Verdant Tea

Tasting the Decades with Aged Tieguanyin

Tasting the Decades with Aged Tieguanyin

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This bundle includes five 25g bags of aged oolong tea for 125g total (25 sessions).

Master Zhang Rongde has been making oolongs for over fifty years. Over the course of his career he has championed sustainable farming, taught finishing techniques to all of Daping Village, and researched ancient and nearly lost fishing techniques. He has also set aside some of his favorite harvests over the years for long term aging - taking out these precious Tieguanyin reserves and re-roasting them yearly to meticulously control for moisture.

This tasting kit is a chance to truly taste Zhang Rongde’s life work- Tieguanyin aged from the mid 80’s all the way through the early 2000’s. His oldest teas have picked up deep complex cooling herbaceous complexity and deep sweet aftertaste. Taste them back to back to see how extra years transform Tieguanyin- and to see how Master Zhang has preserved their deep aromatic floral core through over 30 years. Thanks to a long friendship and partnership with Master Zhang Rongde, he continues to open his precious reserves to us so that he can share true Tieguanyin with the world.

Expect deep, complex, evocative oolongs that are profoundly settling, with long aftertastes and powerful aromas.

Explore aged Anxi Tieguanyin Oolong teas: 

2005 Aged Tieguanyin (25g)

Master Zhang is making some of the finest Tieguanyin in the world. Based in Daping village at the very highest peaks of Gande, Anxi. His terraced fields are overgrown with wildflowers, and fed by naturally sweet and clear mountain spring water. Master Zhang's slow and subtle roasting and aging process adds deep lingering spice to the Tieguanyin florals. This ten year old harvest is already rich and full of spice.

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2003 Aged Tieguanyin (25g)

Master Zhang re-roasted this classic Tieguanyin varietal every year for five years to control for moisture and maintain a slow even process of change, slowly building up powerful woody undertones, cooling sensation, and deep dark fruity flavor. Master Zhang follows the weather and the specific qualities fo each picking from his biodiverse mountain plot for all finishing and roasting, using all his senses to bring out etc natural qualities of the tea, so even with so many years of age and roasting, the power and structure of true high mountain Tieguanyin has not been obscured, rather it has been strengthened by exquisite craft.

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2000 Aged Tieguanyin (25g)

Master Zhang is making some of the finest Tieguanyin in the world. Based in Daping village at the very highest peaks of Gande, Anxi. His terraced fields are overgrown with wildflowers, and fed by naturally sweet and clear mountain spring water. Master Zhang rarely releases such mature aged Tieguanyin, but when he does, the result is intensely rewarding. The slow and subtle roasting and aging process adds deep lingering spice to the Tieguanyin florals.

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1990 Aged Tieguanyin (25g)

This limited 1990 harvest of aged Tieguanyin stands out as unique from the others because the leaves were hand-processed by Master Zhang using traditional Oolong Revival style, where one end of leaf is slightly curled and the other is extended. Master Zhang describes the shape as a ‘dragonfly’. These leaves were turned and fluffed three times the normal standard for modern Tieguanyin. The result of this unique processing and the 25 years of age creates a deep shu pu’er-like earthy flavor most similar to the clean fermentation of Xingyang shu pu’ers. We have never tasted anything like this in an oolong. It has the foresty richness of shu pu’er but the sweet caramel aftertaste of oolong.

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1985 Aged Se Zhong Oolong (25g)

Many of Master Zhang's oldest tea plants are 'se zhong' varietals, teas other than Tieguanyin that flourish in Anxi. Master Zhang's grandparents and forebears planted Ben Shan, Mao Xie, and other sezhong varietals on their high mountain peak above Daping decades ago. Master Zhang picked these leaves in 1985, carefully re-roasting this mixed se zhong harvest every year for almost ten years. The tea was allowed the tea to rest for another twenty years before this beautiful cache was released The deep, dark mineral notes and fruity sweetness of se zhong oolong become alluringly foresty, a great example of "yun" - the pysical sensation of the tea in the throat and the lingering cooling electric aftertaste and texture that fine teas create. The longer this tea steeps, the more intense woody and cooling qualities it reveals.

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Learn more about the craft and science of aged oolong teas:

In his own words, Master Zhang teaches us about aged Anxi oolong and his aged Tieguanyin teas. After ten years of careful re-roasting, the teas grow in complexity, aroma, and depth. As Master Zhang explains, “Tea may be dried, but it is still living inside.” The careful control of moisture and clean storage helps insure aging Teiguanyin gains its depth naturally, rather becoming sour or overly fired...

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"Tea is full of complex molecules – from sugars and phenols to volatile aromatics. Given enough time and the right conditions, each can transform over time through a variety of complex, natural processes..."

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