Monday, October 20, 2008

Tieguanyin Fall Tea

A friend just got back from Anxi where he was purchased TGY for his shop.  In tea shops around the country you will see simiilar scenes; not so much the disorder as the stripping the TGY off the twigs and sorting out the huangpian.  This process is not very difficult as far as I can tell, but there are a couple of things which must be kept in mind. Discard the leaves with heavy insect damage (sometimes you can find leaves that look like they are only veins) so the leaf will look better in the gaiwan.  Some of the huangpian should be discarded. Huangpian are leaves which have not oxidized properly, usually the older leaves. Some huangpian in a TGY will make it more fragrant, but too many will make the tea astringent. Special care should be taken to make sure the white buds sometimes visible at the top of twigs are discarded. These young buds will make TGY very astrigent.

Although this process is not extremely specialized and can be learned quite quickly, it is quite time consuming.  The largest advantage experience gives is speed, and the beginner should take care not to break up the leaves. When seperating the maocha, a lot of weight is lost. About four tenths of each kilo are discarded. When labour is figured in a retailer must sell a tea for more than twice the wholesale price in order to break even.

I have also decided I don't like TGY very much. My favorite type of tea right now if I had to chose one would certainly be oolong. Almost every oolong tea is pleasing, and the variety makes for new suprises all the time. As many tea blog readers know, many drinkers in Guangdong/Hongkong and Taiwan as well as older people in Anxi may like a more traditional TGY which may be heavily roasted, more fully oxidized or both. Outside of these areas, it is not usually possible to find a more traditional TGY. Living in Zhejiang, Wenzhou all tea is as green as possible, and therefore TGY is very popular. This is more evident now than ever: Autumn TGY is said to be more fragrant than Spring tea, and is therefore preferred by some.  Spring tea is more full bodied and has a better mouthfeel.

Forunately my friend made some friends from Taiwan while he was in Anxi, and therefore was able to bring back some decent tea. This past weekend I got to try an Oriental Beauty sample and an Imperial Consort Oolong. When I infused the Imperial Consort I was quite pleased. It had a nice light roast and was oxydized about halfway. It had many Oolong characteristics which I love. The mouthfeel was full and oily, and the fragrance was sometimes reminicent of Yancha. It also had the 'milk' aftertaste which can be often found in Spring TGY. When brewed strong it had a pleasent and light astringency which I don't mind. The responses to this tea was quite varied.  My friend Xiaoguang loved this tea as well, but he said I made it too strong. His wife said not only was it too strong, but that there was nothing special about this tea. She had never heard the name and said it was low quality oolong made of leaves which were too old. She said someone just made up a fancy name so they could sell their tea for a higher price. Teamasters blog posted about this tea (贵妃茶 - guifeicha) a couple of days ago. It is probably not the same batch... just the same varietal or comes from the same area. Stephane called it Concubine tea.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

CCTV 7 - Dancong Wulong

Today I want to share a link for a video.  It is all in Chinese, but I will summarize the audio below so people who can't speak Chinese will be able to tell whats going on.  I think some of the video would be enjoyable even if you can't understand the audio.

This video is from CCTV (China Central Television, not closed circuit TV) Channel 7, one of my favorite TV channels.  By watching CCTV 7 you can learn how to grow crops, how to raise pigs, chickens etc.  They have shows on everything having to do with agriculture or the Chinese military.

This video explores the tea of Chaozhou: Fenghuang Dancong.

I have published my translation of the audio as a Google document here, it is too long to put into the blog. You shouldn't need an account to view it.  It might be a good idea to print out the translation and read along as you watch the video on full screen.  I couldn't see the time elapsed when not in full screen mode.

For best results open the video with Internet Explorer.  It does not work with Firefox, or Google Chrome.  It seems to work with Opera and Safari. The streaming video might not be so good outside of China.

