May 2024 Tea Subscription


Thank you for coming onboard Parchmen & Co and travel with us to savour our world in a cup!

We aim to bring tea drinkers into the world of extremely fine and exclusive teas. These teas used to be inaccessible to commoners in the past but today we are able to bring it to you via our extensive network of sources directly from tea farms owned by our friends in different countries.

In the month of May 2024, we are featuring a yellow tea, a wulong tea and a red tea, namely:

- 2024 Meng Ding Yellow Buds yellow tea 蒙顶黄芽  10g
- 2023 Zhang Ping Shuixian wulong tea 漳平水仙 10g
- 2023 Golden Guan Yin red tea 金观音 10g

Han dynasty (around BCE 200) Wu Li Zhen (吴理真), otherwise known as Ambrosia Grandmaster (甘露祖师) and Mengding Mountain Grandmaster of Tea (蒙顶山茶祖), was the oldest known person recorded in history who engaged in tea cultivation. On the historical site at Mengding Mountain, also known as Meng Mountain (蒙山) where Grandmaster Wu planted and tended to seven stalks of tea, it became Song dynasty royal property as the Royal Tea Garden (皇茶园) that is preserved till today. There have been numerous poems since the Tang dynasty which featured the tea and the mountain. This historical tea was named after the Ambrosia Grandmaster as Mengding Ambrosia (蒙顶甘露), and is regarded as the oldest known tea in China. A different style of tea was developed during the same period of time, made in a slightly different way known as a yellow tea today. The yellow tea is made by entirely picking newly grown tea buds which are yet to bloom, wrapping them in a wet bundle before putting it in a heated room for concurrent oxidation and fermentation, a process step called 'sweltering'. This step is what defines a yellow tea today.

Perhaps the current nomenclatures are modern day inventions. It was never clearly separated as different teas in the past. Collectively known as Mengding tea (蒙顶茶), it had enjoyed royal patronage since Han dynasty till Qing dynasty, transcending a remarkable continuous period of 2,000 years. The environment where it grows is a major contributing factor to its popularity. Situated on the west of Sichuan Basin, Mengding Mountain connects the great Qinghai–Tibet Plateau (青藏高原) with Sichuan, inheriting the ancient soils and cool climate. Qinghai–Tibet Plateau is the world's largest and highest plateau, hence it was given the prestigious title "Rooftop of the World". The climate in Mengding Mountain is misty for an average of 300 days per year. The mist forms a blanket over the mountain and tea fields, shielding it from direct sunlight and endowing it with 14 - 15℃ weather all year round. Such conditions are ideal for tea to grow. 

We are brewing this tea in our Parchmen Glass Gaiwan, using 3.5g of tea leaves to 130 ml of 75℃ distilled water for 35 sec. The dry leaves look slightly brownish and yellowish, which is one of the features of yellow tea. Upon brewing, the leaves have a dark yellowish look and a distinctive smell of umaminess and nuts, with a sweet finish of berries. There is even a fleeting sakura note. The brew is slightly yellow, and gets more so with subsequent brews. Our first impression of the tea is its thickness and smoothness - a sense of soft fluffiness at the tip of the tongue - and the lack of astringency. The typical greenness that defines a green tea is missing, as the now 'sweltered' yellow tea presents an interesting aroma of hazelnut accompanied by the incredible sweetness of rock sugar. The sweetness of the tea intensifies in the mouth even after you have swallowed the tea. A yellow tea is similar to a green tea but without the green characteristics, and presents a nuttiness that has a thicker and smoother mouthfeel. This tea can be brewed for up to three times.

Featuring the second tea of this month is the 2023 Zhang Ping Shuixian wulong tea. Fujian is one of the few provinces in China that is compartmentalised by its mountainous terrain, such that separate dialects - and separate kingdoms - developed over time. Today, these separate areas are unified by the common Chinese language but differentiated from each other due to different dialects. Located about 130 km NW from the famous Anxi county of Tieguanyin, Zhangping county has tea shrubs growing amongst blossoming cherry trees. The terroir here truly is special with natural forests and rolling hills covering about 75% of its land, its mineral-rich volcanic soils boost agriculture and timber industries in the city. Climate is mild with temperature at 16 to 20°C throughout the year, with ample rain. The Jiu Peng Creek (九鹏溪) runs through the tea growing areas supplying it with an abundance of mineral deposits, which value adds to the already superior growing conditions. Such good terroir develops a unique orchid floral note in the Zhangping Shui Xian. This tea is at the geographical division between the North Fujian and South Fujian styles of wulong making. Naturally, the Zhangping Shui Xian inherits both styles in a single tea. It is also important to note that this Shui Xian bears the same name but is entirely different from Fenghuang Shui Xian (凤凰水仙) of Chaozhou, which is also a wulong tea.

