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When in Fujian Province, especially the city of Xiamen, we recommend visiting famous but small Anxi County known for its world class tea, especially the Tieguanyin type.
Tea is enjoyed in China during all occasions: to wake up in the morning, to accompany all meals, to celebrate special moments, and of course to quench thirst. It’s no wonder, then that an activity you can’t miss is not a winery tour or a brewery tour, but a tea tour.
Anxi County’s fame stretches throughout China as well as around the world, and it is now known as the Tea Capital of China and one of China Highlight’s Top Tea Cities.
Its high altitude mountainous geography allows the county a very comfortable moderate sub-tropical climate with humid conditions to satisfy plant life and plentiful rainfall every year. As well, the soil is incredibly rich, giving way to the high quality of the tea produced in Anxi.
One of the best aspects of Anxi is that it is a rather small county and the population density is low, which means that you will be able to find peace and quiet to accompany your hot cup of tea.
There are many ways to get familiar with Chinese tea culture on a customized tour of Anxi County. Because so many visitors arrive to appreciate the tea here, many tea factories and tea gardens are now available to the public. They also produce very high quality tea for export to enthusiasts in other countries in the world.
The most famous tea trading hall is called China Tea Capital, located on Hebin North Road. Within this building, you will find countless shops, booths, and independent vendors with bags full of dried tea leaves for those who want to take a part of Chinese tea culture home with them. The prices here are lower than elsewhere in China since you will be purchasing straight from the source.
Tea gardens are also popular stops where you may enjoy a beautiful setting surrounded by natural scenery and lovely music, all while tasting top selections of tea from each garden’s specific menu. Some are family-owned while others are owned by larger organizations and tea plantations.
You may also have a chance to visit a tea plantation in the mountains and hills of Anxi as part of your tea tour. These areas are amazingly lush and green, making for a great way to appreciate both provincial landscapes and a unique aspect of China. Harvests take place quite regularly throughout the year so you have a good chance of witnessing farmers live at work.
It is said that tea harvested between mid-September and mid-May are the tastiest, with those from mid-June to August the lowest quality.
The most popular type of Anxi County is called Tieguanyin, which references the “Iron Goddess of Mercy,” or bodhisattva Guanyin in Buddhism. It has been grown and produced in Anxi County since the 18th century, and today, it ranks among the most expensive teas in the word.
Tieguanyin is a variation of oolong tea with a fresh and smooth taste. Oolong tea is characterized by its unique production process: leaves are picked, dried under hot sun, and oxidized until they curl up, sometimes followed with a light roasting period. They have a wide array of flavors, but always come with rich aromas and complex essences.
Other types of tea (including more than 12 types of oolongs) you will find as you explore Anxi County are Ruan Zhi, Ben Shan Green Dragon, Huangdan, Benshan, Maoxie, Daye Wulong, and Meizhan, and Golden Cassia (also known as Golden Osmanthus).
Elsewhere in Fujian Province, you will find production of jasmine tea in particular.
Oolong teas can be brewed with different techniques.
For a quick cup of tea, simply use about 1 teaspoon of tea leaves and steep it for 3 to 4 minutes in 8 ounces of hot water for a long lasting taste.
The traditional Chinese way of preparation is to put a small amount of leaves in your cup, hot water, and then cover to steep for a few minutes. Soon the leaves will release their aromas and sink to the bottom when it is ready to drink. Just add more hot water to your cup to the same leaves when you want more to drink. This method allows more efficient use of each dose of leaves.
If coming from Xiamen, you can take a bus from Songbai Long Distance Bus Station where you can get a 1–2 hour ride north to Anxi. There is no direct train between the two destinations. There are many things to see and do in Xiamen, and a Xiamen tour with China Highlights can also be customized to include a visit to Anxi!
If coming from Quanzhou, you can take a train from Quanzhou East Railway station to Anxi. You can also take a bus from Central Bus Station, taking 1 hour. From Quanzhou and Xiamen, there are also trains to Anxi.
Or contact us and we'll tailor-make a tour including Anxi to your requirements.