Gui Fei Cha
$18.00 – $63.00 — available on subscription
Gui Fei Cha (“concubine tea”) is an uncommon oolong from Taiwan. It’s produced via a unique method: it’s briefly allowed to be attacked by insects. The plant’s natural defense to the invasion changes the flavor of the leaf and unexpectedly yields a distinctive floral, almost honey-like aroma and taste to the tea. You’ll notice that Gui Fei Cha is made with a smaller leaf set than most oolongs, and includes tips.
Taiwan: Formally known as Formosa, Taiwan is a renowned producer of oolong teas. The oldest tea plants were found in Shi Sha Lein. Commercial cultivation began there in 1841. Li Shan and Nantou are known for its distinctive style of high mountain oolongs.
Gui Fei Cha may be prepared in either an yixing pot or a Gaiwan. Place 3-5 grams of leaf in the prewarmed vessel and quickly flush with hot water. Be sure to appreciate the rich aroma of the damp leaves, then cover with 90-95ºC (194-205ºF) water and steep 2-3 minutes. Lower water temperature yields more floral notes, while hotter water offers more intensity. Always adjust quantity of leaves, infusion time, and water temperature according to your personal preferences.
The tea is just wonderful, complex, round and soft but not too light. The expense, however, makes it a treat rather than something to drink every day.