Going back in history, Zhang Ping Shui Xian was said to be first discovered in Zhang Ping Zhu Xian Cave (祝仙洞). In the local dialect, the pronunciation for the 'Zhu' character is 'Zhui' which coincidentally is the same dialect pronunciation for the word 'water'. In the common Chinese language, 'water' is pronounced as 'Shui'. The word 'Xian' is pronounced the same in both languages. Henceforth, the tea changed from Zhu Xian to Shui Xian in the Chinese language.

Zhang Ping started growing this tea during the Yuan Dynasty (1279-1386) and grew to a decent scale by the Qing Dynasty (1644–1911). In 1914, Deng Guan Jin, a native from Zhang Ping Shuang Yang Township (双洋镇), created the first ever compressed wulong tea brick from Zhang Ping Shui Xian, differentiating it from all other types of wulong teas. This tea remains the only commercially made wulong tea which is compressed. The various shades of oxidation produces a tri-coloured tea, with obvious red and dark red marks of oxidation at the edge of the green leaves. It is commercially sold in its signature compressed brick or the loose leaf form of Lao Cong Shui Xian.

We are brewing the tea in our Parchmen Glass Gaiwan, with the entire tea brick of 8g in the gaiwan with 200ml of 95°C distilled water. In a typical gongfu style, pouring out the tea after a short 15 to 30 sec brew, allows for continuous brewing for up to 8 times, until the leaves are fully expanded. Its liquor is bright yellow with a medium and smooth mouthfeel that is almost juicy. An aroma forward on orchid and magnolia, the tea is sweet and lingers long in the nose. The brewed leaves have a smell similar to a deeper note of maltose. The colour of the brew is pale yellow which slowly intensifies to a dark yellow with subsequent brews. At the third brew, the brick starts to unravel, producing a flavour profile that is more pronounced- a blend of floral and light roasty aromas supported by sweetness, the longer lasting and deeper taste results in a throat resonance that invites you to drink cup after cup. It is an extremely enjoyable tea for some quiet reading or office work.


The last tea of the month is a red tea made from a cultivar traditionally used for wulong tea. The Golden Guan Yin was under development for about 20 years from 1978-1999. Using the agricultural technique of hybridization comprising of Tieguanyin as the mother and Huang Jin Gui (黄金桂) as the father, the hybrid finally stabilised and the final stock was finally selected in 1999 after numerous field selections. This exquisite tea was admitted into the national register of tea in 2002. Genetically, it is closer to Tieguanyin in terms of visual appearance but buds earlier in the middle of March, and ready for picking in early April. As such, it is usually one of the earliest wulong tea to market. When made into a wulong tea, it interestingly follows the half-ball shape of Tieguanyin, which often causes confusion between the two products. Our tea is made into a red tea using this cultivar, following traditional north Fujian red tea method.

We are brewing the tea in our Parchmen Glass Gaiwan, using 3.5g of tea leaves to 130 ml of 85℃ distilled water for 60 sec. The dry leaves have a captivating smell of brown spices and dried raisins while the brewed leaves have a smell of malt and roasted seeds, with a hint of savouriness at the back. The brew is golden in colour, sweet and has a vibrant acidity. The sweetness supported by the medium and round body of the tea results in a taste that is similar to drinking a sugary drink from the onset. In the mouth, the aroma slowly changes to a combination of stewed fruits and winter melon, with an elegant bitterness of Chinese medicine. The aftertaste is clean and sweet. This tea can be brewed up to 2 times using the same parameters.

Thank you for coming onboard Parchmen & Co and travel with us to savour our world in a cup!