What does 'Se Zhong' mean?


Owes its flavors to oxidation levels between green & black tea.

What does 'Se Zhong' mean?

Postby Herb_Master » Oct 29th, '08, 10:48

What is Se Zhong

A comment from Salsero made me wonder what exactly does “Se Zhong” mean , so I trawled the World Wide Web looking for answers. Some of the information posted seemed contradictory so I kept trawling. I could not find any single account that satisfactorily gave an all emcompassing description, however I did find many identical passages posted in very different web sites. I suppose that many Chinese entrepreneurs possessing a limited mastery of the English language are only to happy to borrow words from other sites to describe their products to an English speaking audience.

I also suspect that many Tea producers (or marketeers at least) use a similar amount of Poetic license in naming their products.


Using a certain amount of Poetic paraphrasing and reading between the lines what follows is my understanding of “Se Zhong” can anyone correct me?

“Se Zhong” means the tea leaves in the finished product have been plucked from several Tea plants, and is a term only used in Anxi County Oolongs (maybe extended to other parts of South Fujian, but should not be used beyond).

Anxi county has dozens of Tea Varieties, of which 12 are recognised as being superior for the purpose of making Oolong, 1 alone ‘Tie Quan Yin’ is recognised as being superior.

Long long ago the leaves from various Tea plants were mixed to ensure a satisfactory blend. Some time later ‘Tie Quan Yin’ was recognised as being supreme above the others and local decrees at the time which are now firmly cemented in Tradition and Practice mean that ‘Tie Quan Yin’ Varietal leaves are never mixed with other Varieties. Thus the other 11 Varietals came to be known as the ‘Se Zhong Oolongs’.

Some time hence the preference was for highly fermented and well roasted oolongs with good body and structure but most importantly colour. Thus when picking leaves from the different plants those that had matured sufficiently to give the required colour in the finished tea – so some references refer to strong black tea, and some references stress only the colour element of se Zhong cha. To achieve this leaf from many different Varieties may be used and no varietal is mentioned in the title of the product.

But modern market requirements have shown a trend towards more lightly fermented and roasted teas with particular expression of fragrance. So producers have been looking for a consistency in colour that is a pale yellow (or light green), and if possible with a characteristic Anxi oolong Orchid fragrance. Hence some descriptions claim that a “se Zhong” has those characteristics. Again if more than 1 Varietal was used it will only say something like “Se Zhong Cha” on the Label.

However many producers may achieve the effect they are looking for using just one Variety – this may give them a superior product for which they can charge more money so let’s put it in the Label. Thus Jing and dragon Tea House are offering products with both Se Zhong AND the name of the Varietal. Whether the product came from leaves from several different tea plants of the same variety or just uses a single tea plant is not identified; either way it has to be one of the 11 Se Zhong Oolongs. I imagine this to be in some way similar to the loose use of Single Bush and Lone Bush within Dancongs.

I have not used the word Cultivar because there can be several Cultivars for each different Variety.
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some of my sources - if you want to go looking

Postby Herb_Master » Oct 29th, '08, 10:50

After a while I kept coming across the exact same words that had been encountered elsewhere so I stopped recording

but these are some of my research notes


What is a “Se Zhong” Oolong

Salsero’s comment made me do some research (of a very limited nature) on the web.

Dragon Tea House have an oolong called “Supreme An Xi Ben Shan Se Zhong Oolong “
The site description is not clear
Ben Shan Oolong tea, lightly oxidized, comes from Anxi County, Fujian Province. Ben Shan Oolong tea is from its own variety, one of the 12 grown in the tea-rich region. The branch are strong and heavy, the peduncle are bright and thin it look like "the node of the bamboo" but have a little tine, the color of liquor is orange. The shape of the leaf is ellipse, and the surface is ridgy. It has a similar taste as Tie Guan yin but a light, floral, orchid flavour.
Se Zhong oolong, literally colored species oolong, are planted in the south area of Fujian province. Ben Shan was discovered by a guy called Yuan Xing in 1870, thus it has another name, Yuan Xing species. It is now one of the four most popular oolong in Anxi. There about 16,000 acres of Ben Shan tea gardens in Xi Ping, Hu qiu, Peng Lai, Sahng Qing, Chang Keng and Lu tian town.


