea made for the Chinese Emperor. After plucking, the leaves are crafted with great care. They are oxidised multiple times, in-between heating, shaping and baking. This is a light and delicate tea with soft floral and vegetal notes and a subtle nutty finish.
Huang Da Cha 'Big Yellow Tea', China
Roasted coffee beans, tobacco, berries
Huang Da Cha is a rare yellow tea grown at an elevation of 1000m in the rocky, mountainous region of Huo Shan, Anhui province. It is also known as ‘Big Yellow Tea’ because of its large leaf size. Start your tea ritual by smelling the highly aromatic dry leaves and experience the sweet notes of flowers, fruit and chocolate. The brewed tea has a beautiful roasty aroma and a roasted coffee bean flavour followed by a soft tobacco tail. In your second infusion you might notice sweeter notes of berry and caramel alongside the hints of coffee.
Gyokuro 'Pearl Dew' (organic), Japan
Seaweed, greens, hint of nut
Gyokuro, which translates to ‘Pearl Dew’, is one of the highest-grade teas produced in Japan. A few weeks before harvest, the tea plants are shaded – a process which intensifies the chlorophyll content and the deep-green colour of the leaves. Once plucked, the leaves go through more than eight different processes which deepen the flavours as well as the levels of beneficial amino acids. Gyokuro’s deep jade, slender leaves infuse into a pleasant, savoury tea with notes of seaweed, spinach and green beans, followed by a mild nutty, umami aftertaste.
Genmaicha (organic), Japan
Savoury, nutty, toasty, grassy
Genmaicha is often called ‘Popcorn tea’ and is made by blending Japanese green tea (in this case sencha) with roasted rice. The toasted notes of the rice complement the savoury profile of the sencha, creating a fulfilling tea that works well with food or on its own. If you would like to pair Genmaicha with food, try it with chicken, vegetables, noodle and rice dishes and Japanese cuisine in particular.
Hojicha (organic), Japan
Coffee, hazelnut, toast, caramel
Hojicha is a roasted Japanese tea made with mature leaves and stalks. The roasting process creates the warm brown colour of the leaves, its mild coffee-like aroma, and the toasty, nutty flavour. The stalks add a sweet, caramel finish.
Hojicha has a low caffeine content, making it the perfect choice for a relaxing, after-dinner drink.
Long Jing (Dragon Well), China
Roasted chestnut, spinach, melon
Long Jing is the most famous green tea in China. Its emerald green leaves are smooth and flat, shaped by a skilled hand in a hot wok; a technique perfected by tea masters over many centuries. This beautiful tea is made almost entirely by hand. Long Jing is also known as Dragon Well, which, according to Chinese legend, was the name bestowed upon the local tea crop after a dragon hiding in a well broke a long drought many centuries ago. Long Jing is a lovely smooth tea with a fresh cut grass, spinach and sweet melon aroma and a roasted chestnut and refreshing vegetal flavour.
Cui Ming 'Emerald Bright', China
Chestnut, green vegetables, hint of fruit
Cui Ming means 'Emerald Bright', reflecting its bright green and silver-white leaves that are grown in the highlands of Simao, Yunnan province, China. Cui Ming produces a bright, sunshine yellow liquor and a flavour of chestnut and green vegetables, accompanied by a hint of fruit. It is a full-bodied Chinese green tea that is pungently active in the mouth.
Jasmine Pearls (organic), China
Jasmine, fresh cut hay
Fresh organic Jasmine flowers are layered over freshly-plucked Spring tea leaves multiple times, allowing the tea leaves to naturally absorb the flowers’ aroma. The petals are then discarded and the tea leaves expertly hand-rolled into small pearls, sealing in the floral aroma. This premium grade tea is highly aromatic with notes of Jasmine and fresh-cut hay.
Jing Gu White Pekoe Silver Needles, China
Sweet hay, sugarcane, lychee
These plump, soft downy buds are the first flush of 2018, plucked by hand in the Chinese Spring. After a brief wilting period, they are dried with warm wind that is tunnelled through the tea. This is a refreshing, sweet and nicely rounded white tea with a pale sun-set yellow liquor and notes of hay, sugarcane and lychee fruit. It also works well using the cold brew technique – steeped in cold water in the fridge overnight.
Early Spring Sun-dried Wild Buds, China
Rose petals, lavender, melon, sundried hay, soft and delicate
These beautiful tea buds not only smell like rose petals, but the soft, layered buds look just like a rose that is about to bloom. This 2019 early-Spring harvest white tea has a soft, floral body and hints of honeydew, watermelon and a touch of sun-dried hay. Its spring-time flavour and clean and refreshing mouthfeel make it the perfect tea to sip outside in the garden all afternoon.