June 2016 Tea of the Month Club
This June, we were excited to partner with Master Zhang in Daping Village. His work has been nationally recognized in China for award-winning traditional Tieguanyin roasting skill, and he just returned from trips to Taiwan and Fenghuang where he worked to collaborate and share techniques with his peers and fellow tea masters.
Master Zhang grows tea with his brother and parents above Daping Village in Anxi, and has been a pioneer in clean, sustainable farming. He uses canola seeds and flowers grown on his own land as fertilizer and insect repellent in his tea fields. This month, he was excited to apply more traditional and dark roast technique to tea varietals with which he otherwise would not get to experiment.
This month’s CSA tea subscription box builds on the excitement we heard from club members who received February’s club box, which featured 11 different varietals of Anxi oolong from Master Zhang’s fields in Daping. This month’s box brings back six of your favorite varietals to focus on the craft of the tea master in the workshop – letting you taste and compare varietals at different levels of roast and oxidation.
There are 8 teas in total.
We recommend brewing all of these teas gongfu style in a small porcelain or glass gaiwan, tea pot, or pitchers.
These non-porous vessels are less reactive, and will make it easier to appreciate each tea’s unique aroma. To brew, add an entire 5g sample to a 5-6oz gaiwan or small tea pot. Rinse quickly, then brew multiple steepings with freshly boiled water (at about 205 degrees).
Enjoy many quick steepings in one session, back-to-back.
Reserve Spring Tieguanyin
Master Zhang’s reserve picking of his 2016 “Qing Xiang” (green) Spring Tieguanyin.
The modern, greener finish on this high grade Tieguanyin brings out all of the fresh florals, complemented by sweet grass.
Reserve Traditional Tieguanyin
Master Zhang’s reserve picking of his 2016 “Shu Xiang” (traditional) Spring Tieguanyin.
Master Zhang’s traditional finish introduces toastier notes to bring out juicy elements of fruit paired with darker florals.
Reserve Mao Xie
Daping’s most famous varietal! Master Zhang’s reserve picking of his 2016 Mao Xie is processed like his “Qing Xiang” Tieguanyin for a greener, modern finish.
Traditional Mao Xie
Master Zhang loves processing his Anxi oolongs traditionally, & this higher oxidation Mao Xie lets the varietal’s more savory notes really shine!
Traditional Ruan Zhi
Ruan Zhi (soft stem) is best known for Thai + Taiwanese (Qing Xin) oolong. The traditional finish emphasizes these similarities, making it easier to see the influence of Daping’s terroir.
Traditional Dan Gui
This newer varietal is often used for darker roasted strip-style Wuyi oolongs, and the darker finish on this rolled Anxi-grown oolong gives a unique twist + perspective.
Dark Roast Qilan
Though more famous as a Wuyi oolong, Master Zhang’s dark roast lets us enjoy the unique differences in taste that come from both terroir and rolled vs. strip-style processing!
Dark Roast Rou Gui
Rou Gui’s rich and sweet natural cinnamon flavor gets a dark roast from Master Zhang to bring out warm, sweet spice to balance aromatic florals in this rolled Anxi oolong tea.