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About Tea

 

The tea plant camellia sinensis has been cultivated for millennia. At its most basic form, the harvested leaves all come from the same species, but the differences in flavor profile and tea type are determined by region, craftsmanship, and varietal.

 

Tea Types

From left: Green Tea, White Tea, Oolong Tea, Red Tea

 

Though tea is grown across several continents (and enjoyed on all!), Song’s sourcing efforts have been largely inspired by the traditions of Eastern Asia, with a particular emphasis on growing regions in China and Taiwan. Honing our focus allows us to visit the same places again and again, fostering relationships with growers and producers and in turn, finding the best teas we can.

Elevation, soil type, weather, cultivar, age, and harvest date all influence the taste and character of a tea.

The Plant

Tea is a plant - a crop, a food - and like any other, it‘s an opportunity to delight in the flavors and aromas of nature’s bounty. Each leaf is imprinted with a unique identity that tells a tale of where it was grown, how it was cultivated, and the manner it was crafted post-harvest. The key to finding a truly exquisite tea is finding the farmers and craftspeople who recognize the precise confluence of each of these factors and turn a tiny leaf into a transcendent experience.

Among thousands of varietals of the camelia sinensis plant are cultivars that have adapted and thrived in each unique region, and generations of tea makers who’ve selected and cultivated those with the richest flavors and character, and the highest likelihood of survival. While tea plants can sprout throughout the year, centuries of husbandry have identified the seasons, conditions, and stages of growth for every tree, that result in the best cup of finished tea.

 

The Harvest

Though tea is grown across several continents (and enjoyed on all!), Song’s sourcing efforts have been largely inspired by the traditions of Eastern Asia, with a particular emphasis on growing regions in China and Taiwan. Honing our focus allows us to visit the same places again and again, fostering relationships with growers and producers and in turn, finding the best teas we can.

 

The Maker

The best tea grower and the best tea maker are rarely the same. In the wrong hands an exceptional harvest can be utterly destroyed, and conversely, a mediocre crop can take wing with the right craftsmanship.

It’s often our role, at Song, to identify the strengths of each of our partners, pairing the stewards of land, plant, and harvest with experts in roasting, aging, and storing. Some of our favorite teas are the result of such marriages, like XXXX, an old grove harvest tended by the Chen family, and roasted to scintillating perfection in Mr. Li’s open charcoal pits.

Identifying the best people in each field is where our strength really lies, building connections and community across the industry, and creating something beautifully layered and rich.

 

Our Role

While there is a strong structure and intention to each aspect of tea production, the most challenging, and often, most rewarding element of this craft is responding to the unique changes that the tea leaf undergoes as it gradually transforms, and adjusting production to yield a certain outcomes. This week, we’ll explain how those adjustments happen, and what we and the tea makers consider at the critical stages of the tea making process.

 

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