Our last trip during our Chinese trip in 2019 was up to Gulou in Hunan Province. It turns out that we were the first Western tea buyers to visit this hidden valley about 4 hours south of Changsha. As we wound our way up the river valley, the air got fresher and we got more excited. We stopped at the factory of Mrs. Xiao. She has run it for the last 13 years and built a beautiful garden that makes great teas.
The Sweet Black is grown from tea plants carefully tended in the steep hills above the factory. We were impressed with the body and sweetness of this tea. These desirable traits come from the umami found in the young tea leaves that are carefully oxidized and fired.