STiR coffee and tea magazine

Volume 5, Number 3

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52 STiR tea & coffee industry international / Issue 3, 2016 (June/July) By Helen Xu Fei nhui is a mountainous inland province in East China, neighboring the lucra- tive Yangtze Delta to the east. The Huai River that traverses north Anhui serves a demarcation line dividing the province into two distinctive climate zones. Lands south of the river experience a humid subtropical monsoon climate suitable for tea growing. Hill and mountain-laced southwestern and south Anhui is the home- town of many distinctive gourmet teas. In 2014, the province produced 111,000 tons of tea, exported 46,900 tons at a total value of $1,950 million, according to the Ministry of Commerce, PRC. Anhui has a long tea history. The Tang Dynasty's Lu Yu ranked several Anhui teas as runner-ups in his classic book on tea, indicating that by the 8th century Anhui was involved in commercial tea cultivation and production. Anhui tea was recognized by tea lovers in the 16th century, when advanced pan-frying process (now mainly adopted in the making of Chinese green tea) overtook the long established steaming process (now mainly adopted in the making of Japanese green tea), and resulted in revolution- ary changes in the production and consumption of Chinese tea. Anhui was a leader in this remarkable transition creating quite a few gourmet choices. Songluo was among the early transitional pan-fried Anhui greens. This full-bodied aromatic tea was created by a monk. According to local annals, the monk came to Anhui and settled down in Mount Songluo close to the southern provincial edge. He picked and processed local fresh leaves according to a refined picking standard and used an advanced pan-fried method learned during a lengthy stay in Suzhou, Jiangsu province. Songluo teas soon shot to fame as the top ranking gourmet style. The processing method was copied throughout the region resulting in substantial supply and national awareness of Songluo tea and Songluo-style Anhui tea. Regional transportation hub Tunxi County in southern Anhui evolved into a prosperous tea trade center. Tea from south- ern Anhui and the border area of neighboring Zhejiang and Jiangxi provinces were also shipped to this hub for distribution to the cities and export overseas. Tunxi also developed a sophisticated tea refining industry; shipments of common green tea there were re-fired, re-rolled, and thoroughly-sorted and blended into finished high-value products such as Hyson and Chunmee. Green teas from Anhui were among the earliest batches shipped to the West. The teas of Songluo were phonetically transcribed in English as Singlo and unrefined Tunxi Gourmet Tea in Anhui Province A Taiping Houkui (Taiping Monkey-Hollow's Best Tea) Tingxi Lanxiang (Tingxi Orchid Fragrance)

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