In December of 2018, I have guided a small group of friends around tea plantations in Taiwan, where great wu-long teas are produced. We have rented a car in Hualian county and entered the mountains through Taroko National Park. During our two weeks journey, we had many chances to drink all kinds of good wu-long teas from Lishan, Dayuling, Yuchi, Shanlinxi, Alishan, and many more places. I was really surprised when browsing a Taiwanese book about wulong varieties and have found a piece of information about the Qilan variety, which translates as Beautiful orchid. This is one of the most popular tea in the Wuyi mountains in Fujian province, due to its top-notch fragrance. And it is also one of my favorite tea. The book also includes the place of origin in the Minnan area of Fujian province. So after my trip to Taiwan was over, I had a plan to make an expedition to Fujian on my own. Fortunately, I met Ilja from Russia who is a great tea lover and whose Chinese language was at least as good as mine. He joined me exactly on the Chinese New Year. What a journey! We have traveled for several days to get there. This place is almost impossible to reach without a car. When we finally made it, we realized that every shop is closed due to the festival. Only one opened house emerged in front of us, with two old pals drinking tea inside. Luckily, the owner invited us for a cup of tea. It was amazing. And what’s more, it was his family’s production. To my surprise, he had not only good Qilan but also remarkable Qingxin wulong, which brought from Taiwan and planted here. I was astonished.
This tea has a nutty fragrance when smelling dried leaves and right after you drop few leaves into a gaiwan and steep it, a decent aroma starts to dissolve into the infusion. The yellow liqueur has a very nice taste, still a bit greenish, but with strong body and long aftertaste. Steeped leaves are whole without signs of damage, which points to good hand processing. It does not have a huge coffein strike, but it definitely will wake you up. Just have a try.