About 120 years ago Taiwanese tea masters Zhang Nai Miao and his brothers made the journey by boat across the strait back to the mainland China to bring back Tie Guan Yin tea plants from Anxi county, Fujian province. They brought them back to their farmlands in Northern Taiwan to Muzha, a town in the low mountains on the south side of Taipei. On their return to Taiwan they continued to produce Tie Guan Yin in the traditional way. Traditionally Tie Guan Yin is a heavily roasted tea and Taiwan continues to produce Tie Guan Yin in this traditional way creating tea with a powerful fragrance, rich, warm flavor and lingering aftertaste.
Tea made from offspring of these original Tie Guan Yin plants form Anxi China are called “Zhen Cong” Tie Guan Yin, meaning “original bush”. In an attempt to produce something new and different, many tea growers in Taiwan nowadays experiment with non traditional methods to make tea. Sometimes the results are good, however, often times the traditional method continues to produce the most fragrant tea and retains the unique characteristics of that particular tea variety.
Zhen Cong Tie Guan Yin is grown at 300-350m on north facing slopes of Muzha. Here the plants are grown in rich soil with good drainage. The tea plants get full sun throughout the day which causes them to be high in tannin which normally makes tea bitter. It’s through the traditional oxidation and extended roasting process at medium heat that these tannins are transformed and the bitterness reduced. This transformation of the tea through oxidation and roasting makes it suitable to drink for those who are elderly or have a weak stomach.
Zheng Cong Tie Guan Yin has a rich flavor and deep aftertaste that lingers at the back of the throat. It also has floral, acidic fruit, honey and notes of incense. Subsequent brews have a subtle mineral finish. To taste the full range of flavors from this traditionally produced tea you can leave the second and third steepings too cool which will change the fragrance and flavor.