Master Zhang's Top Grade Gande Tieguanyin
Verdant Reserve Club – June
We met Master Zhang on our spring trip to China, where he was kind enough to drive us four hours from the Anxi county seat to his mountainside terraces at the highest elevation spot in Gande, past Daping. In terms of traditional regional quality pecking order, Master Zhang is in about the best spot for Tieguanyin in the world. He and his wife, along with his parents do most of the picking and all of the processing on their fine oolongs, and this one is entirely hand made from the choicest leaves.
This tea is an excellent example of the mastery involved in balancing sweet florals, creamy notes, and grassy notes. In Anxi, most tieguanyin is grouped as either naixiang (creamy), or huaxiang (floral). Any tieguanyin that successfully fills out the entire palate with thick velvety cream in the mouthfeel all while remaining fragrant with sweet mature floral aftertaste and sweetness is something else indeed.
Steep many times to see the way that the early grassy florals build in body as the creaminess builds, and eventually subsides to long-lingering aftertaste.
Use 4g of leaves for a medium gaiwan or cup and brew basket. Heat the gaiwan or cup with boiling water and pour out. Add leaves, rinse leaves with 205 degree water for less than a second. Steep each round for 3-5 seconds, increasing time by 3 seconds each steeping after the third steeping. Enjoy at least 15 infusions.