In 1961 one of our current grower's Grandmother was in charge of their family's tea trees and wasn't able to sell out that year's Honey Orchid tea. She stored the rest in a ceramic pot hoping for better luck the next year. However when the '62 harvest came in that's all anyone wanted. So she continued storing the tea untouched save for her yearly tastings. The tea went from fresh floral flavors to deeply caramelized flavors then finally to where it is now 60 years later--layers upon layers of unique flavors accented by sweet dirt.
Apparently the tea reached its peak after 25 to 30 years, then the complexity faded as the sweetness crept in as oxidation degraded all of the caffeine along with any traces of bitterness.
We got what little she had and now store it in the freezer to stop any further changes. We only offer this tea in 3g tasting increments so those who really want to know what 61 years does to a tea get a chance to find out. It is definitely an extraordinarily unique tea.
According to traditional medicine, old tea is good for calming inner heat. This one, we suspect, will completely vanquish it.
Brewing water: Poland Spring (called Origin Brand in some areas) brand mineral water most closely matches the slightly hard natural spring water on Phoenix Mountain and produces the finest results. Soft water, distilled water and hard water will ruin this tea. Tap water varies wildly and is best avoided as well. If you don't have Poland Spring (called Origin Brand in some areas) brand mineral water available please see good substitutions on our water page.
Brewing temperature: 100C/212F
Brewing method: Place 3g tea leaves (1 package) inside a small metal strainer and then dip into a wide mouth Chinese gaiwan or a cup with 60-80ml (~1/4-1/3 cup) water at 100C/212F water. Infuse each time for 5 seconds in a Chinese gaiwan or a small pot. After the first 10 infusions, increase each infusion time by 5 seconds. To produce lighter tea, either decrease amount of tea, increase amount of water or decrease brewing time. To produce stronger tea, either increase amount of tea, decrease amount of water or increase brewing time. You can easily adjust to suit your individual taste.