Red Teas (Hongcha)
Tea artisans in ancient China coined the term “gongfu,” a high level of skill, experience, mastery and work ethic conferred upon only the finest tea masters. They worked by hand for hours to meticulously oxidize each batch of “hongcha” leaves (meaning red tea, according to the Chinese, which became black tea in the West) by hand, long before Western influence and technology made it easier to oxidize leaves by machine. In true renaissance style, a small number of dedicated tea makers in China and Taiwan are harvesting tender spring leaves to reclaim the nearly lost art of the gongfu hongcha—teas that garner top-dollar interest from connoisseurs the world over. We’ve sampled the most innovative red teas in Asia to curate our intriguing collection, which rewards curiosity with sweet notes of deep plum, wine and ripe fruit. Steep these single origin hongchas six to eight times to extract their full potential.