Ivan Chai, also know as 'Rosebay Willowherb' or 'Fireweed' is a perennial herbaceous plant 50-200 cm high. It grows throughout the Northern Hemisphere, in the United States, Canada, Scandinavian countries in Europe. and occupies huge areas in the Urals and Altai areas in Russia. Very popular herbal tea due to its beneficial properties and ability to be fermented, what gives it more special taste quite similar to black tea made from Camellia Sinensis. In Russia, this kind of fermented Ivan Chai is being called "Koporsky Chi" or simply "Koporka" thanks to the village "Koporye" famous for its production since 18th century. Plant's juice contains many enzymes that starts certain biochemical processes in the leaves during oxydation process, what makes it changes its color, a pleasant taste and aroma. The amount of vitamins and nutrients during oxidation process increases several times.
This special Ivan Chai was made from mature leaves grown wild on Gaiziņkalns mountain, which is the highest point (312 m) in Latvia. Due to a high altitude, the leaves are less susceptible to insect attack. Harvested in the early morning, when, according to the beliefs of herbalists, growing energy inside the plant make it most beneficial. We carefully selected all the leaves and withered them during first few hours to let oxidation process start and to make it more flexible. We processed leaves using our own author's method, using all kind of hand-rolling techniques to get out all the juice and to save form of a leaf. After about 6 hours of nonstop rolling we left the leaves to oxidize and dry out by themselves at room temperature.
While most herbal teas are non-fermented, this herbal tea is a quite unique. After a complex process this tea provides very special aroma and taste. The taste is multifaceted and has a lot of herbal, floral and honey nuances. Sweet and thick, this tea brings association with village house and sauna. Very nice drink during cold winter time.
It is considered that it becomes more tasty and beneficial closer to winter and saves its properties during next 3 years.