Verdant Tea

Rare Varietal Anxi Oolong Tasting Kit

Rare Varietal Anxi Oolong Tasting Kit

Regular Price $37.95 $30.36
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This bundle includes five 25g bags of oolong tea for 125g total (25 sessions).

With one of the highest elevation, most pristine perfectly-situated plots for Tieguanyin in the world, it would make perfect sense for Master Zhang to devote every inch of land to this famous and in-demand varietal. Yet, Master Zhang does the opposite. Over the last decade, he has reclaimed the majority of his Daping mountainside for bamboo, evergreens and wildflowers. The precious rocky terraces he has left, carved into steep hills, he devotes not just to the famous Tieguanyin, but to dozens of rare, unknown varietals.

Master Zhang fosters these tiny groves of rare tea to preserve biodiversity and have a local “seed bank” of sorts, allowing hearty individual tea bushes to grow and thrive in Daping so that other farmers and colleagues could grow new plants from cuttings, and study the way their famous terroir changes with each varietal.

The benefit for all of us is getting to dive deep and experience rare out there flavors, textures and aromas- all unique expressions of Master Zhang’s craft and terroir. Every tea in this kit expresses the "core" sweet minerality of Daping, but from unique and incredible perspectives not often tasted in a region so dedicated to Tieguanyin.

  Explore Anxi with Master Zhang's teas: 

Spring Anxi Ruan Zhi (25g)

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. The traditional processing truly emphasizes the connection between Anxi and Taiwan tea craft. Any Taiwanese tea afficionado will be impressed by the intense bready sweet notes and deep florals this Anxi Ruan Zhi offers.

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Traditional Mao Xie (25g)

Daping is the birthplace of the Maoxie (Hairy Crab) varietal, and the village is proud of its heritage. Master Zhang is one of Daping's foremost craftsman of traditional Anxi oolong processing, and as it is his favorite way to finish his oolong teas, it only makes sense to show off the subtle and more savory finish of traditional roasting on this varietal. The darker traditional finish brings out unique sweetness that are hidden in a greener finish.

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Autumn Traditional Mao Xie (25g)

This is arguably Daping Village’s most “classic” tea. Mao Xie varietal is native to the area and grew on the mountains above Daping long before Tieguanyin was planted. Master Zhang’s labor-intensive traditional finish hearkens back to the style before the modern green oolong trend became popular and all Anxi teas were finished with at least a light roast and oxidation. Mao Xie translates to “hairy crab,” a reference to the appearance of the leaves. A classic traditional finish on Mao Xie brings out the iconic savory notes in the varietal and makes it taste almost pastry-like.

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Dark Roast Anxi Ruan Zhi (25g)

Master Zhang brings a new perspective to this beloved varietal with his meticulous and delicate multi-day dark roast process. 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. While Taiwanese Ruan Zhi tends towards creamy or nutty, Master Zhang’s Daping Village Ruan Zhi is taut and almost crystalline with deep cooling yun sensation, smoldering spice in the aftertaste and beautiful Anxi florals. The dark roast keeps every element in perfect balance.

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Original Wulong Revival (25g)

Master Zhang is a true innovator. He doesn’t make tea to follow trends. He experiments and takes risks to make tea better for the generations to come. This autumn harvest of Original Wulong Revival uses the older Ben Shan varietal leaf and undergoes three times more careful hand turning and fluffing than modern Anxi oolong. For finishing, it is loosely rolled in the oldest style of oolong making that is half strip style and half ball, with many of the leaves more strip-style than rolled. Master Zhang describes the shape as a dragonfly. This hand processing and shaping yields a different tea- a genre of its own outside of Wuyi style, Guangdong style or Anxi style. The light roast is rewarding and brings out a unique savory sweet complexity we don’t see in other teas from Master Zhang over the years, this tea has grown to be one of our very favorites!

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Autumn Dark Roast Liao Mian Ji (25g)

Master Zhang cultivates this almost unheard-of varietal as part of his commitment to achieving the rich biodiversity in his tea fields, all while maintaining zero-impact agriculture for his Original Ecological Preserve designation. Liao Mian Ji is a unique cultivar, full of deep dessert-like caramel undertones and rich nutmeg and spice. Master Zhang’s slow, full roast brings out even more sweetness in the aftertaste..

