Ba Xian Wang is undeniably one of the most sought-after teas in Chaozhou, the birthplace of Phoenix Dancong Oolong Tea. In recent years, its popularity has skyrocketed, and its rarity has driven prices in the market to new heights, making it increasingly challenging to acquire.
Within Feng Huang Town, when tea producers craft an exceptionally high-quality Ba Xian, they take great pride in designating it as a distinctive product known as "Ba Xian Wang," which translates to "Ba Xian King." This name is a testament to their unwavering confidence in its superior quality, placing it at a level where it can confidently compete in prestigious tea competitions.
According to a story passed down in Fenghuang Town (鳳凰鎮) around 80 years ago, a local farmer made a serendipitous discovery in a place called "Qu-zai-liao" (去仔寮) where he encountered tea trees with a unique and captivating flavor. Impressed by the aroma of this tea, he embarked on a mission to propagate it extensively. He took cuttings from the tree and planted numerous saplings on the mountains of Ya-hou Village (垭后村). Surprisingly, the survival rate of these tea trees turned out to be unusually low, with only eight of the saplings managing to endure. It was from this fact that the tea variety acquired the name "Ba Xian" (八仙), which translates to "Eight Immortals" in English.
The farmer named it as Ba Xian because these legendary figures occupy a revered place in Chinese culture and mythology. Ba Xian are closely tied to the pursuit of longevity. They also serve as auspicious symbols in Chinese culture, often linked to good luck and fortune. The farmer planted so many tea bushes across the entire tea mountain and after many rounds of hard work, in the end, only eight bushes survived. It's indeed very fitting to call them "Ba Xian."Regrettably, the original mother tree of Ba Xian has long withered and ceased to exist. Out of the original eight tea trees, it is believed that only two to three remain to this day.
In recent years, with advancements in grafting techniques, tea farmers have endeavoured to graft Ba Xian onto older tea trees. However, even with grafting, the survival rate of this variety remains remarkably low, especially when grafted onto older tea trees, where success is a rare occurrence. As a consequence, Ba Xian tea trees with a history of over 100 years are exceedingly scarce. Furthermore, Ba Xian tea trees tend to grow in a long and slender form with sparse leaves, as opposed to other tea trees that develop a denser, fan-like appearance. Cultivating Ba Xian as single-tree tea is regarded as a challenging endeavour due to the need for a sufficient quantity of fresh tea leaves to carry out the entire fermentation process of Dan Cong tea.
While this specific variety of Phoenix Dan Cong is considered rare, it may surprise you to discover that the name "Ba Xian" is prevalent in nearly every tea shop in Phoenix town. However, upon closer examination, you'll find that each Ba Xian tea offers a distinctive and unique flavor. The name Ba Xian is highly esteemed by the local community, and it's no wonder that most producers are eager to embrace this name for their teas, provided they possess an appealing flavor, irrespective of whether they are made from saplings of the original mother tree.
This product is harvested from tea trees that are approximately 100 years old and thrive at an altitude of 1200 meters in Wu-dong Gui-zhu Lake Village (乌岽桂竹湖村). The Ba Xian saplings were grafted onto naturally grown old tea trees more than 8 years ago, achieving a level of quality and cup characteristics similar to the rootstock. Its lingering aftertaste is remarkably long and enchanting, imparting the impression of a tea crafted from trees several hundred years old. The exceptional quality of this tea is evidently a result of a harmonious combination of various factors, encompassing the innate characteristics of Ba Xian tea trees, the elevation, soil conditions, the weather during tea production, and the expertise of the tea master.Ba Xian is renowned for its Zhi Lan Xiang fragrance, known for imparting a rich aroma with distinct top notes resembling mango, lily, honeysuckle, and ginger flower. This is complemented by a strong aftertaste and a creamy sensation.