Adventures in the court of Camellia Sinensis

Pan Long Yin Hao

Pan Long Yin Hao (Curled Dragon Silver Tips) is one of the many fine green teas from the Zhejiang Province of China. "Pan Long", meaning "coiled dragon", is used to describe the medium size leaves that are hand-rolled into coiled, round shapes. "Yin Hao" refers to silver furry tips blended with the dark green leaves.

Formosa Top Pouchong Special

Pouchong (or Baozhong) is the lightest and most floral type of oolong teas with oxidisation between 8-12%, so they often referred to as "green tea" in Taiwan. Its name came from Fujian in China around 160 years ago, literally meaning "wrapped kind", or "wrapped variety". Wang Xi Cheng, local tea maker, used loaded processed tea leaves with two layers of squared papers and packed into rectangular shape of pack in weight of 75 grams. The pack was then stamped with names of tea and tea merchant, to be sold as "baozhong". Interestingly, this name is homonymic to a phrase, meaning "luck out" in Chinese ("包種" vs "包中"), so at present days, Pouchong tea also becomes a gift of good luck.

Thailand Amber Oolong

Even though the first thing one often thinks of when hearing about "Thai tea" is a drink of made of a mediocre tea, milk and sugar, the Northern provinces of Thailand offer an excellent quality of lightly oxidised oolongs comparable to those from Taiwan - so good that Taiwan actually ranks first to import them! It's not a surprise if we look at the history: after Thai Royal Development Project in the 1980s identified tea as a possible cash crop to substitute the opium poppy cultivation in the infamous Golden Triangle, the experts of the Tea Research Institute of Taiwan were brought in to determine, which of the cultivars would be best suitable for Thailand’s geological and climate conditions. This way, a number of Taiwanese oolong varieties made it to country, where they have been successfully cultivated and developed their own unique profile.

De Jian Long Zhu

"Young shoots strewn with buds rolled into small pearls" or, fancier, "Bamboo Dragon from De Jian", is a relatively uncommon organic green tea from eastern Guizhou, cultivated at the height of 1200m. There is almost no information about it on the Internet, so one can imagine their own legend of a Bamboo Dragon who, when defeated, cried with pearls of this beautiful tea (and does so until now). One interesting observation here is that De Jian Long Zhu is made of Fuding Da Bai ("big white") cultivar, traditionally used for white teas, which produces soft, downy buds and influences the resulting taste in an unexpected way.

Traditional Iron Buddha

"Iron Buddha", also known as "Tie Guan Yin", "Iron Goddess Oolong", "Tea of the Iron Bodhisattva" or simply "TGY", is probably the world's most renowned oolong, known from the early 1700s. According to legend, Emperor Qian Long (1711–1799) was impressed with the tea’s “weight of iron and appearance of Guan Yin”, hence the name, Iron Guan Yin. While it is often translated as "Iron Goddess of Mercy", probably due to the feminine depiction of Guan Yin in Chinese folk art, Guan Yin or Gua Shi Yin is the Chinese word for Avalokitasvara Bodhisattva, who in enlightened form is genderless.

Oriental Beauty

Dongfang meiren (Chinese: 東方美人; literally: 'eastern beauty'), also known as "oriental beauty", "white-tip oolong" and "champagne oolong" is a heavily oxidised, non-roasted, tip-type oolong tea originating in Hsinchu County, Taiwan. It is an insect tea produced from leaves bitten by the tea jassid (Jacobiasca formosana), an insect that feeds on the tea plant. Terpenes such as linalool and geraniol are released in the bitten leaves, which creates a floral, fruity and honey-like taste.

Emperor's Yellow

Yellow tea is an increasingly rare and expensive variety of tea. The process for making yellow tea is similar to that of green but with an added step of encasing and steaming the tea. This allows the tea to oxidize at a slow rate for a brief period before the tea is heated fully to denature the oxidizing enzymes, producing a far more mellow taste than is found in most green teas; this also gives the leaves a slightly yellow coloring during the drying process. Yellow tea is often placed in the same category with green tea due to its light oxidation. One of the primary aims of making yellow tea is to remove the characteristic grassy smell of green tea.

Gyokuro Asahi

Although some sources claim that shaded growing was practiced as early as the beginning of the 17th century, the first Gyokuro tea was officially produced during Edo period (1603-1868) in 1835 in Uji, by Kahei Yamamoto. Gyokuro is the most precious tea produced in Japan processed entirely by hand, and meticulous care is taken at every stage of its production. The distinctive characteristic of this process is that the fields in which it is grown are shaded for three weeks before harvesting, so 80-95% of the sun's rays are blocked.

Phoenix Honey Orchid

Originating from one of the main four tea growing regions of China, the southern province of Guangdong is renowned for its mountain terrain, mineral-rich rocky soil composition, hot climatic conditions and most importantly the unique 600-year-old cultivars. All of these factors contribute to this tea’s naturally honey like sweetness and velvety smooth floral notes of orchid.

Ali Shan Jin Xuan

The leaves of Alishan Jin Xuan Oolong Tea are grown in the famous Ah-Li Mountains in Taiwan. At the elevation of 950 to 1000 meters, the mountainsides are covered with fog or clouds which are ideal for growing Oolong.