Together with Tieguanyin (Iron Goddess of Mercy), Maoxie, Meizhan, and Buddha’s Hand, Golden Cassia is one of the key indigenous varietals of oolong in Anxi, part of the Southern Fujian region. Anxi is a mountainous region; there are 2943 mountain peaks here that measure above over 3000 ft in elevation! Tea cultivation here dates back more than two thousand years, to the Northern Song Dynasty.
The soil in Anxi is extremely well suited for the growth of tea trees, consisting primarily of lateritic red earth. This special type of soil is formed by the weathering of the rocks in the densely clustered mountains, and is extremely high in minerals such as iron and aluminum. In conjunction with this mineral rich soil, Anxi’s subtropical marine climate brings termperate weather across all seasons and consistent precipitation, ideal for tea trees.
Meizhuang Village in Anxi, Fujian is one of three villages where Golden Cassia originates from. The varietal is easily distinguished: its fresh buds are tinted yellow, and the trees are known by their osmanthus-like fragrance. The Chinese name for Golden Cassia is 黄金桂. The first character, 黄, translates into “yellow,” the second character, 金, translate into “gold,” the third character, 桂, translate into “osmanthus.”
Whether or not you are familiar with this varietal will depend on where you live. It has long been most common for Golden Cassia from Meizhuang Village to be exported to Japanese and Southeast Asian markets. (The preferred oolong in Japan is Golden Cassia from Anxi). As a result, it is a tea we see less in the West.
This Golden Cassia is crafted by Master Lin Zhenwen, a generational tea farmer of Meizhuang Village. He is one of the few “old masters” in the village, known for having the highest skill at crafting oolong. Master Lin crafts his Golden Cassia using the traditional regional method: the tea sees 4 rounds of yaoqing (bruising) followed by slow-fired charcoal roasting. He only makes 50 kilograms of this tea every year, once in the Spring and once in the Fall, for his long-standing customers in Hong Kong.
This Golden Cassia, crafted by Master Lin, has a deep, warm and floral fragrance and yet it’s taste is gentle and sweet. This makes the tea enveloping, while still being very light on the palate. It is beautiful to watch the leaves open in the gaiwan, like crumpled pages that tell the story of its making: they are marked with varying colours by the yaoqing process, and creased by the constriction that came from their roasting.
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|Steep time||10 - 60 sec
|No. of infusions||8