- Green Tea
- Tang and Song Dynasties’ Green Cake and Powder Tea
- Enshi Yulu Steamed Green Tea
- Yunnan Sun-dried Green Tea
- Sichuan Green Tea
- Tibetan Green Tea
- Zhejiang Green Tea
- Jiangsu Green Tea
- Anhui Green Tea
- Wudang Daoist Tea
- Wudang Silver Sword, High Mountian Tea
- Ming Qian Wudang Daoist Tea
- Wudang Needle Well, Tea Farming
- Differences between leaves harvested before and after the Qingming Festival
- Wudang Green Myst
- Tuan Huang
- Wufeng Mao Jian
- Frying Tea Competition
Chinese tea may be classified in many ways, according to processing techniques, the basic tea group and the reprocessed tea group. Basic tea group includes green, yellow, white, blue (Oolong), black and dark tea. Green tea 绿茶 [lǜ chá] is the closest to nature among all tea types, one kind of tea is the most precious treasure, 3 gram early spring dry green tea for one infusion needs to pluck more than 100 tea sprouts. Green teas in China are also the largest yields and the richest varieties among all tea sorts, varieties are widely distributed in the Yangtze River basin and regions south of the Yangtze River. Because dry tea, liquid and residues are all green, people name this kind of teas green tea.
From producing techniques, green teas are divided into five sorts, Chao Qing- pan roasted 炒青 (Photo machine fired), Hong Qing- baked 烘青, Hong and Chao Combination, Shai Qing- sun dried 晒青 and historical Zheng Qing- steamed 蒸青, pan roasted green teas have the largest production. Chao Qing green teas have Xihu Longjing, Wudang Green Myst (Photo), Biluochun and Mengding Ganlu etc., Hong Qing teas are Huangshan Maofeng, Wudang Silver Sword and Needle Well, Wufeng Maojian, Taiping Houkui and Liuan Guapian etc., Shai Qing includes Dian Qing from Yunnan and Chuan Qing from Sichuan etc., and Zheng Qing only has few, Enshi Yulu from Hubei etc.. Although different green teas are processed differently, main steps are de-enzyming 杀青, rolling 揉捻 and drying 干燥, the de-enzyming is the most important step, which is the key to keep the quality. Green teas have 450 kinds of organic compounde e.g. Phenol derivatives, aromatic substances, amino acids, vitamins and tea tannin etc., inorganic minerals e.g. iron, calcium, phosphorus selenium molybdenum manganese and germanium etc., and a small amount of trace elements. Because green teas are unfermented, dry tea leaves keep more natural substances of fresh leaves, over 85% tea polyphenols and theine, about 50% chlorophyl and vitamins.
Tang and Song Dynasties’ Green Cake and Powder Tea
From the Tang Dynasty to the Song Dynasty, tribute tea rose, and the tribute tea Institute, namely the tea factory, was established to organize officials to study tea making technology, so as to promote the continuous reform of tea production. After repeated practice, steamed green tea was invented. That is, the fresh leaves of tea are steamed and crushed, the tea cakes are perforated and dried to remove the green grass smell. But it still has a bitter taste, so it greatly reduces the bitter taste of tea by washing fresh leaves, steaming green, pressing, removing juice and making cakes. The steamed green tea cake making in the Tang Dynasty has been gradually improved. Lu Yu’s the tea making of <Tea Classic>, that is, the complete production process of steamed green tea cake at this time is: steaming tea, breaking pieces, pounding tea, installing mold, pressing, molding, drying tea, perforation, baking, wearing and sealing tea.