The video can also be found at:

However, the commercials have been cut out, so my elapsed time notations would have to be modified.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Monkey Served Tea

I have read many posts on various blogs about how not only is there no such thing as true monkey picked tea, but that there never was.  In principle I agree.  How could monkeys be trained to pick only the new leaves, and the proper number? How would you train the monkey to collect the tea in a bag and not just throw it around?  Wouldn't the monkey bruise the leaf and damage the trees?

Now we have startling new scientific evidence that monkeys can be trained to pick tea!  Well not really, but I saw an article in the Daily Mail about monkeys who work as waiters in a restaurant; and although it is not explicitly mentioned, they probably serve tea as one of their duties.

I leave you, the gentle reader, to be the judge of my outrageous extrapolation.  Does a monkey serving tea in a restaurant suggest his ancestors or at least cousins in China might have been capable of picking tea?  The scientific community awaits our verdict with communal bated breath.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Wuyi Shan Oct 2

On the third day in Wuyishan I got up early determined to drink good tea no matter what the cost.  I had made a date to drink tea at the Jinpao(金袍 - Golden Robe)Tea factory in the afternoon, as old customers had reservations with them for the morning.  My friend and I decided to go to Xingcun(星村) and ride the bamboo rafts down the river.

 We tried taking a cab, but the cab couldn't go down the road because traffic is restricted during the tourist season.  We decided to walk to Xingcun instead.  We made a detour through some villages with lots of tea gardens and also walked down a path to the Nine Bends Stream where I took a nice picture of an iridescent dragon fly perched on a rock.  Eventually we got on a public bus and rode all the way to the end of the line.  Conventional wisdom says not to buy tea from Xingcun.  The farmers there sell all of their tea leaf to large factories and then buy cheap chaqing (茶青, unprocessed tea leaves) from other areas to make their Yancha.  Therefore it is not real Zhengyan tea, and therefore not so good.  My friend and I wandered around Xingcun to get a sense of direction, and happened upon a little shop selling firecrackers, cigarettes, incense, paper money, and of course tea.  We went in and had some of the tea the wife was sorting, it wasn't so good, but the husband invited us back to his home and tea factory to have some better tea.

He led us through the winding alleys and backstreets of Xingcun to his house, up on a small rise.  In the first picture of the backstreets of Xingcun the reader will see Mr. Li's back in the foreground as he leads us along the backstreets of Xingcun.  The buildings in this area of town were traditional construction made from packed earth.  As the earth in Wuyi shan is red, it adds a pleasing natural color to the walls.  In addition to the beautiful red earth, crushed ceramic and gravel is added for texture. In the detail photo you can see where tea ware goes when it dies.

Bowl bottoms make an interesting detail in the earth walls.  The earth is pounded into place, and in the center of the walls are boards and grass to add structural support. The foundations are more substantial stone or brick construction, and most earth walls are no more than one story high. A second story is constructed with hollow brick walls.  Sometimes wooden garrets are made under the eaves perfect for imprisoning orphans, if you have been reading too much Dickens.

In the third photo the reader can see the various layers of construction materials.  The foundation is brick, then a layer of round, medium sized stones on the right.  Above the earth layer, one can see the hollow brick construction which makes up the stepped square facade.  Also of note is the beautiful old well surrounded with stones.  

Mr. Li, our host had a nice two story concrete house with his tea processing equipment taking up most of the substantial courtyard.  As we entered on the left there was a bank of about 40 pots of orchids, all of which he had dug up and taken home, unfortunately few were in bloom.  He also had a potted Baijiguan (白鸡冠 white cock's comb) which I snapped a picture of.

If you look closely you can see it is fertilized with spent tea leaves.