Jing Tea House also have the same terminology Anxi Oolong Se Zhong Mao Xie
The description only talks about Mao Xie

www.mrentea.com have a tea called Se Zhong Oolong Tea
The description claims “Se Zhong Oolong tea is lightly oxidized oolong from Anxi district” is that a given for Se Zhong tea or just this particular example?(H)

http://tgfop.wordpress.com reviews a tea called Se Zhong Cha (Fu Jian China Tea) .Zhong Guo Cha
interesting review but not sure I learned anything about Se Zhong

www.fmltea.com has an interesting paragraph about Anxi teas (no cut and paste so I’ll paraphrase) It is a name given to SPECIAL Anxi Teas. It is made as a blend from several different tea plants

http://cgi.ebay.es/Premium-Wulong-Diet- ... dZViewItem
Spanis Ebay have an item called “Se Zhong” with this description
“Se Zhong Oolong tea is lightly oxidized oolong from Anxi district, Se Zhong is a type of tea plant, Most noticeably the Se Zhong Oolong tea plant have extremely strong branches and their peduncles are bright and thin, Se Zhong means peak and to Chinese the Se Zhong Oolong symbolizes strength and endurance. When brewed, this tea offers a smooth taste, nutty flavor, and a sweet lingering aftertaste, This tea is also great served chilled. Studies have shown that this tea has weight loss benefits, Se Zhong contains Polyphenol that has been proven to control body fatness, It is a natural way to lose weight naturally.”

www.lupiciausa.com have a tea called simply “Se Zhong”
Popular oolong tea from Fujian Province, has a faint floral aroma and a greenish sweet flavor. The tea leaves are rounded small and firm.

https://secure.worldsourceintl.com/part ... cessed.htm
O-9-1-3 Se Zhong Cha (Fu Jian China Tea)
This fragrant, delicious China Oolong will delight you. Our “High Quality” selection is plucked in the Autumn when it is at it’s best.
O-9-3-1 Se Zhong Cha (Fu Jian China Tea)
ZGC offers a second Autumn picked selection that we grade as “Exceptional”. Even more fragrant than our “High Quality”
O-9-2-2 Se Zhong Cha (Fu Jian China Tea), (Spring plucking)
Graded as “Premium” this fine China Oolong will deliver fine Oolong aroma and taste that will include a gentle but distinct roasted character. This selection will add pleasing variety to your tea menu.


www.thebritishteacompany.com oolong
Grown in the Fuijan province, these are semi-fermented or "semi-green" teas with flavours varying from light and delicate to very strong. Se Zhong is a thick strong tea with colour but there are more light flavoured Oolongs such as Huan Jin Qui (Yellow Golden Flower), Shu Xian (Water Fairy), Da Hong Pao (Great Red Robe), Loui Gui (Meat Flower) and Wuyi Yan (Bohea Rock).

www.andaotea.com gives a grade scale of Oolong fermentation with examples
Lightest: Taiwan Bao Zhong (Fermentation: 7.5-19%)
Not so light: Taiwan Dong Ting Oolong (Fermentation: 20-30%)
Somewhere in the middle: Anxi Tie Guan Yin (Fermentation: 40-50%)
Now you’re getting there: Anxi Se Zhong (Fermentation: 50-60%)
Darkest: Taiwan Oriental Beauty (Fermentation: 70%)


http://inezha.com are trying to find people to sell Se Chung(Se Zhong, superfine grade)
no info but more reveals a photo of what looks like fairly heavily roasted / fermented leaves
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Looks like a great Tea Book