As early as 1200 years ago in the Tang Dynasty, Lu Yu, the tea sage, made many investigations and studies in Guzhu mountain tea district of Changxing. He found that the tea was “fragrant and sweet, and it could be recommended in other places”. He also recorded it in the tea classic book as “purple leaf is the best quality, green is the second, shoot is the first, bud is the second”, named “purple bamboo shoots”, and recommended it to the emperor. Purple bamboo tea was listed as a tribute in the Guangde period of the Tang Dynasty (763-764). According to historical records such as the new book of the Tang Dynasty, the tribute tea of the Tang Dynasty was widely distributed. Guzhu purple bamboo tea is the most famous one, which is the best tribute tea. Because of its superior quality, Zisun tea was deeply loved by emperors. Tea Blog
Guzhu mountain area in Changxing is one of the important places where Lu Yu, the tea sage of Tang Dynasty, engaged in tea activities. Here he wrote Guzhu mountain record and the world’s first monograph on tea studies, the book of tea. It is also said that Lu Yu recommended Yangxian (Yixing) purple bamboo shoot tea to the palace after tasting it. Later, because of the large demand for tribute tea in Yixing, it was made by Guzhu in Changxing. With the increase of purple bamboo tea tribute, the first large-scale royal tea factory, Gongcha Yuan, was built in Guzhu mountain. Every year before the Qingming festival, the emperor ordered the governor of the two prefectures of Huchang to make tribute tea, set up banners and curtains in Guzhu mountain, and painted boats all over Taihu Lake. The tea is packed in a silver bottle, and the tribute tea is sent to Chang’an before Grain Rain Festival. Guzhu purple bamboo tea was consecutively paid tribute for more than 80 years in the Tang Dynasty. Huichangzhong (AD 843) paid tribute to nearly 20000 Jin (10000 kg) of purple bamboo tea. The imperial court erected a stone tablet on the tribute amount. From the Tang Dynasty through the song and Yuan Dynasties to the end of the Ming Dynasty, it paid tribute continuously for 876 years. As a tribute tea, Guzhu purple bamboo shoot tea has the longest history of tribute, the largest scale of production, the largest quantity, the best quality and the longest tribute time. Guzhu purple bamboo shoot tea is the most tribute tea in China.
The crude round cake tea in the Northern Song Dynasty was suitable for public drinking because it was easy to store and transport. If people pay tribute to the emperor, they should make dragon and Phoenix cake tea, also known as tribute tea. Dragon and Phoenix round cake refers to the round cake tea with dragon and phoenix patterns on its surface after steaming, pounding and patting the freshly picked tea and pressing it with a mold engraved with dragon and phoenix patterns. Therefore, each piece of round tea can reach hundreds of thousands of money. In the Song Dynasty, when harvesting tea, it was more exquisite to pick tea, breaking tea with fingernails instead of fingers. Because the fingers are warm, the tea buds are not fresh and clean by sweat, and the nails can be quickly broken without rubbing. In order to avoid the damage of tea buds due to Yang Qi and sweat, when picking tea, each person carries a bucket of clean spring water. After the tea buds are picked, they are soaked in water. The picking standard is tea bud or one bud and one leaf.
The manufacturing process of tea cakes, according to Zhao Ruli’s records of Beiyuan in the Song Dynasty, has six processes: steaming tea, squeezing tea, grinding tea, making tea, yellowing and baking tea. After the tea buds are picked and brought back, soak them in water, select the even buds and leaves for steaming, wash them with cold water after steaming, then squeeze light to remove the water a little, squeeze harder to remove the tea juice a lot, put the rest in a tile basin, mix it with water and grind it fine, and then put it into the dragon and Phoenix molded cake and dry it. The whole production process is time-consuming and labor-consuming. Dragon and Phoenix cake tea can be divided into different sizes and is exquisitely made. Big Dragon cake, eight cakes are half kilo. Ding Wei, who made tribute tea for the governor of Beiyuan, is a pioneer. Small dragon cake half kilo of 20 cakes was created by Cai Xiang, so there is a saying in history. Due to the high quality of tribute tea made by Ding and Cai, they made great progress, and Ding was appointed as the prime minister. Cai Xiang was promoted as a Hanlin bachelor and an envoy of the third division. It can be seen that people in the Song Dynasty wanted to be officials. In addition to the imperial examination, they could also make tea cakes, which promoted the custom of tea fighting. Many people plundered famous tea and paid tribute to get promoted and rich. Due to the high requirements for the production of these round cake tea, the art of Chinese tea making has reached the peak level.
Jingshan tea has a strong cultural heritage. Lu Yu once lived in seclusion at the east foot of Jingshan mountain in the Tang Dynasty and wrote the book of tea. In the Song Dynasty, “tea banquet” prevailed in Jingshan mountain, which was later spread to Japan and gradually developed into a Japanese tea ceremony. The Mocha 抹茶, a kind of steamed green tea powder, was used in the Buddhist tea ceremony in the Southern Song Dynasty. At that time, the Jingshan tea banquet at Jingshan temple in Yuyao, Zhejiang Province was spread by the return of visiting Japanese monks, which inspired the rise of Japanese tea ceremony. So far, steamed green tea is still used in Japanese tea ceremony. The new process of steaming green tea retains more chlorophyll, protein, amino acids, aromatic substances and other inclusions. Therefore, Jingshan mountain also has the reputation of “the place where the classics of tea are written and the source of Japanese tea ceremony”. Since the Tang and Song Dynasties, Jingshan tea has been famous for “advocating nature, pursuing green and paying attention to true color, true fragrance and true taste”.