At Mr. Li's house we drank about 4 different teas.  He was a much more down to earth guy than a lot of the tea sellers.   Mr. Li strikes me as a farmer who is a good tea processor and businessman, but who is not involved with the tourist trade very much. Most tourists come to Xingcun just to get on the bamboo rafts and float back towards the resort area.  He also had very down to earth prices.  I didn't ask him if his tea was 'Zhengyan' or not, mostly because his prices were 120-180 RMB per jin(500 grams)  He told us that most of his tea was for blending and later sale as Dahongpao.  We drank some Laocong Shuixian, Rougui, Beidou #1, and some 105.  Mr. Li says his customers blend the 105 and Rougui to make Dahongpao, and also they sometimes use the Beidou #1.  Mr. Li's teas were all pretty high fire, and well oxidized which is how I like it.  When he made Gongfucha, he made it like a local.  To make Yancha like a local, you fill up the gaiwan with as much leaf as possible, even pushing the leaves down a little bit if necessary.  Instead of instant pours, you let it sit for as much as 30 or more seconds even on the first infusion.  This is how I like to drink Yancha. 

I bought some of the Laocong Shuixian and some of the Beidou #1, which he said still needed to rest (or tuihuo 退火) and then be roasted again.  He said Tea should rest at least 20 days between roastings.  I bought the Beidou anyway, because it was already pretty roasted, and I liked it.

After leaving Mr. Li's house we found a great little restaurant run by Chinese who had come back from living in Vietnam. They made wonderful Vietnamese noodles with no meat or vegetables, just sauce, and my friend and I ate lunch for 7RMB or one dollar US between the two of us.

At the Bamboo raft area the lines were long, and some people told us that we wouldn't be able to buy tickets.  We walked out of Xingcun to the main road to wait for the bus. On the way to the main road there were tea bushes on either side of the road, click on the picture below to see a larger version, three men and a tea bush trimming machine can almost be made out.

In the afternoon we went to the Jinpao tea factory to try some better teas.  The Jinpao tea factory is inside the scenic area, almost just over the bridge to the resort area.  The Jinpao factory is run by a large family, and is a fairly large affair.  There are three tasting rooms at the front of the compound.  Two cousins brewed teas and fetched more from the back.  We drank 3 rouguis, 3 Laocong Shuixian, Jin Suoshi, Qilan, Gold Medal Dahongpao, and maybe one or two more I can't recall.  Most of the teas were brewed two or three at a time, so they could be prepared together.  The people who run this place are pretty knowledgeable about tea, and have a professional setup.  The tea is brewed in Gaiwans, and then poured off into a bowl with a ceramic spoon to smell the tea.  Each person can serve their own tea with the spoon. Each infusion is poured into a separate bowl, or the previous infusion is dumped out.  It always annoyed me when tea sellers would mix different infusions together.

I asked the Jin Pao people for more traditional teas - more oxidized, higher fire, and handmade if possible.  It is my opinion that a lot of the Qingxiang or light and fragrant tea in Wuyi suffers a lot in the realm of mouth feel.  Most of the qingxiang teas I drank in Wuyi had thin and insipid liquor, and little taste.  Sometimes, a tea will suffer from being over oxidized or over roasted, but I had many well made teas in Wuyi that did not sacrifice fragrance for mouth feel.  I also like  a fragrant, flowery tea; but with Yancha I feel that qingxiang teas are often an excuse for poor processing.  Because of a lack of skill, the processor will end oxidization early because for fear of overdoing it.

Jin Pao had a lot of good middle range teas, which I enjoyed.  However they seem to have a lot of qingxiang teas which lack mouth feel.  I bought a 'hundred year old bush shuixian' a 'gold medal dahongpao' and a 'golden key.'

I remember liking the golden key varietal quite a lot when I first had it.  I got the Qilan and the Gold medal Dahongpao a little bit mixed up at the very end of our tea session.  I was trying to organize my thoughts on all the teas and decide on what to purchase when I should have been paying attention.  I may have bought the golden medal dahongpao because I thought it was the Qilan.

After dinner, still toting my previous purchase, my friend and I made a stop in a store where a friendly woman worked.  She had helped introduce us to a couple of places to buy carvings, and we wanted to say thanks and goodbye.  When she noticed all the tea we were carrying she wanted to know what everything was, where we got it and for how much.  I offered to let her taste it, and she took me up on the offer.  She said her brother was a great tea drinker and would be able to tell us if the tea was real Zhengyan tea or not.  It turned out her 'brother' also owned the shop.

