Red Plums from Nine Bends
This extraordinary black tea belongs to one of the three famous teas from the “tea capital” and home to the famous Dragon Well tea – Hangzhou. Although it is a black tea, its made from the same cultivar as the Dragon Well, traditional production area lying in the West Lake area. This tea is moreover made from the original cultivar, which was in most areas gradually replaced by clonar cultivars that have higher yields yet with poorer nutritional content. Our tea still preserves many beneficial nutritional compounds which allow the use of traditional processing method that underlines the teas plum taste.
For this reason Red Plum tastes surprisingly mild, refreshing and sweet, lacking the sometimes overly strong flavor of some other black teas. Its leaves are dark black, curvy and tight, infusion yellow with slight red tones, fragrance reminds of a red plum, hence its name. This black tea is processed only in spring. Most of Red Plums nowadays are processed with higher temperatures and longer times, which makes its liquor darker and taste stronger in order to conform to peoples strong tastes, yet they loose most of its fruity nature and do not differ so significantly from other black teas.
The designation Nine Bends may come from the river in Wuyishan area (where most of the heavy oxidated oolongs come from), which creates many bends along the rocks, where it flows. In history, some people from this region migrated to Hangzhou, exchanging their tea processing skills with local people. The production of this interesting tea is rising and spreading to other regions in recent years, with gradual popularity of black teas in China.
While searching for this interesting black tea, I had the luck to meet the holder of intangible cultural heritage of Red Plum making and learned
a lot about processing and history of this interesting tea and visited a museum, personally founded by this highly intelligent, educated and friendly person.