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Traditionally Processed Hong Xin Wei Tao / Red Heart Anxi Tieguanyin (8g)

Traditionally Processed Hong Xin Wei Tao / Red Heart Anxi Tieguanyin (8g)

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This hong xin wei tao tieguanyin was produced the traditional way in Anxi for a Thai-Chinese family, and this is their premium tieguanyin offering. This is the first hong xin varietal tieguanyin I had (knowingly) ever tried. Hong xin, or red heart, tieguanyin, is considered the original tieguanyin cultivar. Qing xin (also spelled chin shin), or green heart tieguanyin, is widely used in both Anxi and Taiwan to produce tieguanyin. Both hong xin and chin xin varietals were taken over to Taiwan by Fujianese immigrants and today, qing xin is the dominant cultivar in Taiwan! Most high mountain oolong production is qing xin today.

This tea was interesting enough that it got me reading about tieguanyin and hybrids, and I realized many famous Taiwanese varietals are hybrids between hong xin and qing xin oolong types! This tea is distinctly different from modern tieguanyin varietals, but the Taiwanese are very good at replicating the taste of hong xin with qing xin plants.

Hong xin is lower yielding and produces smaller, thinner leaves than qing xin, so it can be considered an heirloom varietal of sorts, since it is not as commonly cultivated anymore. This particular tea was processed the traditional way: with more oxidation than is conventional today, and with a medium roast. This is a lovely tea! It won't go for as many infusions as a qing xin oolong will, but each infusion of this tea is very pleasurable. 

There is an orchid/osmanthus note to this tea from the oxidation and roast that is very pleasurable, and reminiscent of baozhong and dancong teas, as well as some qing xin teas I have tried in the past, including some Taiwanese tieguanyins. This tea reminds me of a Taiwanese dongding oolong, but with more complexity. I believe dongding oolongs were traditionally processed very similar to classic Anxi tieguanyin, which makes sense as dongding is produced with tieguanyin cultivars brought over from Anxi by Fujianese immigrants!

This tea has warm osmanthus notes with a clear date-like aroma, which was surprising. The warm, dry leaf had a note that reminded me of modern tieguanyin. This tea brews sweet and pleasant, and there is a fig or date-like finish to the liquor that is intriguing. This tea goes for three solid infusions when brewing gongfu-style with care. I noticed pronounced sweetness in the first two infusions, with a little astringency and bitterness becoming apparent in the third infusion. 

Brewing instructions: At full boil in a 100ml vessel, preferably a Yixing hongni teapot or gaiwan. Use water of appropriate hardness. I would use infusion lengths of 15 seconds, 30 seconds and 45 seconds for three infusions.

I only have 21 packets of this tea, but may be able to get more if there is sufficient interest.

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