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Leaf-hopper cicadas are allowed to nibble on the leaves of this tea before picking. The resulting tea has a rose and honey profile with a blooming infusion curve.
Notes of spiced honey, roses, and toasted cashew.
Gui Fei Red, also known as Concubine Oolong is one of the sweetest oolongs. It is from a category of tea we refer to as leaf-bitten oolong, and it has a dynamic profile that pairs a mild charcoal roast to fully maintained bouquet of honeyed flowers.
Leaf-bitten teas deserve to be in a category of their own. There are several stories about how Gui Fei’s preparation method came to pass, and it appears that the most reliable story is that in 1999 there was an earthquake in central Taiwan and the tea farmers of Fenghuang village were forced to evacuate. Upon returning the farmers noticed that the tea plants had been overrun with cicadas that had nibbled on the leaves and stems. They processed the least damaged leaves and found that an almost magical transformation had occurred. Tea tasted completely different with an intense sweetness.
Shortly after the cicadas had bitten the leaves the plant created more sugars to heal itself. In addition, the leaves began to oxidize while still living on the bush, as opposed to the post-harvest human-assisted oxidation that commonly happens by tossing and rolling the leaves.
To this day same Fenghuang farmers near the Phoenix Mountain range in Taiwan encourage the little “leaf-hoppers” as they call them to nibble on the leaves to create this Gui Fei. There is now a beautiful, mutually beneficial 4-way symbiotic relationship between the cicada, the tea plant, the farmer, and the tea drinker.
Gui Fei has a tendency to be tricky to brew. It’s best to get to know this tea with shorter infusions. We use 200 degree water with 30 second infusions. The first infusion before the leaves open fully will be a delicate preview of the fireworks to come. Latter infusions have a profile that is a lot like a robust Oriental Beauty with extra sweetness. As the mouth-feel fades after the 4th infusion, the nose continues to bloom like a lively rose garden.
This tea is fruity sweet and citrusy too with touch of roasted nuts. Complex, changing with every steep. so delicious and refreshing during heat wave we experiencing now.
Dry leaf smelled so good of roasted nuts.
5g 100ml glazed pot 200F no rinse/30/15/10/15/20 sec etc