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Mountains of History and Mystery

Posted on 06/09/2023

The Oolong teas of Fujian and Guangdong provinces


Oolong tea, a beloved favorite ranging in flavorful versatility thanks to many methods of processing and oxidation levels, has a rich history spanning from legends to thriving traditions to your own personal cup.

Fujian province, the birthplace of Oolong tea, was given its name during the Song Dynasty, which lasted from 960-1279 CE. The word “Fujian” translates to “Happy Establishment.”

This “Happy Establishment” is home to a breathtaking mountainous terrain. The mountains are parallel to the seacoast, making it not only the perfect environment for tea cultivation but also for transportation and industry.

The Wuyi mountains of northern Fujian province produce stunning Oolongs, which are well-known for their darker, roasted earthen taste.  The mountains of Anxi County, in southeast Fujian province, harbor the mysteries of the “Iron Goddess of Mercy” tea, Tie-Guan-Yin, which steeps a greener cup, due to less oxidation of the leaves.

Legend has it that a farmer was tending an ancient, abandoned temple for the Chinese Goddess of Mercy, Guanyin. She is a beloved Bodhisattva, a Buddhist deity who has attained the highest level of enlightenment. The farmer lovingly tended this temple every day, and in his efforts to restore the place back to its reverence, Guanyin rewarded him in a dream. In the dream, she appeared to the poor farmer and told him to look in the cave behind the temple. Upon waking, he followed her instructions and discovered a tea shoot in the cave. He carefully nursed the tea shoot and it grew into a healthy tea bush. Considered miraculous, the outstanding leaf quality was widely sought after for its quality and benefits.  The tea was rightfully honored and named after Guanyin, becoming the auspicious “Tie-Guan-Yin.”

South of Fujian province is the coastal province of Guangdong, where the love of Oolong tea has quickly spread. The name Guangdong translates to “Expanse’s East.” In eastern Guangdong province, the Phoenix (Feng Huang) mountains rise majestically into the clouds. They are home to a number of tea varietals that are famous for producing some of the most prized Oolong teas.

The people of Guangdong province practice Gong Fu Cha, the traditional method of making tea, also referred to as the “Chinese Tea Ceremony.” The term translates to “Kung Fu Tea,” meaning “steeping tea with skill.” With its large leaves, Oolong tea is an excellent choice for Gong Fu Cha, a method of preparing tea that involves multiple steepings for shorter times and a lower water-to-leaf ratio.  

Guangdong province Oolong teas are treasured for having distinct honeyed floral flavor notes, such as magnolia, jasmine, and osmanthus.

At Upton Tea Imports, we are thrilled to offer an exquisite collection of Oolongs from these famous tea growing provinces in China.

 

Da Wu Ye Feng Huang Dan Cong Oolong

This tea was grown in the Phoenix Mountains (Fenghuang) of Guangdong Province. “Da Wu Ye” describes the leaf, meaning “big dark leaf.” This tea has an ambrosial quality, which means a nectar-like flavor profile. With its gentle roasted aroma and full mouth feel, this special Oolong is one to experience and savor.

Magnolia Oolong

Very popular and grown in Guangdong province, this Oolong has been scented with magnolia flowers and is also known as Orchid Oolong (Yu Lan). If you love a gentle floral scent with a subtle sweetness, this tea is the perfect choice for a fragrant cup.

Roasted Oolong

This roasted Oolong tea is a traditionally processed Tie-Guan-Yin Oolong. What makes it unique is the slow firing of the tea in bamboo baskets, over a charcoal fire. From the very first sip, you can taste the wonderful nuances of the roasting as well as the terroir.

Tie-Guan-Yin Oolong Special Grade

The tea of a legendary story, this Tie-Guan-Yin Oolong has a stunning buttery smoothness and notes of fruit and flowers. It tastes worthy of the goddess it’s named for. Treat yourself with this special tea, rich in flavor, history, and culture.

 

Thanks for taking the time to explore the world of China Oolong teas with us.  Enjoy the journey!

Works Cited

 

Hung, Frederick Fu, and Victor C. Falkenheim. “Fujian | History, Province, Cities, Population, and Facts.” Encyclopedia Britannica, 26 July 1999, www.britannica.com/place/Fujian.

White, David. “Fujian Tea: Deep Dive Into Fujian – Home of Tea Innovation.” JING Tea, 30 July 2021, jingtea.com/journal/deep-dive-into-fujian-home-of-tea-innovation.

“Guangdong | Province, History, Map, Population, and Facts.” Encyclopedia Britannica, 26 July 1999, www.britannica.com/place/Guangdong/Settlement-patterns#ref71343.

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