Our “Monkey Picked” Tieguanyin was grown in the AnXi Region in southern Fujian Province, a region with a long and rich history of cultivating award-winning, world-class oolongs. The region’s terroir or “soils” – encompasing the farms’ altitude, the proximity of the sea, the shape of the rolling hills and terraced mountains, the ample rains and mists of the coastal area, work together to create an optimum situation for cultivating lush, rich flavors. It is now more than 14 years that we have been annually procuring teas from this farm and the local factory. Fujian Province is the home of Chinese oolongs with each named for the varietal or sub-species of bush from which the leaf is harvested.
Why we selected this particular lot.
As we taste and evaluate lots, we look for a vibrant, fresh green coloration to the leaves. Along with this, there is a characteristic light, aromatic note held in the freshly harvested leaves. Preserved and accentuated, this signature “airy” taste or flavor note will determine our annual selection. After steeping 3-4 times, leaves crafted to the highest standard unfurl slowly and present a deeper, more nuanced, sweet and floral flavor. Throughout the arduous processing of these large, beautifully serrated leaves, we found the tea maker has preserved the precious, natural aroma of this varietal. Harvest date is 2016. Lot # 26.
Interesting facts about our selection.
Legend tells us that monkeys were trained to pick only the choicest leaves from tall, wild tea trees growing in Wu Yi Mountains of Fujian Province, the considered place of origin of oolong tea. At one time, to class a leaf as “monkey picked” actually denoted the lot as high grade. Those days are past and our lot was selected based on its merits of taste and aroma which we think encapsulates the best attributes of this year’s harvest. Studies have shown that oolongs can be helpful to memory and enhance one’s concentration.
As the rolled leaves steep, they slowly unfurl and release a lush, light-green-yellow liquor often described as buttery. Notes are softly sweet and floral, with a mouth feel that will linger and delight in its complexity. Long after tasting, you will note the taste of this tea has lingered to be enjoyed yet again.
Use boiling water, rinse the leaves briefly and pour the water off. This will “awaken” the leaves. Then re-infuse and steep for 1.5 to two minutes. Optimum water temperature is 195° plus. Drain the water off the leaves between infusions and they should easily provide 5-6 steeps!