Tun Xi Lu Cha (屯溪绿茶) is a premium green tea from the south-eastern part of Anhui Province in China. Grown around Tunxi District of Huangshan City, the location borders the famous Huangshan ‘Yellow Mountain’ (黄山市) mountain range. It is a highly regarded green tea that is mentioned in many lists of the Famous Teas of China. Carefully processed from young tender spring leaves picked around 18 April 2023.
The name of this Tun Xi Lu Cha comes from the origin place name of this tea (Tunxi District – 屯溪区) and the descriptive addition of the fact that it is a green tea (Lu Cha – 绿茶). We prefer the full Tun Xi Lu Cha name but with passing of time this full name has been condensed into ‘Tunlu’ or ‘Tunlv’ (Tunlü), a name that is often used to refer to this specific green tea. Interestingly, the english term twankey or twankay that was used to refer to green tea, often of inferior quality, originated from the Tunxi name. And yes, Widow Twankey of the Aladdin pantomime fame does get her name from the reference to a cheap green tea that is past its best! ‘Twankey’ most likely comes from the cantonese pronunciation of this place – ‘Tuen Kai’. Of course, like many historic tea terms, the twankey terminology is somewhat outdated now, so we shall stick to the correct Chinese Tun Xi Lu Cha as the proper name for this tea.
Tun Xi Lu Cha green tea has some similarities to the famous Huang Shan Mao Feng green tea in terms of flavour profile. However these are rather different in appearance with the leaves of Tun Xi Lu Cha, being a little more fully developed. While still consisting of tips and small leaves, the slightly later harvest of the more developed leaves leads to a more pronounced flavour. This tea sits somewhere in between our Huang Shan Mao Feng and Huang Shan Yun Wu in flavour intensity with Mao Feng being most delicate and Yun Wu being the strongest. This does mean that this Tun Xi Lu Cha has a very balanced flavour and an approachable character.
Unlike many other Chinese green teas, Tun Xi Lu Cha green tea comes in leaves that are very slightly rolled. Not quite as much as a rolled oolong but closer to some Bi Luo Chun teas in appearance. When brewed, the dry leaves unfurl and you can see attractive small leaves and buds in your brewing vessel. These produce a light green-yellow liquor with a vegetal and floral aroma. The very smooth taste is brisk and a touch drying. The notes are predominantly vegetal (think courgettes and asparagus), with herbaceous, green floral and lightly metallic notes. The aftertaste is tangy and refreshing. There is a touch of tannic dryness at the end of the taste, however this does not translate into any real bitterness, astringency or harshness. Overall this is a very balanced, smooth and approachable green tea that is not overcomplicated by various distinctive and domineering flavours.
This green tea is best brewed at 80°C for 2-3 minutes according to your taste and can be brewed more than 3 times, increasing steeping time with each next brew if desired.