Country of Origin: China
Region: Panyong, Fuan City, Fujian Province
Shipping Port: Fuzhou
Grade: Special Tippy Orange Pekoe
Altitude: 3000 – 5000 ft. above sea level
Manufacture Type: Handmade orthodox style
Cup Characteristics: A full bodied tea with deep burgundy depth and delightful oaky notes. Excellent after dinner.
Infusion: Bright, golden infusion.
Ingredients: Luxury black tea
This fabulous tea is one of the finest examples of a Chinese black tea available on the market. Incidentally, it is also considered to be one of the luckiest teas in all of Asia. Throughout China, stories of this luck inducing Congou style tea - a general term for whole leaf black Chinese teas - are so numerous that if they were compiled, they would read like an encyclopedia of good fortune.
It all begins with a tea producer named Mr. Huyincai. Mr. Huyincai worked in the district of Panyong in Fuan City, Fujian Province. In 1851 while making a routine inspection of his tea plants, Mr. Huyincai noticed a small section that seemed to be producing leaf of exceptional quality. Mr. Huyincai regarded this exceptional crop as a gift from mothernature and decided that it should be processed in a new and unique way. He plucked the leaf and decided to allow it to ferment before firing it, a process that turned the leaf black. While this technique of its own is not unique, Mr. Huyincai also developed a complicated production procedure that resulted in a tea so special he decided to name it 9 Bend Black Dragon.
Unfortunately, we can't tell you much about his complicated production procedure since the details of it are judiciously guarded by a handful of people in Fuan City to this day. What we can tell you is that the name is both derived from the lucky 9 Bend River that flowed through his birth-place of Wuyishan (9 is a lucky number in China), and the symbol of the black Dragon, long considered lucky in China. We can also safely say that the luck rubbed off. Within a short time his tea had won just about every award there was to be won throughout China and Europe. As its popularity grew, the tea came to be regarded as a precious gift amongst the nobility and ruling classes of both places. Letters began to pour in from people who had drunk the tea and been rewarded with bouts of good luck - a Prime Minister re-elected here, a nobleman awarded a new fifedom there, etc. Needless to say, Mr. Huyincai became very wealthy. In fact he was considered for a time to be one of the wealthiest men in Fujian. Thankfully, besides good luck, Mr. Huyincai was also blessed with brains and so reinvested his newfound wealth back into his factory and started the operation that produces his tea to this day.
As in the days of Mr. Huyincai, 9 Bend Black Dragon - which goes by the production name of Panyong Needle - is only produced in the district of Panyong in Fuan City. Production totals these days are around 50 tons annually and the tea is still regarded by traders as one of Fujian's finest exports. Professional tasters praise this tea for its exceptionally fresh, sweetish infusion, pure, thick nose, and bright golden cup. Brew a pot for yourself today, say a prayer for old Mr. Huyincai, and keep your fingers crossed. Cheers!
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