This tea is certified organic and produced to fair labor standards.
GAO WEN is our flagship black tea from Ma Wei Shan farm in Yunnan province, the source of our moonlight white and pu'er teas. Unequivocally smooth with a robust aroma of melted chocolate and malt, this tea is the result of a co-produced, high-heat baking process ("gao wen" in Chinese translates to "high heat"), whereby the tea undergoes multiple rounds of roasting at specific temperatures to achieve a bold, smoky character that brews a full-bodied liquor with a rich rosewood hue. GAO WEN is shaped in the classic Chinese snail roll, allowing the tea to slowly unfurl and reveal more of its character with each successive infusion—and with a precise plucking standard of 1:1 (one leaf, one bud), this tea delivers the rounded sweetness and complexity that Yunnan teas are famous for.
Situated just south of Simao, Ma Wei Shan farm is one of the only all-organic operations in the famous tea producing regions of Yunnan, with an exceptionally biodiverse ecosystem and thick, healthy topsoil that tea plants thrive in. GAO WEN carries these characteristics into the cup: richness, minerality, and lingering undertones of caramel. This farm, too, hosts one of the best-organized and most progressive labor systems we've encountered at origin—providing living wages, skills training, free housing, and career pathways for the families who live and work on the farm. Part of Ma Wei Shan's environmental health is owed to the farm's swarm of chickens—the fowl feed off the lively insect populations, nurture the soil, and in turn provide for the farming families. Truly a picture of sustainability, and a model we use as inspiration in our joint efforts to support environmental responsibility with our partners at origin.
Sourced direct annually, GAO WEN is made exclusively for us. Alongside our friend, production master Yuanzhen Li, we sought to produce a tea that was both an elevated representation of Yunnan red tea (known as black tea stateside), and a smoother, less astringent, and more balanced breakfast tea for the discerning American palate. It's the exemplar of any café's tea program—for the hurried customer asking for "tea", GAO WEN is the barista's go-to. Serve hot and neat.
notes — milk chocolate | peat | cassia bark
nomenclature — gao (高)—"high" | wen (温)—"heat"
style — dianhong ("yunnan red")
cultivar — da ye ("big leaf")
region — yunnan province
locale — ma wei shan farm
producer — yuanzhen li
vintage — summer 2019
(use freshly boiled mineral water)
(100 ml small vessel—yixing teapot, gaiwan)
6 grams—205°F (96°C)—15 seconds + 5 seconds each additional steep
(350 ml large vessel—teapot BOLI, kettle steeper)
3 grams—205°F (96°C)—5 minutes