Master Lin’s Ba Xian 八仙 (Eight Immortals) 2019
A Feng Huang (Phoenix) oolong made from the cultivar Ba Xian (Eight Immortals) and handmade by Master Lin from a 400 year old tree on Mount Wu Dong. Phoenix oolongs are often called dancong 单丛 and are famous for their outstanding fragrances that mimic aromas often found in nature. Due to the small amounts of tea one tree can produce, most dancong are produced in large quantities by using many trees of the same cultivar. However all our teas made by Master Lin are made solely using the harvests of single, old trees resulting in teas which are completely unique in flavour and aroma. The total quantity of tea produced from this tree in April 2019 was less than 5kg.
Initially the tea is striking for its intoxicating white flower fragrance with the complexity of a well-constructed perfume, but its main strength is an outstanding balance. The floral aroma is reflected in the taste but is offset with notes of figs, peach stone, citrus and the roast of the tea, which dominates on the later infusions. The feeling of this tea is exceptional, particularly in the throat where it is soothing and has a persistent sweetness even well after the tea has been drunk. Quite simply, one of the best oolongs we have had this year.
This tea can withstand many infusions and we strongly recommend using a high leaf to water ratio with short brewing times to bring out the full spectrum of flavours.
Master Lin, Wudong Mountain (1300m altitude), Guangdong, China
SIZE OF FARM
PLANTS AND PROCESSING
Single 400 year old tree – Camellia Sinensis Sinensis, Ba Xian cultivar. Light-medium charcoal roast. Harvested Spring 2019.
90-95°C, 6g per 150ml. Wash briefly, 10-15 infusions.
Mount Wudong road is like one of those insane mountain roads one sees in the Tour de France, always bending and always upwards to an unseen misty peak. For those that make the pilgrimage, it is a revelation to see some of the oldest tea trees outside of Yunnan. Some are majestic, some windswept, some with the local villagers growing beneath them, and some in groups like small orchards. Master Lin, a self taught tea maker, has made teas from many of the iconic ancient trees although doesn’t own any land himself, preferring to rent single trees and process their leaf by hand.
Master Lin’s family were not tea makers so his success and passion are all the more extraordinary. A tea maker for over 30 years, he made a point of travelling all over the Phoenix mountains to learn both from the terrain and other tea makers. Once he was confident in his own tea making skills, from 2002 he started to compete at tea competitions where his skills both as a tea maker and as a national level tea taster have helped him win many awards including the Top Gold Medal for Dan Cong at the International Tea Expo at Guangzhou in 2007. Master Lin attributes his success in competitions to his preparation and willingness to consult his fellow master tea makers.