A Prose about Exclusivity
Thank you for drinking tea with us.
"Royal Banquet" aims to bring tea drinkers into the world of very fine and exclusive teas. These teas used to be inaccessible to commoners in time gone by, but today we are able to bring it to you via our network of sourcing direct from the farms and our friendship with the producers.
The three teas on feature are a white tea, a green tea and a wulong tea, namely:
- 2022 Zheng He Silver Needle (政和白毫银针), 6 gm
- 2022 Dong Ting Bi Luo Chun (洞庭碧螺春), 6 gm
- 2019 Gold Award Tie Guan Yin (两岸金奖铁观音), 8 gm (Limited)
Emperor Huizong of the Song dynasty is perhaps more famous in his artistic and tea accomplishments than his political ones. In fact, he was indirectly responsible for the collapse of the Song dynasty and died with his son (the next emperor after he abdicated) under the captivity of the invading Mongolians who swept across Asia and Europe. During his time, Guan Di county (关棣县) of today’s Fujian province was part of a larger tea region known as Bei Yuan (北苑贡茶园) that supplied tribute tea to the royal court. The garden was famous for producing a needle-shaped tea known as Bei Yuan Potent Buds (北苑灵芽) and this probably was the original form of Silver Needle tea famous today. This tea impressed the emperor so much he changed the name of the county to his era name of that time - Zheng He (年号政和). No other places in China share such an honour throughout Chinese history. This was just a few years after he wrote his tea treatise during the Da Guan era (大观茶论). In this treatise, he discussed about white tea, and specified the steps of whisking green tea powder using a bamboo whisk to make into a broth, a method which was subsequently exported to Japan to develop into the matcha ceremony we see today.
This tea was made by Tea Master Yang Feng, who is the Chinese government appointed custodian for the Intangible Culture Heritage of making Zheng He Red and White Tea.
Bi Luo Chun is from Dong Ting Mountains in Tai Hu of Suzhou (苏州太湖洞庭山). It is often confused with Dong Ting Lake in Hunan which produced another famous tea – Junshan Silver Needle (君山银针). History records show that the tea’s original name was "Scarily High Fragrance" in the local dialect, reflecting of course its high fragrance. During his fourth visit down south, Emperor Kangxi was similarly taken aback by the high fragrance but was unimpressed with its unglamourous name. Being a lyrical emperor, he changed it to Bi Luo Chun, referring to its dark green tone (碧), its twirled shape like shells of snails (螺) and its spring harvest (春).
This tea was made by Zou Guang Qi. He has been awarded High Level Agriculture Technician, First Level Tea Evaluator and First Level Tea Brewer.
Tie Guan Yin is a familiar tea but its discovery story is less famous. There are two discovery stories, one of which involves the Wang family and the other the Wei family. In the Wang story, Wang Shi Rang (王仕让) was a court official during the reign of Qianlong emperor of the Qing dynasty. When he was posted to today’s Hubei, he had a tea house built at Nanshan. One day, he noticed a tea sapling which looked special and he transplanted it to his tea house to take care of it. Surely the tea tree produced a tea with high fragrance and long lasting aftertaste. Once he was summoned to the capital, he brought along this tea and offered to the Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Rites. The minister was equally impressed by the tea and offered it to Qianlong emperor. Upon inspecting the shape, it is tightly rolled and dark like metal. The tadpole shape with a broad base and small tail looked like the usual shape of the Goddess of Mercy in meditation. As such, he named it Tie Guan Yin, which literally translates to Metal Goddess of Mercy.
This tea was made by Tea Master Xu Liang Hu, who is the Chinese government appointed custodian for the Intangible Culture Heritage of making Tie Guan Yin. Tea Master Xu took part in the Fujian and Taiwan tea roasting competition in 2019 and he was awarded gold metal for producing dark roasted Tie Guan Yin. This tea, in its original packaging, is the product of the competition. It is limited in quantity and has been aged for 3 years.
2022 政和白毫银针 6克
2022 洞庭碧螺春 6克