Enshi Yu Lu Steamed Green Tea
Hubei Enshi Yu Lu 恩施玉露 – Jade Dewdrop is a special kind of green tea, which is used the traditional Zheng Qing- steamed 蒸青 method to process tea leaves. Since the Tang Dynasty, the steamed technique was introduced into Japan from China and kept very well, the Japanese Yu Lu tea nowadays is very similar to Enshi Yu Lu. Enshi Yu Lu has a clear tea liquid as dewdrop and a tender green color as jade.
Enshi, Hubei Province, is the selenium capital of the world, the soil is rich in selenium. Enshi tea is a heaven given selenium rich tea, which is loved by tea people, especially by Japanese. Enshi selenium rich tea is most famous for Enshi Yulu. Enshi has beautiful scenery, fresh air, and the reserves of selenium ore rank first in the world. The average content of selenium in tea is 1.068ppm. It is the best way for human body to supplement organic selenium by drinking 500ml selenium enriched tea daily for a long time. It has the effects of anti-cancer, anti hypertension and anti-aging.
Located in northern Burma and Yunnan, China, Camellia taliensis grows in the evergreen broad-leaved forest and the mixed forest of 1300 meters to 2700 meters above sea level. Dali tea is a wild relative of cultivated tea. The existing wild community of Dali tea is rare. In recent years, it has been found in the investigation of ancient tea resources, all of which are island like discontinuous distribution. Camellia taliensis chemical constituents have been analyzed, the content of caffeine and amino acid is low, and the commercial value is not big. The value of Dali tea is mainly used in the scientific research of tea, which is of great significance to the application of tea science and Technology (resistance breeding, genetic engineering) and the research of tea academic problems.
Dali tea has a long history of utilization and Cultivation in Yunnan, and its possible utilization can be traced back to the written records of Tang Dynasty. In the West and south of Yunnan, there used to be a large area of Dali tea garden in history, but in the past 100 or 200 years, they have been gradually replaced by C. sinensis var. assamica. At the beginning of this century, due to the trend of Pu’er tea in the market, the vast area of wild Dali tea in Yunnan was cut down, picked all leaves or dug away for cultivation, which almost caused devastating damage to the natural resources of this tea species.
In 1985, in order to restore the famous historical tea, Xiaguan tea factory specially organized technical personnel to investigate and analyze the history and current situation of Gantong tea in Dali. After repeated trial production, Gantong tea was successfully made with spring tender buds and leaves as raw materials, referring to the processing technology recorded in history and combining with modern new technology. The recent popularity of decaffeinated tea has contributed to the popularity of this kind of tea. Today, Gantong tea has been widely planted at the foot of Malong peak in Cangshan Mountain. Gantong temple covers an area of nearly 10 square kilometers. Buddha tea, once rare and hard to find, has entered the homes of ordinary people. Gantong tea belongs to the so-called “ancient arbor tea”. It is made from one bud and one leaf or one bud and two leaves as raw materials, and is processed by green killing, rolling, first drying, re kneading, shaping, fire, full fire and other processes.
Dianmian tea, Camellia irrawadiensis, is a plant of Theaceae Camellia. Dianmian Tea plants are distributed in Yunnan, China and Myanmar, mainly distributed in Southwest Yunnan and the upper reaches of Irrawaddy River in Myanmar. The buds and leaves can be made into tea for drinking.
Laohei tea, Camellia atrothea Chang et Tang, is a plant of Theaceae Camellia. Laohei Tea plants are distributed in Yunnan, Chinese mainland. It is a native plant of China, not introduced from abroad.
Kucha, Camellia assamica var. Kucha is a variety of Pu’er tea. The distribution of Kucha is very narrow, the lowest growth line is 1320 m, the highest growth line is 1390 m, and the concentrated distribution zone is 1360- 1380m. The traditional distribution pattern of tea purine alkaloids is that the content of caffeine is dominant, theobromine and theophylline exist as associated alkaloids. The purine alkaloids in Kucha are mainly the Kucha alkaloids, with the content of 1.3- 3.4%, followed by caffeine and theobromine. Kucha alkaloids belongs to purine alkaloids, mainly exists in tender leaves. In recent years, studies have found that Kucha alkaloids has antidepressant, sedative hypnotic, anti-inflammatory and analgesic pharmacological effects, which is one of the research hotspots of purine alkaloids.