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Dark Roast Anxi Qilan (25g)

Qilan is a luscious and floral varietal famous in Wuyi as a strip style oolong. This Anxi dark roast Qilan is just as intoxicating as its Wuyi cousin with aromatic wood and orchid similarities, but also a unique bright and juicy complexity and luscious honey sweetness that reflects Anxi's unique terroir and Master Zhang's choices in roast and processing.

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Dark Roast Anxi Rou Gui (25g)

Rou Gui is better known as a roasted oolong from Wuyi, famous in Wuyi for its intense and aromatic cinnamon flavor. Master Zhang's Rou Gui varietal bushes grow among Tieguanyin fields and wildflowers, and benefit from sweet mountain spring water. Master Zhang's dark roast on this unique rolled Anxi Rou Gui brings out not just rich cinnamon spice, but also dessert-like complexity and aftertaste.

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Dark Roast Anxi Rou Gui (25g)

Rou Gui is better known as a roasted oolong from Wuyi, famous in Wuyi for its intense and aromatic cinnamon flavor. Master Zhang's Rou Gui varietal bushes grow among Tieguanyin fields and wildflowers, and benefit from sweet mountain spring water. Master Zhang's dark roast on this unique rolled Anxi Rou Gui brings out not just rich cinnamon spice, but also dessert-like complexity and aftertaste.

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Dark Roast Anxi Ba Xian (25g)

Ba Xian is a rare cultivar pioneered from old rootstock in Fenghuang, Guangdong that yields beautiful textural depth, lingering sparkling complexity and rich aromatics given the right soil conditions and expert craftsmanship. Master Zhang is a colleague of famous Dancong pioneer Huang Ruiguang, and was able to transplant several old Ba Xian plants from Wudongshan to his own fields above Daping in Anxi. These plants have been left mostly unpicked and untrimmed for years, giving them a wild appearance. Master Zhang has picked a limited quantity of his Ba Xian to share. The result is packed with deep minerality, “yun” and creamy florals - a powerful and commanding tea.

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Dark Roast Anxi Jin Suo Shi (25g)

Jin Suo Shi or "Golden Key" has been cultivated in Wuyishan on a small scale for almost one hundred years. In the last few decades Jin Suo Shi has been the subject of substantial research for its natural cold and drought resistance. Master Zhang cultivates a small grove of Jin Suo Shi, planted from seedlings picked up during his years of research on Wuyishan's growing and finishing techniques. The terroir of Daping and Master Zhang’s expert finishing bring out fruity notes in this uncommon cultivar, along with a building intense sweetness. This spring's harvest is finished with a dark roast.

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"All tea tells a story, if we listen to what it is saying.

It is my responsibility to listen and not tell. I cannot force a tea into a certain flavor or aroma with craft. This is because true craft starts in the field, not the workshop. Good agricultural craft requires biodiversity, preserving the wildlife and natural forest cover, respecting the natural mountain springs, and keeping chemicals off of my tea and off of my neighbors’ teas.

If craft in the field is done right, craft in the workshop is about listening. It is about helping a tea become what it wants to be.

I have spent my life helping my village of Daping bring honesty and integrity to tea farming and oolong craft. We stand together against the factory farming that weighs so heavily on the Anxi lowlands ecosystems.

We are making Tieguanyin and countless other cultivars the way that they want to be made, in the environment where they want to grow. I invite you to taste our work for yourself and see."

- Zhang Rongde 张荣德

Our Home: Daping Village

our tea fields above the reservoir
Native plants and grasses grow alongside our tea

 

  • uniquely-balanced terroir of rock and sand for perfect mineral driven texture

  • high elevationmist and clouds protect tea from sun and insects

  • fully organic zero-impactfarming techniques for clean and nuanced tea

  • terraced fields absorb sweet mountain spring water

  • isolatedand remote high elevation plot is protected from lowland industrial tea farms’ impact

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