Wen Shan Qing Xin Black (文山青心紅茶) is a unique and rare black tea that originates from the famous Ping Lin District of New Taipei City Municipality in northern Taiwan. It is an intriguing tea that utilises a Qing Xin ‘Green Heart’ cultivar to produce a complex yet light liquor with a flavour that is sweet, spicy and fruity. It is grown around the famous Wen Shan tea growing area at an altitude of around 400m and it was hand picked and processed in May 2019. It is sourced by us from the farmer Mr Wong via our Taiwanese tea master.
Ping Lin District (坪林區) and Wen Shan District (文山區) represent mountainous areas around Taipei that are well-known for production of lightly oxidised oolong teas, like the famous Wen Shan Bao Zhong Oolong. The vast majority of the tea grown in this region will be reserved for oolong production so it is extremely rare to find a black tea from this terroir. Furthermore, this tea utilises a Qing Xin (青心) cultivar, also known as Green Heart, that is favoured for light floral oolongs. It is not common to find a black tea made from this cultivar as most black teas produced in Taiwan are crafted from cultivars specifically developed and favoured for black tea production. Hence the trademark Taiwanese black tea taste that is evident in teas like our Yuchi Assamica and Yuchi Red Jade is not presented in this particular Qing Xin Black. While there is still an aspect that is familiar, such as a light savoury edge, the overall flavour really is a wholly different experience.
While we do class this as a black tea in the western style, including the addition of the word black in the name, in reality this Wen Shan Qing Xin Black tea is a ‘red’ tea according to Chinese classification. In China and Taiwan black teas are generally referred to as hong cha (红茶 / 紅茶), or red tea. This classification can sometimes get slightly confusing as hei cha (黑茶), literally black tea, is used to refer to post-fermented tea that we normally class as dark tea in the West. So while some purists would prefer the correct classification of this type of tea as ‘red tea’ or hong cha, we prefer to stick to Western nomenclature to avoid further confusion. But if you see a reference to a Wen Shan Hong Cha, it would refer to a black tea from this area.
In the case of this Wen Shan Qing Xin Black the farmer desired to achieve something completely different with this cultivar and processing method and we believe he came up with some fantastic results. The wiry dark twisted leaf has a nice fruity aroma. The leaves produce a bronze coloured liquor with a fruity aroma and sweet, savoury and mineral hints of molasses and spices. The flavours are particularly smooth, without any astringency, having a fresh, light character and a clean taste. The notes are fruity, mineral, spicy and sweet with a tangy aftertaste. The combination of flavours reminds us of rhubarb compote, stewed spiced plums and fig jam. Overall this is a very light black tea that delivers exciting and complex flavours that are rather unusual for a Taiwanese black tea.
It is best to brew this Wen Shan Qing Xin Black tea for 3-4 minutes in 90c temperature, reusing the leaves multiple times. For best results, we suggest gong fu brewing: 5g per 100ml at 90c: 1st infusion 15s with additional 5s to each further infusion.