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.The tea has a nice medium roast that pulls out the characteristic cinnamon fragrance. It has good qi (somewhat heavy and centering in my experience). Compared with last year's production, the 2021 is distinctly more woody at the start, the spices build up, and late in the session the tea gives way gracefully.