Sichuan Province Green Tea
Mengshan tea is mainly produced at the top of Mengshan mountain, so it is called Mengding tea. Mengding tea is produced in Mengshan, which is located in Mingshan and Ya’an of Sichuan Province. It is the site of seven tea trees planted by Wu Lizhen, the founder of Ganlu in Han Dynasty. Mengshan tea has been famous since Tang Dynasty. Both Immortal Tea and Tribute Tea are famous tea treasures in China, Mengding Ganlu is the oldest famous tea in China and the pioneer of famous tea. Mengding Ganlu is the representative of China’s top ten famous tea, top quality green tea and curly green tea. Mengding Ganlu originated from Fan Cha in history, it is the earliest curly (rolling) green tea in China. It evolved from the famous Mengshan tea Yuye Changchun (AD 1112) and Wanchun Yinye (AD 1120) in Song Dynasty. Read Blog
Scholars of all dynasties left many articles praising Mengding tea, from these beautiful words, it is not difficult for us to understand the deep love for Mengding tea of the literati of the past dynasties. Ganlu in Sanskrit means “missing ancestors”, second, tea is like sweet dew. Ganlu tea is tender, exquisite, beautiful in appearance and excellent in quality.
E‘mei mountain has a long history of tea production, and Baiya white bud tea was listed as a tribute in the Tang Dynasty. Lu You, a poet of the Song Dynasty, once wrote a poem: “the snow bud tea comes from E’mei”. In the Ming Dynasty, the Baishui Temple (now Wannian Temple) in Mount E’mei planted ten thousand tea plants and collected them for tribute. Modern E’mei Zhuyeqing tea is a famous tea created in the 1960s, its name was chosen by Chen Yi. With magnificent mountains and beautiful scenery, at an altitude of 800-1200 meters, Wannian temple, Qingyin Pavilion, Bailong cave and Heishui temple on the mountainside of Mount E’mei are good places for tea plants growing. Tea fields are surrounded by mountains and surrounded by clouds all year round, the green bamboo forest is dense, and the growth of tea tree is very suitable. The shape of E’mei bamboo leaf green tea is flat, both ends are thin, the shape looks like bamboo leaf. The aroma is high and fresh, the soup is clear in color and mellow in taste. The wet tea leaf is light green and even.
E’mei tea has a long history with Buddhism and Taoism. At the end of the Western Han Dynasty, Buddhism was introduced into China. Because long time meditation is easy to make monks tired and sleepy, and tea is the most ideal drink because it has the effects of refreshing, promoting body fluid, relieving thirst and eliminating fatigue. E’mei tea was famous as early as Jin Dynasty. According to the records of E’mei reading: “Mount E’mei has many herbs, especially tea, which is different from the world, a kind of tea is produced at the top of the Jinshui temple. It tastes bitter at the beginning and sweet at the end. ” There is a deep tea culture in the Buddhist culture, and Buddhism provides the philosophy of “Brahman and I are the same 梵我一如” for the tea ceremony, which deepens the ideological connotation of the tea ceremony and makes the tea ceremony more verve. The Taoist thought of “the unity of man and nature 天人合一” is the soul of Chinese tea ceremony. High level tea activities are forgotten by both things and me, just as Zhuangzhou is a butterfly and butterfly is Zhuangzhou.
Bitan Piaoxue, Jasmine flower tea, is produced in Mount Emei, Sichuan Province. Bitan Piaoxue tea is named after acrostic, Xu Jinhua, a famous tea man, is the creator of Bitan Piaoyue. He created and built the brand of jasmine tea Bitan Piaoyue, the tea is also called “Xu Gong tea”. The first-class fine green tea buds are selected before the Ming Dynasty, the fresh jasmine with excellent quality and beautiful shape is provided. It is hand operated and scented by exquisite craftsmanship. Flowers are selected by hand, so they are as tender as snow and clear.
