Recommendations from the heart: Staff favorites from 2022 (Part 1)

Newsletter Archive Jan. 27, 2023

Two people sitting at a table indoors drinking tea with a big spread of teaware between them.
Austin having tea with Wu Jianming back in 2018.

Nearly a month into 2023 we’re finally catching our breath. 2022 was a watershed year in ways large and small. It had a lot of great tea, too.

This week focuses on the selections of our office and warehouse team – we’re the ones who write this weekly newsletter, actually. We don’t get to have the same kind of in-person discussions of tea that our teahouse colleagues do. As you can imagine, being locked away with lots of tea and no one to talk to has us eager to share some suggestions!

Austin’s Pick – Zui Qun Fang (Drunken Peach) Black Tea

The one-of-a-kind aroma of this tea isn’t the only reason Austin loves this tea. His admiration is rooted in personal history and respect for its maker.

As he explains: “The ‘favorite tea’ question is usually a difficult one for me to answer, but not this year. It’s Drunken Peach by Wu Jianming. This tea, combining the techniques for wulong and black tea, wins my award for tea innovation. As for Mr. Wu himself, having studied from both the leading teachers for both oolong and black teas, as well as being a native of Tongmu Village (where black tea was invented) should establish his credentials. He is also my friend and he worked for Seven Cups back in ‘07 and ‘08, so that puts the cherry on top of my bias.”

Three people with glasses and fabric hats lifting cups of tea and smiling at the camera.
The warehouse team (in hats) drinking their picks of the year.

Andrew’s Pick – Zao Xiang Fangzhuan (Jujube) Shu Puer

The large leaves of this brick have a flavor that’s sweet, woodsy and so distinct that it’s earned many comparisons over the years – “Jujube date”, “maple”, “brown sugar”, “licorice.”

Andrew keeps a brick in his desk drawer, a stalwart ally on the busiest days. “There’s something comforting about a black-out dark glass of shu puer. It’s easy- drinking but deeply satisfying.” As he describes:, “The Jujube won’t win a beauty contest. It’s leafy and stemmy, but therein lies its magic.”

Lizzie’s Pick – Shuixian (Narcissus) Rock Wulong Tea

One of the classics of Wuyi Rock Wulong really hit the mark this year for Lizzie. In her words, the character of this year’s Shuixian is “thick and resinous like the best of dark yancha, with a perfectly balanced roast that avoids char and intensifies the cultivar’s floral depths.”

The mornings when Lizzie brews Shuixian, its fragrance fills the office air like subtle incense, lifting everyone’s mood.

John’s Pick – Guzhu Zisun (Purple Bamboo Shoot) Green Tea

John is known as a dedicated year-round green tea drinker. Every workday is fueled by steeps of equally hard-working green teas, like Mengding Maofeng or Yun Wu. This year, they found themself reaching for something a bit more obscure, but no less flavorful.

John describes this year’s favorite as “grassy, but complex. If you like teas like Huangshan Maofeng, broaden your horizons with Purple Bamboo.”