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101 West Marcy Street
Santa Fe, NM, 87501
United States

505-795-7724

Luxury loose leaf teas, handcrafted tea blends and fine tea ware. ArtfulTea: where the ordinary experience of drinking tea becomes extraordinary.

Tea Wisdom

Chinese Tea

Margaret Wack

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What is Chinese Tea?

Tea has a rich history in China stretching back centuries. While both myth and archeological research indicate that tea may have been consumed in China as far back as three thousand years ago, its status as a popular staple for both elites and common people arose over the course of hundreds of years. By the seventh century Tang dynasty, however, tea had become an integral part of Chinese life, and specialized cultivation methods, ceremonial preparations, and cultural significance had developed around tea. There are several different kinds of tea produced in China from the leaves of the camellia sinensis plant. While these teas are all made from the same plant, they have significantly different characteristics depending on how they are processed.

Chinese Green Tea

Chinese green teas are typically pan-fired soon after they are harvested, which halts oxidation and preserves the green color and the light, grassy taste of the tea.

Chun Mee

Also known as “precious eyebrow” tea because of the shape of the leaf, this classic Chinese green tea has a distinctive plum-like flavor and buttery taste that is sweeter and mellower than many green teas.

Dragon Well

Famously considered among the finest green teas in the world, this hand-crafted organic tea has a nutty flavor, earthy aroma and refreshing taste. Dragon Well is also sometimes referred to as Longjing tea.

Gunpowder

From an estate west of Hangzhou, this classic gunpowder green tea has a full body and steeps into a dark green liquor. With its smooth, hearty flavor, it holds up well to repeated infusions. "Gunpowder" tea gets its name from the tightly rolled, bullet-like appearance of the leaves, not from its flavor!

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Chinese Black Tea

Chinese black teas tend to be slightly lighter and milder than other types of black tea, and are lovely when taken on their own with no need for milk or sugar. In China, these teas are called “red tea,” with “black tea” referring only to aged and fermented teas such as pu-erh. Chinese black teas are fully oxidized, which allows the leaves to turn black and imparts a rich, slightly malty character.

China Keemun

Grown in China's Anhui Province, this handmade, limited production Keemun tea has a somewhat smoky flavor with toasty notes. It has a mellow character and steeps into a beautiful amber red.

Lapsang Souchong

With its distinctive smoky characteristics, this organically grown Lapsang Souchong tea is deeply aromatic with a smooth, crisp character. Reminiscent of campfires or even expensive cigars, this classic, rich tea fills the mouth with an unexpectedly sweet pine flavor.

Golden Yunnan

A bright, coppery, full-bodied tea from the famous Yunnan province of China. This tea brews into a soft, rounded cup with pleasant, slightly peppery notes. A wonderful example of a high-grade Chinese black tea with abundant golden tips.

Chinese White Tea

Pleasant and subtle, brewed white tea actually has a pale yellow color. While not much is known about white tea’s origins, it has been enjoyed in China for hundreds of years. White tea was particularly prized in imperial China, and was enjoyed by poets, court officials, and even emperors!

Bashan Silver Tip

From the Chongqing Province of China, this very rare tea is the top grade of white tea available. It has a delicate, clean taste faintly reminiscent of fresh apples, with a refreshing lingering flavor. Very low in caffeine and extremely high in antioxidants.

Jasmine Silver Needle

Organic Bai Hao Silver Needle tea leaves are scented with fresh jasmine blossoms to create a well-balanced tea with the tantalizing floral taste of jasmine. This superb quality tea offers one of the most sublime tea-drinking experiences available!

White Peony

Consisting of both buds and leaves that are simply air-dried after they are harvested, this subtle white tea is also known as Pai Mu Dan, and has a floral aroma and smooth velvety taste. Organic, very high in antioxidants, and very low in caffeine, White Peony is a superior quality tea from the Fujian Province of China.

Chinese Oolong Tea

China and Taiwan are the best known producing countries in the world today. The moniker “oolong” is an English transliteration of the Chinese “wulong,” meaning black dragon. In China, oolong teas are sometimes also referred to as dark green teas. Chinese tea production reaches back centuries, in particular among the geographic regions of Fujian and Guangdong. Within Fuijan, tea production is clustered around the areas of the Wuyi Mountains and Anxi County. Oolong teas are closely associated with Gongfu Cha, a traditional Chinese tea ceremony where tea leaves undergo many successive infusions in order to draw out different nuances in flavor.

Milk Oolong

Prized for its milky scent and taste, this Milk Oolong is produced by hand in the Fujian Province of China, within the Prefecture of Quanzhou. These hand-rolled leaves are a rich olive-green color that brews into a golden green liquor. This relatively new cultivar of tea has the distinctive, mellow buttery flavor sought by those who enjoy specialty oolongs.

Citrus Sonata

A superb blend of exceptional quality oolong with natural citrus essential oils. This beautiful tea will carry you away with its uplifting flavor and fragrance. Grown at high elevation in the Fujian Province of China, this is a crisp green oolong enhanced by a subtle grapefruit flavor.

Ginseng Oolong

Our ginseng oolong tea comes in the classic form of small rolled balls of tea leaves, which are coated with ginseng, and blended with licorice root. This enjoyable oolong brews into a naturally floral cup, similar to a Ti Kuan Yin oolong, but with a hint of spice. This blend is well-known in China for its many health benefits, and is sometimes called “King’s Tea” or “Emperor Oolong.”

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Chinese Pu-erh Tea

Pu-erh is a type of heicha, or Chinese black tea. In China, what westerners typically refer to as black tea is called red tea, with black tea referring only to teas such as pu-erh that are fermented and aged after having undergone the oxidation process. The tea is named after the city of Pu-erh in Yunnan province, a famed trading post for heicha in imperial China. Bordering Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam in the southwestern part of China, Yunnan province had extensive trade ties to the west and throughout Asia during imperial times. Today, only tea originating from Yunnan province is legally allowed to be sold as pu-erh, and much of the tea is still processed in the city of Pu-erh itself!

Leaf Pu-erh

An earthy, rich flavor distinguishes this Chinese pu-erh tea from regular black teas. Sometimes sold in bricks or cakes, our organic Pu-erh tea is leaf style, making it convenient and easy to use without losing any of the robust flavor you expect from Pu-erh. Aged teas are thought to offer many health benefits as well as lots of antioxidants and moderate caffeine.

Caramel Pu-erh

This richly flavored pu-erh combines the sweet decadence of caramel with the earthy, mustiness of an aged pu-erh to create something akin to dessert in a teacup. Smooth with a naturally sweet finish, this tea is warming and thick – perfect for an afternoon pick-me-up. Excellent with a splash of milk.

Dandy Cinnamon Pu-erh

Dandelion root, cinnamon, ginger, and lemon peel combine perfectly with pu-erh and oolong teas to create a purifying blend that also warms and restores you. While we aren’t jumping on the bandwagon with claims about what “detox” teas can do for you, we do think this balanced blend has a delicious, rich flavor, and it offers benefits from ingredients traditionally thought to aid digestion and support health.

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