Tibetan Green Tea
Zhejiang Green Tea
Purple bamboo tea began trial production in 1979. In 1982, it took part in the national famous tea evaluation for the first time, and won the unanimous praise of experts and famous teachers, and won the national famous tea certificate. Guzhu mountain, where purple shoot tea grows, is a low hill with gentle slope, rich vegetation, thick soil layer and high content of organic matter, which is suitable for tea growth. Guzhu mountain is in a good microclimate condition, which breeds a thousand year old purple bamboo shoots tea. Purple bamboo shoots tea has excellent endoplasm and unique fragrance. The characteristics of purple bamboo shoots tea are as follows: tender bud leaves, purple bud color, bamboo shoots shape, tightly wrapped, boiling water brewing, fragrant, clear soup color, and orchid shape after tea brewing.
Longjing 43 is a clonal national variety bred from Longjing population by Tea Research Institute of Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences. Shrub type, middle leaf type, semi open, densely branched. The period of one bud and one leaf is in the middle and last ten days of April. The dry samples of one bud and two leaves contain about 3.7% amino acids, 18.5% tea polyphenols, 12.1% catechins and 4.0% caffeine.
Before Sui and Tang Dynasties, Hangzhou tea culture was in the rising stage. During the Three Kingdoms and two Jin Dynasties, the economy and culture on both sides of Qiantang River gradually developed, Lingyin Temple was built, Buddhism, Taoism and other religious activities gradually prevailed, the famous mountains and rivers of West Lake were gradually developed, and tea was planted and spread with the establishment of Taoist temples. After the opening of the Grand Canal in the Sui Dynasty, Hangzhou became a famous city of great wealth in the southeast due to its convenient land and water transportation. At this time, tea was widely cultivated in Hangzhou. During the Northern Song Dynasty, Longjing tea area had initially formed a scale. At that time, the tea were listed as tribute products. In the Jiajing period of the Ming Dynasty, there was a record that “the sprouts were taken with one leaf and one shot, which was especially precious”. In the Yuan Dynasty, Longjing tea began to have a good reputation. Yu Ji, a tea lover, wrote a tea drinking poem about Longjing, in which “wandering on Longjing, clouds rise and clear, it is widely sung that when you cook golden buds, you can’t bear to gargle three times”. In the Qing Dynasty, Emperor Qianlong went to Jiangnan six times and Longjing four times. He wrote six Royal poems about Longjing tea, and personally granted “Eighteen royal tea trees”, which promoted Longjing tea to the highest status. Later, Longjing tea gradually became the first famous tea in China. Tea Blog
Anji White Tea 安吉白茶 variety of the Zhejiang Province is a valuable and rare variety of tea trees. According to its processing procedures including frying and rolling, Anji white tea should be considered strictly as a kind of green tea, only because this variant’s new sprouting leaves are jade white, we call it white tea. Like other green tea processes, after withering, Anji white tea leaves (1 shoot and 1 leaf ) should be fried, gently dried and then frozen at 0- 5℃ to keep the jade color. In 1930, tens of wild white tea trees were found in Xiaofeng Town, Anji , Zhejiang province, and the Anji county annals recorded, that new sprouts were white like jade, which turned to yellow after drying and were produced by the local Jinguang temple. After that time, these trees can not be traced, until a hundred year old white tea has be noticed at the 800 meter high Tianhuangping Town, local people call it Da Xi white tea. In 1980s, this valuable tea variety has been protected by the goverment scientific research personnel and succeeded in the asexual reproduction.
In springs, new sprouts and tender leaves’s colors are changing with the temperature, from bright yellow to jade white, and the leaf veins are emerald green, looking like a blossoming of Yulan magnolia. This phase is called the Flourishing white stage, one sprout and two leaves are the right shape to be harvest, after this phase, mature leaves turn to pea green, and new sprouts in summers and autumns are light green. Recent years researches show that, Anji white tea is a stable temperature-sensitive mutant from genetic mutations. Dry tea is emerald green with light yellow color, wet fragrances are like grass and bean, tastes are sweet and fresh without any bitterness. Hubei/Anji white tea‘s amino acid content is the double of other green teas, a low content of tea polyphenols makes it taste less bitter than other green teas. Wet leaves are extreme beautiful, jade white and lightly transparent blades with green leaf veins.
