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Produced by masterzhang_farmerbadge  Master Zhang

As Master Zhang explains: “Every tea has its own worth.”

Though Tieguanyin is king in Anxi, biodiversity rules in Master Zhang’s family fields on the peaks above Daping. From Ruan Zhi and Tieguanyin to Rou Gui, Jin Guanyin and more, a wide variety of cultivars grow side-by-side with native grasses, canola, and wild flowers.

Each cultivar is unique, both in appearance and in flavor and aroma. Many of these bushes have been growing for over a hundred years, and for generations, the different varietals have grown together to create rich biodiversity in the fields.

The eight teas in this sample pack offer an introduction to just a few of the cultivars in Master Zhang’s fields, exploring the profound and exciting differences each unique varietal gives to their leaves.

 

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Taste Master Zhang’s Varietal Collection

This invitation into the biodiverse fields of the Zhang family showcases a selection of teas that highlight the importance the plant and varietal makes in each finished tea. Each tea is an autumn harvest, and all share a green, modern finish to help highlight the flavor differences that are due to cultivar alone. The eight teas include Autumn Tieguanyin, Anxi Rian Zhi, Ben Shan, Anxi Jin Guanyin, Zi Mu Dan, Anxi Qilan, Anxi Rou Gui, and Da Dan.

There is enough tea included to brew each selection five times, giving you a chance to explore different brewing methods and get to know the teas.

Eight 25g bags of loose leaf tea are included for a total of 7.05 ounces (200g.) of tea or 40 brewing sessions.

 
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AUTUMN TIEGUANYIN

Master Zhang is proud to be sharing true Tieguanyin varietal oolong, fed by mountain spring water and grown without pesticides or fertilizers under the high mountain mist. Most Tieguanyin sold is actually Benshan or other similar varietals which lack the long drawn out aftertaste of Tieguanyin. The biodiversity of Daping and the mountain soil lend intense complexity and depth of flavor to this tea. This autumn harvest is full of orchid, tangerine, watercress and sweet marzipan flavor.

 

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DA DAN

This citrus-heavy varietal is more similar in texture to a Dancong oolong for its woody undertones and sunny, fruity flavor. As this 2016 autumn harvest tea steeps out, it yields a very tropical candied pomelo and citrus profile with osmanthus and rose aromatics and a vegetal finish.

 

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JIN GUANYIN

Jin Guanyin is an unique varietal made by grafting Huang Jin Gui onto Tieguanyin root stock, combining the fruit and floral aromatics of Huang Jin Gui with the creamy and grassy flavor of Tieguanyin for a rich and well balanced oolong. Many tea lover’s have often fallen in love with Jin Guanyin’s beautifully balanced flavor, and mistake the gorgeous hybrid for Tieguanyin. This 2016 Autumn harvest is full of lilac and violet, a hint of tropical plantain or mango, and creamy texture.

 

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BEN SHAN

Ben Shan varietal has a big, strong flavor full of all the fruit and bright florals we love in Tieguanyin. Ben Shan is so rich that it is often sold as Tieguanyin or blended into Tieguanyin varietal to make Tieguanyin taste more like Tieguanyin. Some of the oldest tea bushes on Master Zhang’s high mountain field are Benshan varietal, planted by his grandparents. Benshan leaves open more quickly in brewing than Tieguanyin, with the biggest, boldest flavors in the first 1-3 steepings.

 

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ZI MU DAN

Zi Mudan, or Purple Peony, is a very new varietal developed for its intense aromatics. Finished as a modern, green Anxi oolong, this tea is even more floral than Tieguanyin! The tea benefits from growing on Master Zhang’s terraced high mountain fields between patches of wildflowers. Zi Mudan is an example of the growing, changing industry and an exciting look at the future of Fujianese tea.

 

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ANXI QILAN

Qilan is a luscious, floral varietal most famous for its cultivation in Wuyishan as a roasted oolong. This exciting greener expression of Qilan from Anxi brings out all the sweet florals that make Qilan varietal unique, strengthening them with light processing and the floral mineral-heavy terroir of Master Zhang’s land above Daping. Honey florals are balanced in this autumn 2016 harvest with sweet red (adzuki) bean and a refreshing, mineral finish.

 

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ANXI ROU GUI

Rou Gui is better known as a roasted oolong from Wuyi. Master Zhang’s Rou Gui varietal bushes grow among Tieguanyin fields and wildflowers, and benefit from sweet mountain spring water. Rou Gui is famous for its rich cinnamon flavor, and it is a real treat to taste such strong, sweet steeped cinnamon notes in a green rolled Anxi oolong. The 2016 Autumn harvest is also unique in its delicate jasmine aroma.

 

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ANXI RUAN ZHI

Ruan Zhi or “Soft Stem” is sometimes better known as “Qing Xin” varietal, used in Taiwan to produce Dong Ding and Baozhong and in Thailand for Doi Mai Salong. This elegant tea has much of the creamy and savory quality of a fine Taiwanese oolong, but with the fruit and florals we love from the unique processing and terroir of Master Zhang’s terraced fields above Daping Village, Anxi.

 

Tasting Recommendations

 

Master Zhang brews his teas with a very simple gaiwan and tastes out of small jingdezhen porcelain cups. His set up is austere, but his brewing is careful. He respects every one of his teas equally no matter the price, and brews every tea with spring water.

He uses a smaller four ounce gaiwan and 5 grams of leaf for a more potent brew and 200° F water. He will do one rinse before steeping his tea for about eight seconds per infusion. He passes the gaiwan around for his guests to smell and look at the leaves expanding between each infusion, and drinks tea slowly and with a light heart.

 

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