Last October I visited Long Juan, Anxi, Fujian, China. I went there with the intent to learn about Tie Guan Yin my, my favorite tea. Long Juan is considered the outer mountain of the Tie Guan Yin region and therefore not as desirable as places such as Gande. Needless to say some people prefer the tea from this town. In my time there I saw three different tea making facilities in action. Two were smaller more family run operations, both taking place in the household. This one though was a larger operation that yielded much more tea. It was a great experience to be in the factory because I was able to see all the steps of making Tie Guan Yin oolong happen at one time. I was there about seven in the morning before the new tea was picked, which usually happens in the afternoon, but right when the tea is finished fermenting. In this tea making video I show all the steps for making Tie Guan Yin oolong. First the tea is exposed to high heat to kill the teas enzymes. The the tea leaves are rolled to break the cell membrane and release juices. The tea is then loosened up and exposed to a little heat in order to make it ready for the rolling step. Tie Guan Yin is famous for its half ball leaf shape. To get this shape tea farmers must roll the tea leaves in a giant sack. One roll won’t get it all the way though, so they must roll it and then separate it from the other leaves, and roll it again. Each time they roll the individual leaves become more and more rolled. Once the individual leaves have reached the right shape it is given a last bake to remove any last moisture. At this point you have drinkable Tie Guan Yin Oolong tea. The next steps not shown in this video are a roasting (if wanted) which looks just like the baking and the destemming.
[…] After the fields we walked around the mountain village in Long Juan. About half of the households were making tea and it was easy to spot in and film because in such a small village everyone knew everyone. The tea production in these house holds were very small, usually one or room rooms with only two or three machines dedicated to it. In the lower part of Long Juan, where there is more physical space for buildings, I saw a much bigger factory which you can see in my last video. […]