Golden bud tea was discovered by Zhang Wanlin, director of Deshijia tea farm in Sanqi City, Yuyao City, Zhejiang Province in the 1990s. After more than ten years of breeding, with the support of Yuyao related departments and Zhejiang University, they have systematically completed the research on breeding characteristics, application fields and key technologies of industrialization. It has been bred by Tea Research Institute of Zhejiang University, Deshijia tea farm of Yuyao City and linte general station of Yuyao City for nearly ten years. Now it has been introduced into the rare and famous tea germplasm resource garden of Tea Research Institute of Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences. It is the only new variety with yellow variation in China. The amino acid content of golden bud is as high as 9%, while that of white tea is 5- 7%, and that of common tea is 3- 4%. The character of golden bud was stable, and the leaf was golden yellow, while the leaf turned from white to green when the temperature reached 25 ℃. Yang Yajun, director of the Tea Research Institute of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, said that generally speaking, because of the strong sunlight in summer, tea contains more tea polyphenols and less amino acids, so it is difficult to sell tea at a good price. Tea farmers usually finish picking spring tea. Golden bud tea can be harvested in three seasons a year, and its quality is not inferior to other spring teas even in summer and autumn. It can be developed as a high-grade rare tea.
The biggest characteristics of golden leaf are “three yellow”: dry tea is bright yellow, soup is bright yellow, and wet leaf is pure yellow. Golden bud tea is rich in nutrients, including volatile oil, alkaloids, flavonoids and other effective ingredients, trace elements such as iron, calcium, zinc, magnesium, selenium and vitamins VB1, VB2, VC, etc. the content of various amino acids is as high as 9%, which is 3-4 times of ordinary tea, and golden bud tea contains tea polyphenols as high as 20%. Tender fragrance is one of the characteristics tea, whether it is dry tea or brewed tea soup, the thicker the tender fragrance is, the longer it lasts and the higher the quality is. After three minutes, the yellow leaves stretch out and return to jade yellow. The tea buds bloom, the wet leaves are jade yellow, and the veins are yellow. It looks like pieces of jade dancing, and each golden branch is independent.
Jiangsu Green Tea
Tang Dynasty was listed as tribute, Biluochun is a famous tea in China and has more than 1000 years of history. Biluochun is produced in the East Dongting mountain and the West Dongting mountain (now Wuzhong District, Suzhou) in Wuxian County, Suzhou City, Jiangsu Province, so it is also known as “Dongting Biluochun”. The high-grade Biluochun tea bud is delicate and tender, 0.5kg dry tea needs 60000 tea buds. After fried, the dry tea strips are tightly tied, white hair is exposed, and the color is silver green, and the green is attractive. It is curled into a snail, and is produced in spring. Biluochun production area in Dongting is a famous tea fruit intercropping area in China. Tea and peach, plum, apricot, plum, persimmon, orange, ginkgo, pomegranate, Quancheng red, Quancheng green, and other fruit trees are planted alternately. The branches of tea trees and fruit trees are connected, the roots are connected, the tea absorbs fruit fragrance, the flower scents tea flavor.
It is said that a nun went to the mountain for a spring outing and picked a few pieces of tea leaves. After making them tea, she blurted out that it was so fragrant that it scared people. Therefore, the local people called the tea “scared people fragrant”. During the reign of Emperor Kangxi in the Qing Dynasty, Emperor Kangxi tasted this famous tea. He appreciated it very much, however, he felt that the name of this tea was not elegant, so he named it Biluochun. As for the origin of the name of this tea, in addition to the personal gift given by Emperor Kangxi when he visited Taihu Lake, there is also a legend that Biluochun had the name in the Ming Dynasty. There is also a clever explanation that Biluochun was named after its Bi 碧 green color, Luo 螺 curly like a snail, picked in spring Chun 春 and from the peak of Biluo.
Anhui Green Tea
Huangshan tea can be traced back to the prosperous Tang Dynasty 1200 years ago, Huangshan tea was very famous in Ming Dynasty. Huangshan tea in Ming Dynasty not only has great improvement in production technology, but also has more and more varieties. At this time, Huangshan tea has become unique and famous, and the rudiment of Huangshan Maofeng Tea has basically formed. Huangshan Maofeng originated in the Guangxu period of the Qing Dynasty (around 1875). At that time, Xie Zhengan, a tea merchant in Shexian County, set up “Xie Yutai” tea shop to meet the market demand. Before and after the Qingming Festival, he personally led people to the famous mountain gardens in Huangshan, such as Chongchuan and Tangkou, to select tender buds and leaves. After fine roasting, he created a high-quality tea with good flavor. Because the tea is covered with white hair and the bud tip looks like a peak, it is named “Maofeng- Hair Peak” and then the place name was added “Huangshan Maofeng”.
