Varietal: Qi Lan
Harvest: Spring, 2011
Growing Region: Wuyi Shan Scenic Area, Fujian Province
10 gram Sample Available
Qi Lan (奇兰, English: “rare orchid”) is a popular tea varietal/cultivar grown throughout the oolong producing areas of Fujian and Guangdong. It is said to have originally come from the Wuyishan area, but this varietal is also commonly grown in other oolong producing regions, such as Fujian’s Anxi County, where it is made into a local stye “Se Zhong” oolong, and also in the Chaozhou area (Raoping County), where it is processed into a “Dan Cong” style oolong.
Appearance, Flavor & Aroma:
This tea’s dry leaves are the long and twisting shape and dark greenish red-brown color characteristic of traditional Wu Yi Yan Cha. The fragrance of the dry leaves is toasty with something that reminds me of cookies. It was traditionally roasted over charcoal for 18-20 hours, resulting in a moderately dark roasted finished tea.
When infused, this tea produces a clear, moderately thick liquor with a rich, toasty-sweet aroma. The flavor is toasty and sweet with a pleasantly warming element of the “cookies” I smelled in the dry leaves. The aftertaste is long-lasting and mellow with a touch of dry fruit and a floral element.
We strongly suggest Gong Fu style preparation with this tea. Rather than sticking to a specific weight of tea leaves to water volume measure, we recommend simply filling your gaiwan or Yixing style teapot 1/3 to 1/2 full of dry tea leaves, use water just under a boil and a series of short steepings. If you prefer to use a weight to volume measure, try starting with 8 grams of leaf in a 150 ml gaiwan or teapot.
For Western-style steeping, start with 2-3 grams of leaf (it’s hard to give a volume measure in teaspoons because of the large leaf style) per cup. Use water under a boil (195 degrees F), and steep for 3-5 minutes. Adjust the amount of leaf, steeping time, and water temperature used according to your preference.
I also highly recommend either using aroma cups with this tea or at least remembering to smell the lid of the gaiwan or your empty drinking cup. The aroma that lingers on the surface of the ceramic surface is amazing and well worth savoring.
General steeping guidelines for the different categories of Chinese tea and a short downloadable “how to” video on Gong Fu style tea preparation are available on our Chinese Tea Steeping Guide page.