Our Gold Thread Reserve is the first pick of the Spring 2011 season, from the same Feng Qing tea garden that produced our regular Gold Thread. It is comprised of young tender leaf buds, each individually hand-picked to not only deliver the aromatics for which this tea is known, but also the sweetness and exceptionally smooth mouth feel that can only come from early stage tea buds. The tea buds used in our reserve grade was gathered a week and a half before those used in our regular Gold Thread.
Developed in the late 1930’s, Gold Thread Reserve is alternatively known as Jin Ya Dian Hong. “Jin Ya” means “gold bud” in Chinese, and “Dian Hong” means Yunnan red. The tea was crafted from the buds of the Da Ye tea plant, an ancient cultivar indigenous to Yunnan Province and one traditionally used to produce Pu-erh teas.
Once harvested, the tea is left to sun wither, a step that breaks down the tea’s cell walls and begins the enzymatic oxidation process. Once withered, they are bruised and allowed to sit until the light green color of the buds take on a yellowish golden hue, at which point the tea is given its final roast.
The result is exceptionally smooth, breathtakingly aromatic and complex. The golden red infusion yields a malty sweetness (maltiness is enhanced by sun withering), with notes of orange, raisins, maple syrup and brown sugar.