In addition to the natural conditions of humid climate, soft soil and unobstructed drainage, Huangshan also has its own characteristics, such as high mountains and deep valleys, many streams and clear springs, high humidity, steep rocks and steep slopes, lush trees and good water and soil. In such natural conditions, it is very suitable for the growth of tea trees, so the leaves are rich and juicy, and can endure soaking for a long time. In addition to the Mount Huangshan orchid, when the tea picking is coming, the mountain flowers are blooming. The scent of flowers makes Mount Huangshan tea particularly fragrant and unique. Huangshan Maofeng is one of the top ten famous teas in China, which belongs to green tea. During the Qingming Festival every year, the newly developed plump buds of the improved tea species “Huangshan species” and “Huangshan big leaf species” are picked and fried by hand. The shape of the tea is slightly curled, like a sparrow tongue, yellow in green, silver hair is exposed, and it has golden fish leaves (commonly known as golden flakes).
In 1859, the ancestor of Houkui, Zheng Shouqing, opened a tea garden on the Bank of the machuan River, where the mountains are high, the soil is rich, the clouds are steaming and the fog is blue. Zheng Benkui and the local tea farmers produced a flat, straight, fresh and mellow “Jiancha- Bud Tea” with orchid fragrance, which was named “Taiping Jiancha”. It is generally believed that “Taiping Jiancha” is the predecessor of Taiping Houkui. Since Mr. Zheng Shouqing personally inherited the Six-hundred Mile Houkui, it has always represented the highest level of Taiping Houkui. In the middle and late Qing Dynasty, Taiping people opened hundreds of tea houses, tea shops and tea shops in Nanjing, Yangzhou and Wuhan. Taiping tea was very popular along the Yangtze River, and Taiping tea and tea merchants flourished for a time. At that time, Jiangnanchun tea purchasing station in his hometown Xinming tea district, in order to increase tea varieties, improve product grade and earn higher commercial profits, specially asked people to pick out the buds and leaves with the same size of branches, package them separately, and transport them to Nanjing for high price sales, which was deeply loved by tea lovers and achieved success. Wang Kui Cheng, a tea farmer who lives in Hougang, is known as Wang Lao er. He has rich experience in tea production. He is especially good at tea processing and has a quick mind. He was inspired to think that rather than selecting after tea is finished, it is better to start picking fresh leaves carefully. So he carefully selected one strong bud and two leaves in a mountain tea garden, 750 meters above sea level. After careful production, the dried tea has good specifications and high quality, which is called “Wang Lao Er Kui Jian”. Because the quality of this tea is located in the first place of Jiancha, and its founder is also called kuicheng. It is produced in Houkeng and Hougang of Taiping County, so this tea is called “Taiping Houkui”.
Taiping Houkui is a kind of green tea. Compared with other tea products, Taiping Houkui tea has a sweet aftertaste. Even if the amount of tea is too much, it will not be bitter and astringent, while other teas will be bitter and astringent if they are too much, and the brewing of Taiping Houkui is relatively simple. Taiping Houkui has a unique color, fragrance, taste and shape, one bud is surrounded by two leaves. It is flat and straight, naturally stretched, and its white hair is hidden. It has the good name of “Houkui has two sharp ends, does not scatter, does not curl, does not curl”. The leaves are pale green and smooth, and the veins are green and red, commonly known as “red silk thread”. Orchid high fragrance, mellow taste and a sweet aftertaste, soup color clear green, wet leaf is light green and bright, and the buds and leaves are plump.
Wudang Mountian is in Hubei Province, which has a long history of producing good tea: in the <History of Song Dynasty 宋史> recorded that in the Song Dynasty, Wudang Daoist Chen Tuan was fond of drinking tea; and in the Yuan Dynasty documents, Wudang daoists planted and produced tea by themselves; Wudang Qian Lin 骞林 tea had been paid tribute to the Ming Dynasty’s imperial court for 200 years, and in the <Collected Taoist Scriptures 道藏> , a picture called “Qian Lin Ying Xiang Tu骞林应祥图” described the grand occasion of harvesting, producing and paying tribute Qian Lin tea; the Qing Dynasty poems records that Wudang daoists brewed tea to receive guests.
In the <Ming Dynasty Xiang Mansion Tea Nunnery Inscription Record大明襄府茶庵碑记>, since in the Ming Dynasty it prevailed that, people from the whole nation went on pilgrimages to offer incense on the Wudang Mountain, these believers needed to climb up mountains to reach the golden peak, King Xiang decided to build a tea nunnery in order to serve these believers tea water. This stela now is kept in the Wudang Museum.
