Wild Fields Wild Tian Jian (野田野生天尖黑茶, Yětián Yěshēng Tiān Jiān Hēi Chá, “Wild Field Wild Heaven Points Dark Tea") - Anhua Hei Cha from Hunan is processed in different styles according to the grade of tea used. While the lower, twiggier grades are pressed into bricks, such as Fu Zhuan, or pillars, such as Shi Liang Cha, the highest grade is aged loose in a bamboo basket. Called Tiān Jiān 天尖 ("Heaven Points"), it represents the earliest Spring pluck of the Anhua tea harvest and the highest plucking standard; by definition, it can contain no more than 8% stem by mass. Compared with the pressed grades, Tiān Jiān has a smoother, darker taste and is more dense in character. The liquor is a dark reddish-brown, and the profile is more similar to Shu Pu'er than Fú Zhuān or Hēi Zhuān.
Wild Fields is a special wild-harvested Tian Jian that has been processed using the Qi Xing Zao 七星灶 "Seven Star Stove" method, which involves smoking it. Each basket weighs 500g and contains about 465g of tea. Although the tea is aged loose, it ends up forming a sort of chunky cake in the shape of the basket, as well as taking on some of the bamboo fragrance of the basket itself. Although it is technically smoked, the tea itself has little detectable smokiness. The profile of the tea has notes of wet lumber, a dewy meadow, sweet grass, sarsaparilla, almonds, and hay, with just a hint of distant smoke.
The Xiang Lu Shan tea factory has been owned by the same family for more than 50 years. Their traditional customer base in Xinjiang and Gansu are Muslim, so they hold a hold a halal certification for their tea. These handpacked baskets are an extant example of a centuries-old tradition.
Very sour tasting. Sour candy. Fruits and slight wood. But mostly sweet for me