TIE GUAN YIN SUPERGRADE
The Iron Goddess of Mercy
Named for the Chinese Bodhisattva of Compassion, Guan Yin, this favorite Chinese oolong has a transcendent flavor: a mouthful of dewy flowers, a heart-opening bouquet of floral forgiveness. Its aroma is often likened to the scent of mandarin orchards in full bloom. A dark green-blue leaf, pressed into a ball shape, opens slowly, giving infusion after infusion of varying flavors. A peace settles in the soul with every sip. We offer the best grade from the highest category of semi-oxidized teas in Fujian, a tea celebrated by poets, monks, and tea- lovers all over the world.
FENG HUANG DAN CONG
This semi-dark oolong, grown amongst fruit trees, has a mysteriously sweet, fruity flavor comparable to grapefruit or apricot, though it is not a flavored tea. It was a top find on our 2004 trip to China and is grown only in Northeast Guandong Province, in the valleys below the Phoenix Bird Mountain, Mount Feng Huang. From the variety of Dan Cong teas, we chose this “Mi” (honey) “Lan” (orchid) variety.
DA HONG PAO
Big Red Robe Tea
A roasted, honeyed Oolong from the steep Wuyi Mountains in northern Fujian Province with a flavor that lingers on the pallet long after finishing the last drop. This tea captivated our imagination and our intrigue immediately by way of its flavor, production, and taste. The Wuyi Mountains are famous for their dark oolongs. More oxidized than green oolongs, but less than black teas, dark oolongs offer a smooth cup, richer than green tea, but without the malty quality of black tea. In the legend of Da Hong Pao, hundreds of years ago, a very ill nobleman was lost and wandering through the Wuyi Mountains when he came upon a village. The gracious villagers fed him a brew made from the leaves of a special tree. He quickly regained his health and strength and was so impressed by the healing properties of the tree that he took off his brilliant red robe and hung it on the tree to indicate its power. They say that same tree still stands and all Da Hong Pao tea bushes can be traced back to the original.
This tea is known as “water nymph” or “narcissus,” named after the narcissus flowers in the port of Quanzhou, from where this tea was originally exported. This cheering drink has a distinctive, warming aroma and a voluptuous taste that leaves a slightly nutty sweetness on the lips. Long leaves are wilted and hand-rolled into murky dark green s-shapes, which unravel to produce copper-colored infusions laden with the ephemeral playfulness of fairy spirits. Seductive, this variety will cause the tea-drinker to gaze off into the teacup for many blissful hours.
Dark green-brown leaves of various sizes, twisted into s-shapes, yield infusions of rich amber liquor, with a bittersweet taste that is reminiscent of rye-bread or roasted nuts. An aroma and aftertaste of caramel soothes the palette and makes this tea a suitable accompaniment to desserts and snacks. Thick and filling, this Fujian classic is reputedly named “black dragon” because the opening leaves look like little dragons swimming in the pot! Served only in a Chinese unglazed Yixing teapot and is not re-steepable.