Postby Herb_Master » Oct 29th, '08, 10:59

My favourite discovery in the research was this book

“The Story of Tea” by Mary Lou Heiss and Robert J Heiss which allows viewers to dip into some of the pages if you choose “Preview”

http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=3NBtM5aAAGgC

Page 147 talks of “Se Zhong”

I have now ordered a copy
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Postby Salsero » Oct 29th, '08, 16:03

This is fabulous work. I am nominating you for a Pulitzer Prize! Thanks.
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Postby Victoria » Oct 29th, '08, 18:14

Wow, thanks for all the research!
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Postby Beidao » Oct 30th, '08, 07:48

Babelcarp:

se zhong = type of Fujian or Guangdong oolong, possibly with blossoms, literally Colorful Variety (色种 or 色種)
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Postby hop_goblin » Oct 30th, '08, 09:37

Love bablecarp
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Re: Looks like a great Tea Book

Postby gingkoseto » Oct 30th, '08, 18:23

Herb_Master wrote:My favourite discovery in the research was this book

“The Story of Tea” by Mary Lou Heiss and Robert J Heiss which allows viewers to dip into some of the pages if you choose “Preview”

http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=3NBtM5aAAGgC

Page 147 talks of “Se Zhong”

I have now ordered a copy


Oh! Great! I am going to attend an event with a tea seminar given by these two people. Now I look forward to it even more!
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Re: Looks like a great Tea Book

Postby Salsero » Oct 30th, '08, 19:04

gingko wrote: Oh! Great! I am going to attend an event with a tea seminar given by these two people. Now I look forward to it even more!
Wow that's great Gingko! Who is sponsoring the event?

I have the book, started it last summer, got irritated with the style and set it aside. It sure did have the down and dirty on these Anxi teas ... or at least most of it. Guess I will have to give it another try.

I seem to remember the Heiss's being very active for a while in RFDT before the book came out. Maybe they were mostly promoting the book, but my impression of their participation is a positive one.
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Re: Looks like a great Tea Book

Postby gingkoseto » Oct 31st, '08, 09:27

Salsero wrote:
gingko wrote: Oh! Great! I am going to attend an event with a tea seminar given by these two people. Now I look forward to it even more!
Wow that's great Gingko! Who is sponsoring the event?

.


It's Smith College in Northampton, MA. They have an annual chrysanthemum exhibition and this year tea seminar is the opening event. What a nice match! Ideal season for such event is mid-autumn. But It's just wonderful to have it now, when there are fewer other places to go and we long for seeing flowers!
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Postby xuancheng » Oct 31st, '08, 21:23

Lots of good research on Sezhong. It would be interesting to know what is the historical meaning compared to the contemporary meaning of what seems like "Any Anxi Variety without a fancy name, or a blend of lots of different varietals."

Beelow I will share a description of something described as Sezhong in China.

My freind brought a 5 kilos of tea back from Anxi which he really liked. I think he bought it in Xiping, in a rather out of the way area. The farmer he bought it from said it was the same tea they used in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing (my friend got it for 22RMB/500g, you do the math)

The tea is quite nice. It has a good mouthfeel, nice color, nice flavour a little bit sweet, and dosen't seem to get bitter or astringent no matter how long you brew it or how much leaf you use. However, it hasn't much fragrance.

The farmer just used the leaves of old tea trees growing on or near his land. In some areas of Anxi there are still places where old tea trees are abandoned and left alone. They are not sprayed with pesticide or fertilized. They are not cut back each year and often not even harvested. Most of these older bushes in places like Gande have be dug up and re-planted with Tieguanyin.

There were a few different sorts of leaves in this Sezhong. Many were round without sharp tips, and some were like TGY: thinner with a sharp point.

I am not sure this anecdote will help discover the 'real' meaning of Sezhong, but we might learn a bit about how the term is being used today on the tea market in mainland China.
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Postby Salsero » Oct 31st, '08, 22:50

Thanks, xuancheng, for that on the scene report. There's no substitute for first hand experience. This is the kind of insight we just don't have access to this far away from China!
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