Shaanxi Fuzhuan Tea – A Specialty on Silk Road
Shaanxi Fuzhuan Tea is produced in Jingyang County. It is a welcomed goods along the ancient Silk Road. And is especially loved by people living in the inland area of China like Shaanxi, Gansu, Ningxia, Qinghai, Tibet, and Xinjiang. In some area, Fuzhuan Tea is the must-have drink in local people’s daily life.
Jingyang County Doesn’t plant tea but is famous for tea
Jingyang Fuzhuan Tea appeared in the Song Dynasty and was most popular from the 14th century to early 20th century. Since the ancient time, there is a saying “No tea can be planted at north side of Qinling Mountain Ranges, but Jingyang produce great tea”. In history, the major goods from China trading in the cities along the silk road were silk, china, and tea. And that tea were mainly the Fuzhuan Tea produced in Jingyang. So some people call Fuzhuan Tea “the mysterious goods on Silk Road.”
The Unexpected Birth of Fuzhuan Tea
It is said in the Xining Period (1068-1077) of the Song Dynasty, tea from Hunan were unburdened at Jingyang Port. Several boxes of tea dropped into water unexpectedly. The merchants take them out from the water and bask them till dry. Then put them back to the box with other teas. In some days, when checking the teas, they found the tea dropped into water turned to black and some golden spots appeared in the tea. And these boxes of tea gained some special and mirable fragrance.
That gave the merchants great inspiration. They recalled the process how the tea boxes dropped into the water and how they dealt with them. And they made trials to make the same tea. Finally them succeeded.
In the following years, Tea demand in the west region kept increasing. To make the transportation easier and to deliver most possible tea, the tea merchants in Jingyang pressed the tea mass into brick-like shape. And they surprisingly found in the pressed tea brick there are more golden spots, which means the tea gained better fragrance and taste. Since that time, the pressed brick-like tea gradually became the best known goods produced in Jingyang.
Ups and Downs of Jingyang Fuzhuan Tea
According to the historical record, in the Qing Dynasty (1636-1912) there were 131 commercial houses in Jingyang, and 86 of them has business on Fuzhuan Tea. And in an official dairy he wrote like this: Tea boxes from southern China are unburdened in Jingyang Port. Those tea would be reprocessed in Jingyang and then transferred to the western regions. Tea processing staff in Jingyang has a population of 10000+.
In 1958, China adjusted the tea industry layout, all Fuzhuan Tea factories were closed and in Hunan the government moved the tea industry center to Hunan, a province in southern China. Though the factories closed down, the Fuzhuan Tea making technique was preserved in Jingyang, because many local workers refused to leave their hometown.
Till 2010, when local tea merchants in Shaanxi realized the cultural content of Fuzhuan Tea, they work hard to promote Jingyang Fuzhuan Tea and gained satisfying result.
Fuzhuan Tea Town In Jingyang
To publicise Fuzhuan tea culture and meet local market need for Fuzhaun Tea, Jingyang County built a Fuzhuan Tea Town which focuses on the making of the tea and introducing Fuzhuan Tea culture to visitors. The town was built in traditional Chinese architectural style. People going there could have a bowl of newly made tea. And it is also an ideal destination for weekend trip to see the country scenery and explore local food.