We drank some of the Laocong I had just bought.  I really liked my Laocong because the qingtai (青苔 or moss) flavour was so strong, it almost tasted like puerh tea.  Older brother Xiong said my Laocong was alright, but it was only 'gaocong' (高丛 high bush, not yet true old bush) which means it came from bushes only 30-40 years old.  He brought out some of his own 'real' laocong shuixian, which did in all honesty have a much better mouth feel and a fuller flavour.  He also wanted 1,200 RMB/jin as opposed to 560 RMB/jin that I had bought mine for. However, after the 5th infusion both teas were still going strong and I was hard pressed to tell much difference between the two.

We also drank some of my Gold medal dahongpao, and he brought out some of his Huang guanyin (黄观音 or yellow guanyin as opposed to iron/tie guanyin.)  Again his huang guanyin was better than my tea, but about double the price.  He said my dahongpao hadn't won any sort of gold medal, and that it wasn't even real yancha, but was zhoucha (周茶 or tea from the area around Wuyishan.)  This guy certainly didn't do very much for my confidence, but he kept us company and cheerfully talked tea with me for an hour and a half, and I didn't even buy anything.

He did give me a very good idea, which is pretty obvious, really.  If you are having a lot of trouble getting tea sellers to take out their best teas, bring a bunch of samples of your best tea to the stores and drink it with the proprietor. Say you want something better, and make sure to tell them you bought it for a fraction of the actual price.

Older brother Xiong was a nice guy who has been drinking tea all his life (like everyone from Wuyi) but he has been in the tea business for only two years.  He doesn't produce tea himself, but might be a good contact for people who are going to Wuyi.  He also sells Tieguanyin and told a great story of his friend who buys TGY for a large company to the tune of one million RMB each season.  Older brother Xiong often goes to Anxi with this friend who is teaching him about the TGY business.  This friend buys TGY without drinking it.  He just grabs a handful and smells it, looks at the leaf and starts bargaining.  Perhaps my readers have seen this done, or heard of it, but I had not and thought it interesting.

Shop name 武夷山悦茗香
Contact (older brother) 熊殿标 13860015899
address 武夷山 三菇度假区 天游峰路 A-9-11
悦茗香茶业  圣远酒店对面
Woman in the shop 梁丹 13859322693

I told Mr. Xiong I would put his number and shop address up on the net.  He has not been in the business for very long(2 years), and so is more likely to want to meet new customers or tea friends.  He seems to be in the business because he loves tea.  He also has good tea.  I wouldn't go so far as to reccomend buying his products as I didn't buy anything from him, but all the tea I had in his shop was good if a little expensive.  He is friendly and knowledgeable and willing to talk, but can only speak Chinese. 

I hope others may profit from my experience at Wuyi, just as I profited from those who blogged before me.  Please feel free to email me with any questions. I may not be able to answer them, but can promise to live vicariously through you or anyone who is planning a tea trip.  I can also provide more phone numbers, addresses of places I went to, as well as names of factories with good reputations that I have yet to visit.

Wuyi Shan Oct. 1st

On my second day At Wuyishan, I just felt rotten, had digestive issues and was dizzy and weak.  I think it was the shellfish I ate at the restaurant the night before, but it could have been drinking too much tea.  I got some antibiotics, and some Chinese medicine.  I felt a lot better by the third day, but the second day was not productive.  I did drink some tea, but not much.  Especially in the morning I just swished it around in my mouth and then spit it out.  In the spring, when the new tea is finished, the producers and buyers usually taste the tea this way, rinsing it around in the mouth and then spitting it out.

