We recently tasted this exquisite ‘vintage’ lot and sourced it immediately. Do not miss out on this tea!
For lovers of semiball-rolled green oolongs, Mao Xie is less floral than, but normally has more depth of flavor than, most of the other SeZhong oolongs. It is very pleasing in the cup, and is a great example of the modern, green-style of Chinese oolongs. Tea Trekker’s Mao Xie is drinking extremely well, as would be expected for such a high-quality pluck and manufacture. This Autumnal harvest Mao Xie is one of the finest examples of this varietal that we have seen come across our tasting table in many years. It should drink well for many more years.
This varietal oolong is plucked from tea bushes that the tea is named after – Mao Xie. It is classified as a SeZhong oolong, meaning that it is grown in the region and villages where the famous oolongs are grown (Tieguanyin, etc) but that it is cultivated from a different and unique type of tea bush cultivar. Of the dozen or so SeZhong oolongs, Mao Xie is one of the most well known, at least in East Asia and into the tea-enthusiast parts of Southeast Asia, such as Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.
Mao Xie tea bushes are grown on the coastal outcroppings of Fujian Province’s prime tea-producing region and are among the few oolong plantings that benefit from the Fujian Province coast’s long growing season, which stretches well into autumn. It is at this time that the size of its leaf is perfect for forming the unique shape of the tea leaves. We here at Tea Trekker have a fondness for the classic Autumnal harvest of Mao Xie and it is a real treat to have this ‘vintage’ lot.
Mao Xie has a little story behind its fanciful name. It is named in honor of the edible crab, the Hairy Crab – Eriocher sinensis – that is raised by aqua-culture in the freshwater estuaries near its namesake’s habitat. Related to the Blue Crab of the Chesapeake Bay region on the Atlantic coast of the United States, the Hairy Crab sheds its hard outer shell in autumn (rather than in the Spring as they do in the Chesapeake). These fresh crabs are a gustatory delight for those who live along the eastern coast of Mainland China where the Yangtze and several other major rivers empty into the East China Sea.
There is a seasonal, lunar festival during the crab harvest, and Mao Xie oolong plays a prominent role in the celebration. Locals like to say that as the leaf unfurls during steeping it replicates the legs of the Hairy Crab when swimming. Pluck some leaf from your teapot when steeping this tea and see if you agree!