Apollo | Black Tea
Astronomical aroma - almost possessing its own propulsion. The cup resonates a spicy character that floats over the plum-like sweetness underneath. A unique addition to any collection.
Produced September 23-24, 2022 with material from the Sun Bay Tea Garden in Dehua, Fujian, China. Created by Daniel Hong, Apollo is a blend of one-bud, two-leaf pick of the Huang Jin Gui and Qing Xin Da Mao cultivars growing at approximately 2,300 feet. The Qing Xin Da Mao cultivar is mostly known for producing Taiwan Oriental Beauty and lends more body to the blend. Huang Jin Gui, famous for its aroma, does exactly that here.
It gets its name from the Chinese words 阿婆罗 “Apo Luo” which means 'old woman/to collect or gather.' Daniel said “…the pickers are all old cute women." The Chinese name is to honor them.
This tea was not planned and is the product of multiple coincidences. The Sun Bay Tea Garden gets its name from its ability to receive that first light of morning sun. It is traditional wisdom that this helps warm the land quicker after that cool nights and helps the plants grow better, especially in rocky soil. Daniel was meeting with the garden owner and they stopped to look at the Huang Jin Gui plants. The garden owner then received a phone call cancelling their booking of the material scheduled to be picked from those plants that day. Daniel offered to help and bought the tea instead. The drought of 2022 drastically reduced the output, so the quantity was small enough, the day was sunny, and he took the risk. But by the time picking had finished the sun was gone and the quality of the leaf had been affected by the drought. Adjustments had to be made. The oxidation of the leaf was deliberately cut short to allow for some transformative room later in the process. He pan-fired the leaves, wrapped them up in bamboo cloth, and facilitated a series of second-stage fermentations to balance the preservation of strength and mouthfeel while removing grassy aromas. Tea is just a series of decisions made in the moment. There will never be another one like this again.
Ingredients: black tea
4 grams | 10-12 oz water | 212°F | Steep 5 min.
6 grams in a 150ml gaiwan (or teapot), use boiling water and steep as follows:
- 10 second rinse (discard this steep)
- 1st Steep – 25 seconds
- 2nd Steep – 20 seconds
- 3rd Steep – 45 seconds
- 4th Steep – 90 seconds
- 5th Steep – 3 min
- (Or steep it however you want)
Number of Cups
2 oz makes 19 cups, 4 oz makes 38 cups