My friend was trying to find a nice tea for cheap, as Yancha is not very popular in Southern Zhejiang province.  He thought that his customers would not be able to accept a more expensive Yancha, and was looking to get a nice tea for 50-150 RMB/kilo.  I was interested in getting a good tea for myself, and interested in buying small quantities if even if the price was high.  I did traipse around the area with him trying all the garbage teas, looking at carvings, both stone and wood, looking at tea packaging and other tea products.  Since I did not do much tea drinking on the 1st, I will introduce some of Wuyi's other products.  One of the most interesting things I found was the Wuyi bingcha pictured above.  I was really surprised to see these all over the city in tea shops.  I had never heard of Yancha being pressed into a cake, but here they were.  As soon as I got back, Hobbes posted about this on Half-dipper, and people commenting on his post left links on where to buy the stuff as well as links to posts on   The prices were about 11USD for a small bing of about 150 grams.  I thought it was really expensive.  I offered a bunch of store keepers 20RMB, but they didn't sell.  I asked one proprietor when Wuyi started making these tea cakes, and he said they had always made them, but they had been for the farmers personal use in the past.  I also noticed that many of the cakes were covered in plastic wrap.  Wuyi tea is supposed to be kept sealed up pretty tight, while Pu'er is supposed to have access to a certain amount of air.  I wonder if these tea cakes age well, and how they ought to be kept for best results.

Another famous specialty of Wuyi mountain is Shoushan shi(寿山石 - longevity mountain stone)which is a beautiful orange red and white stone, and one of the four most famous stones in China. They sell lots of poor quality carvings in many stores all over Wuyi, and also many beautiful pieces of art.  If you want to buy shoushanshi, look around.  they have lots of decently priced items, as well as overpriced ones.  Most pieces are covered in oil to protect them, which attracts small insects which in turn get stuck in the oil.  Corax got a chop made (see the link to his post on Chadao two posts ago) at 乐宝齐寿山石总店 (tel 0599.525.2542) which I was also able to find, unfortunately it was closed by the time I got there.

Snake products are ubiquitous in Wuyi.  They have a snake garden somewhere nearby, which supposedly hold tens of thousands of snakes.  These snakes are used to make delicacies such as snake meat and snake gall wine and snake wine and snake oil and snake face cream.  Almost every store in Wuyi has a snake product section.  I really meant to get some snake wine, as it is sort of legendary in China.  
I suppose it is silly, but it certainly would impress my male friends back in the states if all I drank from now on was liquor that had snake corpses floating in it.  Snakes are also killed in the thousands for their penises.  I am not just making a crude joke, every store in the resort area has a couple of boxes. 
 They sell for the bargain rate of 20 RMB/box of five.  I never actually saw anyone buy any.  I didn't either, and I probably wouldn't admit it here if I had.  They are supposed to improve sexual prowess in males.  

The last thing I wanted to mention is a set of postcards which I bought.  I went into a painter's shop in a side street.  He was from Chongqing and painted almost exclusively landscape paintings from Wuyi Mountain. He was a good painter, but his style was a little bit round and coarse for me, so I didn't buy any of his paintings. 
 He did have a great set of postcards of scenery from Wuyi mountain, which were a bargain at 12 yuan.  They were issued by the post office, so they are quite a bargain as half the price of the set is postage.

The painter's name is Jiang Guanmin (蒋关民.)He also showed us a great fold out painting of the scenery of all nine bends in the local Jiuqu xi (九曲溪 - nine bends stream) that was several meters long.  

I would suggest these postcards as an interesting alternative to regular postcards, and which also supports a local artist (who moved there from Chongqing.)

I slept most of the afternoon of October first in order to get over my sickness and prepare for another tea drinking marathon.  October first is Chinese National Day for those of you who don't know.  Be sure never to go anywhere in China on national day, especially not tourist destinations such as Wuyi.  I had a vacation during this time, and so I decided to risk it and go anyway.  All of the tourist destinations are packed, there are lines for everything.  All the locals are trying to cheat as many people as they can.  All the restaurants are busy and will ignore you if they have to get a high profit dinner ready for a huge tourist group.  If you do go during the Chinese holiday season, I would suggest you go with a tour group.  

