A very special tea. This harvested from an old Qing Dynasty tea garden in Anxi Country, Fujian. Based on some analysis, the predominant cultivar is likely to be related to Shui Xian though other varietals are notable as well as many plants that are self-seeded. The garden has been out of cultivation since at least the 1960s.
The environment is excellent; away from another agriculture and with wonderful bio-diversity.
Mr. Chen has carried out some basic maintenance of the garden to allow access to the bushes and to clear excess ground cover, beyond this the site remains very natural.
The first, very limited and experimental plucking was in 2016, with the first proper harvest being in 2017.
The tea is produced in a very traditional, hand made style and wood-charcoal baked for several days.
Wan Ling Tea House submitted the to 2018 UK Great Taste Awards where received a 2* award. The judges noted, "Excellent on the nose, a fine tea, delicate and subtle, with good flavours on the finish alongside pleasing creaminess."
Oolong teas typically involve many more steps during processing, than other tea types. Oolong teas predominantly originate from Fujian, Guangdong and Taiwan.
The appearance and flavours of oolong tea are diverse. Oolongs can range from fresh, floral styles like Tieguanyin, through to dark, almost black teas like many of the Wuyi mountain teas and our Baiyaqilan which have rich caramel notes. These characteristics are achieved through the complex processes including single or multiple finishing bakes which involves considerable skill and art on behalf of the producer.
Oolong tea varietals, the tea plants, vary considerably too from very fine leaves of Tieguanyin to Daye and Foshou varietals whose leaves can be the size of a hand.
Gande, Anxi, Fujian 福建省安溪县感德镇
Dai Yun mountain range 戴云山 runs to the South East of Gande, and is the main mountain range of central Fujian.
The average altitude in Gande is around 807m, with the highest peaks being around 1600m, and the lowest point at 390m. Due to volcanic activity around 200m years ago, the local soils are high in silica which according to research from Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University yields some of the best soils for Tieguanyin cultivation.
Not so many years ago, getting to Gande took several hours from Anxi along windy roads. Now, a direct high-speed, elevated road means that within 40 minutes you can be in the tea fields. It is believed that the annual output of tea from Gande is around 4800t.
Brewing Oolong Tea in a Gaiwan
Vessel Capacity: 150 - 200ml
Tea Quantity: 8g (loose leaf)
Water Temperature: 95 - 98c
People / Servings: 4
Medthod: Rinse the tea with a little hot water and then discard it. Next refill the tea pot and follow the infusion times below. For a 120ml Gaiwan you can either keep back 1-2g or add all the leaf. If you add all the leaf, you may want to revise the brewing times slightly (downward) to allow for the fuller flavour. Please note using a Zisha teapot times should be revised downward to allow for time for the liquor to pour from the tea pot.
Infusion Times (in seconds):
1st = 30.
2nd = 30.
3rd = 40.
4th = 50.
5th = 70.
6th = 90.
7th = 120.
Please visit our online tea brewing guide, which includes different methods and infusion times for all tea types.