Nanyang is a name, with China as the Center, given to the South East Asia countries during the Ming-Qing period. It includes Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia as well as the South Provinces in China along the coastal.
From the end of Ming Dynasty, people from Southern Fujian began to migrate to Nanyang in large population. Together with this movement, Southern Fujian Oolong tea also travelled to Nanyang. Southern Fujian Oolong tea are mainly produced in Anxi, Yong Chun, Nan An, Tong An etc. The tea species includes Tie Guanyin, Golden Cassia, Min Nan Shuixian, Yong Chun Buddha Palm and Se Zhong. As more and more people from Southern Fujian settled down in Nanyang, tea became to take the lead as a beverage for quenching thirst.
During then, all tea leaves have to travelled through mountains and rivers with primitive transportation media to the port and then sail through waves in the sea, which could take a few months or a year or more to reach its final destination depending on the weather and sea current situation. As a result, the tea leaves are usually damp when received at the destination, affecting the freshness and fragrance. Thus, re-firing of the tea leaves is necessary before it can be consumed. In addition, in view of the unpredictability of the supply source, many began to blend the old tea in their stock and the new tea before re-firing them. The end product was a distinctive fragrance and taste that is unique to this region, which is highly localized. This tea is known as Nanyang Tea.
Not long after, the Northern Fujian Oolong teas are also imported into Singapore. Northern Fujian Oolong are mainly produced in Wuyi Mountain, Jian Ou, Jian Yang, Shui Ji etc. The main species include Shuixian, Cassia, Qi Zhong, Royal Red Robe etc. Of these species, that Wuyi Mountain Rock teas have special Rocky taste.
Southern Fujian Oolong is characterized by its fragrance and Northern Fujian Oolong is known for rich taste. In order to further enhance the taste of Nanyang Tea, Pek Sin Choon took a step further by blending old and new tea species from Wuyi Mountain and Anxi County before re-firing the tea leaves. The finished product, exhibiting a great combination of new tea’s fresh astringency, old tea’s smoothness, Southern Fujian tea’s fragrance and Northern Fujian tea’s rock rhyme aftertaste, is called Classical Nanyang Tea Series.
The earliest Classical Nanyang Tea that uses tea species from Wuyi Mountain and Anxi County in the blend is Wuyi Iron Arhat.
This tea was first blended in the 30s, during which a lot of labour works was carried out manually.
It is blended with special selection of Wuyi Mountain Fir which is further blended and fired locally to give a bold and strong taste. The rich mineral contents of the Wuyi Mountain Fir was especially beneficial to those manual workers.
A muscular man juggling the iron balls was used as the tea label to praise these workers as well as to encourage others to exercise and keep their body fit.
In 1950s, another representative Classical Nanyang Tea known as Renowned Unknown Fragrance was developed.
When the founder, Pek Kim Ou, was naming the tea, he just couldn’t describe the fragrance in words and thus the renowned unknown fragrance became the rightful name for the tea.
Because of its uniqueness in taste, this tea has been unsurpassed in the Bak Kut Teh (pork rib soup) segment. The tea soup is dark red in colour which is luscious at first sip and produces great aftertaste.
The Preeminent Fragrance was a Classical Nanyang Tea developed in 1976. The main character is higher quality tea leaves that are blended and fired to bring out the deep fragrance of the blend.
During then, Hong Kong TV series “Books & Swords” began to screen in Asia and created a hit. Pek Sin Choon got the inspiration from the name of one of the character “Princess Xiang” which sounded like high fragrance in Hokkien and as the new blend of tea was high in fragrance, the character was adapted as the tea name.
The tea soup is mild red in colour which gives a pleasant fragrance at first sip and leaves a strong aroma around the throat with great aftertaste.