I thought maybe the vacation would not affect the tea people, but it does.  Everyone is busy on the holidays.  Lots of the tea people are in their shops hawking their lowest quality goods to tourists who will pay big bucks for a fancy looking box of tea with the characters Dahongpao written on it.  Also many of their old customers may only have time to come by during the vacation, and they will be keeping these people company.

If you go on the off season it is much easier to convince the tea dealers that you came for the tea and are not just a tourist.  They will have more time to sit down with you and just chat.  When an area is as full of tea shops as this place is, a lot of these people are bored much of the year, and if you go at the right time they are friendly, helpful and happy to have the company of someone who loves tea even if you don't buy anything.  Most importantly, many tea producers don't even keep their best teas in the shops.  If you go during the off season, they have plenty of time to take you to the tea factory and see the tea gardens, and try all the better teas.

It will also help if you do some tea research before you go.  It is good to find respected names on the Internet, find their numbers and just give them a call.  When you do this, they will know you came for tea and it is a much better method than walking into random shops in the resort area and hoping they are tea producers.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Wuyi Shan Sept. 30

The bus trip to Wuyi Shan was just as long as I had suspected.  China is a place with lots of mountains, so in certain places taking a plane can save a lot of time.  The train was not an option from Wenzhou, so we took the bus which dropped us off at the resort area at about 10pm Monday the 29th.  Looked at the carvings and had a cup of tea at a random shop.  The wooden carvings (雕根) for sale in Wuyi are mostly amazing, but also expensive.  When we stopped for a break on the bus ride home, my friend went in to a workshop where they are produced.  A product that would be marked with a 20,000-30,000 RMB price tag and sell for about 8,000 RMB in Wuyi Resort area was on offer there for 1,000 RMB. Maybe there was something wrong with it I didn't see.

A local hustler got us a hotel room the first night for 130 RMB. The next night the price doubled. Our hustler was still anxious to help in the morning.  At about 8AM we set off to get discount tickets to the resort area.  Our guide/hustler led us past the gate to the 大王峰 and over to the river.  We started up a narrow path around the fence.   The 'discount tickets' were not tickets at all.  The hustler just wanted to charge us half price to sneak us around the ticket collector.  She was angry and said we were very stubborn when we refused to sneak in.  We did not wind up going to any sights in the tourist area of Wuyi Shan.

We took a taxi to the Big Tea Pot (大茶壶茶叶研究所)and arrived before 9AM.  Kids were screaming and everyone was too busy to pay attention to us.  Don't get me wrong, this place is worth checking out, although most people say its a bit on the expensive side. I regret I didn't go back to the Big Tea Pot at a better time.  I will definitely make a stop there next time.  The proprietor is Liu Feng (刘峰)one of the 'Three Lius' who are famous in Wuyi for their tea processing skills.

Our tea drinking marathon began at about 9AM and lasted through Sept. second.  We made a call to the proprietor of Tianzishenyun, mentioned in posts by Corax on Chadao and by Will (see my previous blog post for links.)  Ms. Yu's husband, Mr. Lu came to pick us up in his truck. Their house is great, we got to see all of the tea making equipment, and most importantly, they were re-roasting their tea. 
 For those of you who have never experienced it, Yancha over a roasting pit (beilu - 焙炉) is one of the most wonderful fragrances one can encounter.  I took a couple of pictures of the room, also mentioned in previous posts with the reed baskets over the concrete roasting pits. 

 We drank a bunch of cheaper teas, including their Yanzhonglan(岩中兰)the high fire version is quite good.  We also had his Baijiguan (白鸡冠.)I wasn't very impressed with the baijiguan.  It looks really cool (yellow leaves with red edges) but it doesn't have the Yanyun (岩韵) which Yancha is famous for.  I heard a few tea sellers say Baijiguan is not very good, but that they can get a good price for it and it sells well to certain customers. Mr. Lu took us for lunch to a small restaurant near his home, which in my opinion was excellent.  The moderate spiciness suited my taste, and did not overpower my palate for the afternoon tea session. We had green vegetables, some sort of eel like fish which lives in the mud, bamboo shoots, and Chinese bacon(腊肉), which for some reason I love.

