Anxi locates in the east of China, close to Taiwan, take a look at the Google Maps, you will find out they sit in the same latitude and very similar weather, further more they speak the same local language. So you will be quite comfortable if you ever been to Taiwan.
What makes Anxi so special is about its tea processing craft, it is the most complicated and exquisite, even Wuyi can not beat it. A lot of areas try to learn from Anxi, including the whole Southern of Fujian, Phoenix Mountain of Chaozhou even Taiwan in the past. There is a common saying:
If you can make Anxi Tieguanyin, then you can make everything.
Here in Anxi most of teas produced are Oolong teas, as well as some new generation black teas.
- Tie Guan Yin (铁观音) Oolong tea
- Ben Shan (本山) Oolong tea
- Huang Jin Gui (黄金桂) Oolong tea
- Mao Xie (毛蟹) Oolong tea
- Mei Zan (梅赞) Oolong tea
- Hei Dan (黑旦) Oolong tea
- Jin Guanyin (金观音) Oolong tea
- Da Ye Wulong (大叶乌龙) Oolong tea
- Jin Mian Qi Lan (金面奇兰) Oolong tea
- Jin Jun Mei (梅赞金骏眉) Black tea
- Huadan (阿波罗) Black tea
There are over 50 tea varietals in Anxi but not treated equally, in the era of state planned purchasing & sales (1953-1992), all teas except Tieguanyin were lumped together and be called Se Zhong (色种), you might have some assumptions about how unique of Tieguanyin though this history, actually it is. Together with Huang Jin Gui, they invented several remarkable high aroma varietals:
- Jin Guan Yin (code 204): Mother Tieguanyin while father Huang Jin Gui
- Huang Guanyin (code 105): Mother Tieguanyin while father Huang Jin Gui
- Jin Mu Dan (code 203): Mother Tieguanyin while father Huang Jin Gui
- Huang Mei Gui (code 506): Mother Huang Guanyin while father Huang Jin Gui
- Zi Mei Gui (code 210): Mother Tieguanyin while father Huang Jin Gui
Above new varietals are not just goof for making into Oolong tea but also excellent to be black tea and white tea, actually we do get some nice results by creatively implying new technique, one is that Apollo black tea.
Tieguanyin plays differently in 3 towns
Tea Tie Guan Yin is the image of whole Anxi county which becomes the most important part of local economics. However this tea has slightly different character due to different terrior.
Xi Ping town is the source
No one argues the origin of Tieguanyin belongs to Xi Ping but they do have two stories exist. Except for Tieguanyin, Xi Ping town is also the home of other teas like Ben Shan, JinMian Qilan, Zan Qilan, Man Qilan etc.
Not just about cultivars, Xi Ping town also some big national wide tea corporations like Bama Tea, San Guo Yin Yi, Emperor Tea etc, tea economic is quite active here, thus make Xi Ping town to be the most important place of Anxi county.
The most unique character of its Tieguanyin is very visible Guanyin Yun.
Xiang Hua township can get you high
It does have very high altitude, the average altitude of whole township is about 800m while normally teas are planted on mountains that are over 1000m. Still no high way available but only cliff side road, although it’s cement pavement, the feeling is like driving in the sky and so exciting, thus do be careful. The fist mayor of Anxi county Mr. Zhan Dun Ren chose to live here after retirement, you can imagine how nice environment that can attract him to be here.
Xiang Hua was too high and too cold that to be able to plant Tieguanyin, thanks to the global warming, this township became the perfect place for Tieguanyin. Its soil matrix is volcanic rock, together with other elements its Tieguanyin can offer you a very thick mouth feeling, very good body.
Gande town always show up a flood of freshness
1996 Master Wang Yi Rong creatively implied air conditional into tea making, this technological innovation refresh the whole tea industry of Anxi county, we farmer thus have more possibility to make top tea even in the Summer.
Its soil matrix is intrusive rock, altitude is between 500-700m, all surrounded with foggy mountains, it’s an ideal home for Tieguanyin plant. Farmers here smartly take advantage of all these gifts and show out remarkable freshness which earn a very good reputation, thus named as the No. 1 Tieguanyin town.
There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man, true nobility is is superior to your former self.Ernest Hemingway
Little brother Huang Jin Gui Oolong tea
Look through the list of new varietals you may find out the father is always a tea named Huang Jin Gui. Huang Jin Gui is also called Huang Dan, kind of no name to the consumers outside but it also has a very crazy name, Sky Piercer Aroma.
Originated from Luo Yan village which branched Mei Zhuang village in 1961, it has two stories too.
Culture decides the taste
Culture is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and norms found in human societies, as well as the knowledge, beliefs, arts, laws, customs, capabilities and habits of the individuals in these groups.
That’s the definition of culture from Wikipedia, in another word, our history in the past shapes who we are now. History is a big word, I have a simpler but inaccurate alternative, which is how many names of the past you can remember, the more memories means more culture.
And for Anxi, barely I can remember one except Qing Shui Monk who has a lot of followers too in Taiwan. Also no book specific for tea found in the history even though Tieguanyin tea had been famous for couple hundred years, in contrast Wuyi has numerous historical documents.
Lackness of deep culture doesn’t mean good or bad but it can explain some social behaviors. Flexibility and short-term-first are its children. No voice from the past told you what to do when face a dilemma, so best beneficial option wins.
When in 1992 the State Planned Purchasing & Sales system dismissed, freedom flooded in, people showed out how much courage even say bold they are and how hard work they can tolerate, it’s incredible, a lot of Anxi farmers left home with just no money but some teas to earn a life, they slept on the ground and eat like a pig, finally these people became a remarkable sales force through out the whole country. It is THEY made Gongfu tea a national wide fashion.
This sales force is so close to the consumers, they deeply know what they need. Green tea is the No. 1 (most consumers) tea in China, so they created Green style Tieguanyin Oolong tea which even has more than 3 more segmented products.
Anxi is always trying to fulfill your requirements, they work very hard and can get job done creatively, they are a good business partner but you better keep an eye on the process, they are too flexible. One coin always has two sides, right?
Anxi is an amazing tea place, it does not have so splendid culture as Wuyi or owns so vast virgin forest as Yunnan, it is about the human who live on this land, they are so cute even a bit of cunning.