Sunday, February 26, 2006

Aged Pu-erh or Wine?

Sipping Pu-erh with Ms. Dong is always a pleasant experience. Last night, we brewed up a pot of 70s Huang Yin, and started another relaxing tea night. I have to admit that my taste buds have been spoiled by Ms. Dong’s vast selections of authentic vintage Pu-erh – 30 year old, 40 year old, 50 year old… As a matter of fact, she was invited to show a bundle of 70 to 75 year old Yi Wu Pu-erh on CCTV-2 this month.

Being artistic minded myself, I always enjoy looking at the thick and clear, sometimes oily looking, dark reddish tea liquor of aged Pu-erh. Only well aged Pu-erh have the oily looking tea liquor. The 70s Huang Yin is one of those good ones. I like to pour good Pu-erh tea liquor into a wine glass for observation. When observed through a wine glass, the oily looking liquor appears to be detached from the glass wall while surrounded itself by a beautiful golden ring – Bao Guang. Many people compare collecting Pu-erh to collecting wine. I am not a seasoned wine drinker, but I enjoy Pu-erh. Will it be a similar experience observing a nice glass of aged red wine?


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Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Famous Tea Mountains in Yunnan

How many tea mountains are there in Yunnan? A lot! Many Pu-erh drinkers have heard of “Six Tea Mountains”. Then there are famous tea mountains like Nan Nuo, Jing Mai. How do these tea mountains relate to “Six Tea Mountains”?

Historically, there are six tea mountains: You Le, Ge Deng, Yi Bang, Mang Zhi, Man Zhuan, and Man Sa. You Le is located in now Jin Hong City. Gen Deng, Yi Bang, Mang Zhi, and Man Zhuan are located in now Xiang Ming County. Man Sa is located in now Yi Wu County. The historical “Six Tea Mountains” are all located at north of Lan Cang River.

There are also six tea mountains south of Lan Cang River. Nan Nuo and Jing Mai are one of them. The other four mountains are: Meng Hai, Ba Da, Nan Qiao, and Meng Song. Nan Nuo, Meng Hai, Ba Da and Nan Qiao are all located in Meng Hai Town. Jing Mai is located in Hui Min County.

One tea mountain that is not on either of the “Six Tea Mountains” list is Yi Wu. Yi Wu is located beside Man Sa. Yi Wu quickly became an up-star when the historical “Six Tea Mountains” were on the wane. Pu-erh made of leaves from Yi Wu tea tree leaves is famous for its high quality after long aging.

Tea Lovers at JinYuXuan Tea House

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Feng Huang Dan Cong Oolong Tea

We mentioned Feng Huang Dan Cong in our blog “Tie Guan Yin is a type of Oolong tea”. Although less known to general Oolong drinkers, this Chinese historical famous tea really deserves a devoted discussion.

Feng Huang Dan Cong is produced in Feng Huang town, Guang Zhou. Feng Huang town produces Oolong tea from Shui Xian tea tree leaves. Feng Huang Oolong is further divided into three types based on quality. Feng Huang Shui Xian is the most common one. Higher grade one is called Feng Huang Lang Cai. The highest grade one is Feng Huang Dan Cong, which is plucked, processed, packed and sold by single bush. Feng Huang Dan Cong must be plucked in spring, and must be plucked between 1 to 4 pm in sunny but cool days. Otherwise, it will be lack of the Dang Cong aroma.

Unlike other teas, Feng Huang Dan Cong is a general name for teas made of leaves of individual premium bush. This gives Feng Huang Dan Cong different aromas, i.e. the Feng Huang Ten Aromas.

Among all the Dan Cong teas, those produced from Wu Dong Peak are considered the best. Song Zhong Dan Cong (Old Bush Dan Cong) is made from tea leaves of several hundred year old bushes, and is very rare.

Tea Lovers at JinYuXuan Tea House