After lunch, my friend and I went back to Mr. Lu's for an afternoon session.  We had a Gushucha (古树茶 ancient tree tea) which was very good.  They have a couple of versions.  The cheaper version I had before lunch was OK, I finally got them to bring out the 900RMB/kilo high fire version which I drank right after lunch and was impressed by the Chaqi. The old bush teas, including Shuixian are said to have a mossy flavour (青苔 qingtai.) I didn't think moss was the best description, but I think I noticed the flavour they were talking about.  I bought some of the high fire Gushucha and high fire Yanzhonglan, and got samples of the Qingxiang Gushucha, Dahongpao, and Shuixian.  After buying tea, Mr. Lu drove us into the Scenic area to show us some of his tea bushes and then dropped us off at the Wenyou Shudian, also mentioned in the Chadao post.

Mr. Lu went into the bookstore first and bought me a copy of the Record of Famous Bushes of Wuyi Mountain (武夷岩茶名丛录.) Since he is a local, he got the book for the local price (60 yuan as opposed to the 100 yuan cover price.) It is a great book with pictures and descriptions of 70 varietals, and a list of names of 280 varietals from the 1943. I plan to do a post with some names and translations as well as descriptions as soon as I have time.

Apart from this book, there was not much other material about tea.  There is a Chadao magazine, but the selection didn't seem as good as when Corax from Chadao was there.

In the afternoon we waded through a bunch of cheap teas which are not worth mentioning. The one exception was the 石乳 or 'stone milk.' It was tasty, and had an interesting beidixiang which really had a milky fragrance. (kind of like that sometimes found in TGY or Taiwan Oolong like Alishan.) I found a 石钟乳 or 'stone clock milk' varietal in my handy book in the list of names from 1943, but this varietal is not described.  I did see it in other shops, so it is not unheard of.

The restaurant we tried to eat at on Monday night was awful.  They had all sorts of vegetables set out to choose from including all sorts of mushrooms, bee (maybe wasp) larvae, deer, some unidentifiable animals.  After a whole hour of waiting they only managed to bring out 1 dish, which was nasty fresh water shellfish.  Most of the shells were empty, and there was a lot more empty shells than shell-less meats. They tried to bring over some expensive dishes which we hadn't ordered, and eventually we left without eating.  

After we finally had a bowl of noodles, I went back to the hotel to rest for awhile.  My friend went back out immediately to drink more tea, and I just lay about making notes.

Laying by myself in the hotel room I had a very strange experience.  Some of the Huigan 回感 of the myriad teas I had had throughout the day came back to haunt me.  It was very hard to attach each huigan to a specific tea, but very lucid tea flashbacks.  It was like remembering part of a very nice dream I had had days earlier... sometimes the whole dream or the context is hard to recall, but the nice feelings or pleasant emotions of the dream come back.

My friend took came back to the hotel room at about 10pm to get a sample of tea to bring out to another tea shop to see if they could match the flavour at a better price.  We went to 探春 tanchun teashop (in the resort area, right opposite the bus station.)

I went to the factory of the family who runs Tanchun teashop on the third day.  I am not sure what to think of their business practices, but the young woman who runs Tanchun is very knowledgeable.  She told us our tea sample was a mix of Rougui and Beidou varietals.  Rougui has a rough feel to the leaves which are more narrow than Beidou. Beidou is smooth, and the leaves are  wider.  She also told me that all Fenghuang Oolong tea was originally from Wuyishan, and that the bushes were transplanted there during the song dynasty.  Evidence can be found in the 崇安县志 chonganxianzhi.  I am not sure who to believe, as I have also read that all Wuyi Yancha originates in Chaozhou.  I have been suspecting some sort of connection for awhile since so many of the names are so similar.  I'm pretty sure the relationship is not as simple as everyone makes it out to be.