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Xiao Niu
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  • 2020  xiao niu1
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Type Oolong
Chinese 小牛
Origin Niu Lan Keng Area, Wuyishan
Harvest Spring
Year 2020
Pinyin Xiǎo niú

Xiao Niu


Niu Lan Keng (牛栏坑) is one of the most famous gardens in Wuyishan. It is known for producing excellent rou gui, and commands some of the highest prices on the market. This tea is called Xiao Niu - "calf" / little cow - since it is not from the core Niu Lang Keng garden, but the surrounding area.

A sort of cute name / pun has developed for the rou gui from some famous gardens. Since rou gui starts with the character for meat (肉 / ròu) and the area is said first “Niu Lan Keng Rou Gui”, the name can be shortened to “niu rou” which means beef. This is fitting since beef is the most expensive common meat and the tea grown there is some of the most expensive tea.

I organized a group buy in December 2020 for Niu Lan Keng teas - it provided teas at three price points: "xiao niu", "niu lan keng" and "shen niu". That is this tea, and two more. The second cost about twice as much while the third cost about three times as much. The teas came from two relatives, one of which owns a lease on some land in Niu Lan Keng and the other buys wet leaf every year to process in his factory. We bought more of this tea than we needed with the intention of listing it here after a period.

So far this tea has lived up to the pressure I have given it.

The dry leaf has beautiful leaves, smooth texture and long twisted points. The tea has a nice medium roast that pulls out the characteristic cinnamon fragrance. It has good qi (relaxing in my experience). One friend commented that the teas is "like a deer, lightly jumping in a meadow".