03 Dec All You Need To Know About An’xi Ben Shan Oolong
Our An’xi Ben Shan grows at an altitude of over 1000m in the Qingshui Yan mountains in Anxi county, Fujian province in China.
This oolong variety has been created fairly recently, in 1870 by Yuan Xing. An’xi Ben Shan is the cultivar of An’xi Ben Shan oolong and can be translated as “source mountain”.
In An’xi, it belongs to the four most popular oolongs. Spread across different areas called Xi Ping, Hu Qiu, Peng Lai, Shang Qing, Chang Keng and Lu Tian, there are around 16,000 acres of Ben Shan tea gardens.
An’xi Ben Shan leaves are yellowish green. The tea is similar to Tie Guan Yin both in its appearance and flavour. However, the leaves of An’xi Ben Shan have an ellipse shape with a ridgy edges and tend to unfurl quicker when brewed.
The liquor can go from light orange to emerald and its flavour has a mineral and sweet taste with hints of pear and fresh flowers.
Processing of An’xi Ben Shan
1. Plucking tea leaves: the tea leaves have to be plucked at the right moment. They need to be mature and yet still tender.
2. Sun withering: the leaves are then left in the sun which helps them lose water and soften.
3. Cooling: Then they are left in a cool place indoors, which help the leaves lose more water and helps with oxidation.
4. Tossing: only oolong tea undergoes this step, in which the leaves are placed inside a barrel and tossed.
5. Fixation: this step stops enzymatic oxidation, which prevents the leaves from turning into “black tea”. An’xi Ben Shan is lightly oxidized, meaning that fixation needs to happen quite early on during the processing of the tea.
6. Shaping: the leaves are then rolled into small balls which are characteristic for light oolongs.
6. Drying: this final stage ensures the leaves are fully dried, so that they can keep fresh longer.
Here are some brewing tips to help you get the most enjoyment out of your An’xi Ben Shan oolong.
The “Asian style” or “Gong-fu”
Steep 6 grams (2 tbsp) in 150ml water (medium sized Gaiwan) at 80°C for approximately 20-30 seconds.
Infuse 6-8 times and add 5-10 seconds for each consecutive re-steep.