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.