<Zhou Mansion Tea Nunnery 周府茶庵> of <Wudang Travel Notes Twenty-four Pictures武当纪游二十四图> was painted by Zhou Kai (Qing Dynasty) and followed by three poems, he stopped for a rest there and drank tea with a young daoist Ye Wenmei, they both were interested in drinking tea and writing poems. After his first visit, Zhou Kai revisited the nunnery another two times. This painting describes the Zhou masion tea nunnery that built by Ming Dynasty King Zhou on the ancient Wudang pilgrimage road.
Nowadays, wild ancient Qianlin tea trees have been discovered at four places in rock massifs of Wudang mountains since 2008, the biggest one, the latest finding No.3 ancient tea tree is about 10 meter high, 3.3 meter circumference and 1.2 meter diameter of the tree base. Camellia cuspidata (Kochs) Wright ex Gard. is Qianlin’s latin name, because Wudang Mountain is also called Taihe Mountain 太和山, this tea is called Taihe tea by Wudang daoists. Taihe tea made of these tea leaves is rich in amino acids, tea polyphenols, saponins, flavonoids and many beneficial trace elements (germanium, selenium, zinc, cobalt, vanadium and molybdenum). In the 1970s, tea seedlings from the Ying Mountains 英山 in the Northeast of Hubei province were transplanted and in the 1980s, Fuding Da Hao and Fuding Da Bai tea varieties were also transplanted at Wudang.
Big White Hair 大白毫 [dà bái háo] is considered to be the best quality of Wudang Tea, also known as Silver Sword 银剑 [yín jiàn]. It must be harvested in 7-8 days before the Qingming Festival from big leaf varieties of tea tree – Fuding Da Hao and Fuding Da Bai tea varieties at an elevation of about 800m above sea level. These kind of tea tree varities in the Mont. Wudang are only used to produce Big White Hair.
The kind of teas could be called High Mountian Tea 高山茶, the tea fields’ height above sea level must be higher than 800 meters. Comparing with other teas growing at lower see levels, high mountian teas are much more special: first, high mountian tea’s tastes are more clear and sweet, because of strong root systems, high mountain tea plants could absorb more mineral substances and nutrients;
Second, high mountian tea’s textures are more smooth and soft, since high mountains surround all the year round with cloud and mist, high humidities, rich diffusion lights and big differences in temperature between the day and the night are optimal for tea plants to produce some desirable compounds;
Third, high mountian tea’s liquid is more clear and bright, because lights on high mountains are mainly blue-purple lights, which could restrain undesirable compounds to produce; Fourth, high mountian green tea‘s fragrances are much higher, longer daylight hours and relative lower temperatures are good for fresh leaves to produce aromatic compounds.
Before the Qingming Festival – Ming Qian 明前 [míng qián], only tea shoots should be harvested in the Wudang Mountain, tea harvested one week later after the festival is much differenter than one havrvested before. Mainly two different tea tree varieties are used to produce tea locally, because of more hair (fragrance), higher sweetness and nicer appearance, Silver Sword as one variety of big leaves is more popular than a small leaf variety, and since big leaf tea trees are only used to produce Silver Sword and small leaf tea trees to produce more kinds (1 shoot 1 leaf Needle Well 针井 [zhēn jǐng],1 shoot 2-3 leaves 普茶 [pǔ chá] and etc.).
Needle Well 针井 [zhēn jǐng] tea is made from tender leaves with 1 shoot 1 leaf, it should be also harvested before the Qingming Festival to ensure a good quality. Its specialty is the hand-rolling and basket charcoal-baking procedure during its process, which helps to increase more fragrances and form its beautiful tight-thin shap.
Nowdays, tea farmers use many physical ways for manual weedings and disinsections, for example, sticky boards or/and solar devices to attract insects.
Because tea plants absorb many particular elements from the earth, for instance, nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, and bush tea plants have relative shorter root systems than scrub and tree tea plants to take more particular nutritions in deeper and wider soils, in order to use bush tea plants to produce tea longer than 40-50 years, it is necessery to use bio fertilisers annually, plant ash, manure… before the Frost’s Descent 霜降.
Tea farmers also prefer to irrigate by collecting rain water in countainers or/and pounds.
Before and after the Qingming Festival
Shoots after the Qingming Festival (雨前 [yǔ qián] before the Grain Rain 谷雨 [gǔ yǔ] Festival) are not as plump and tender as ones before (明前 [míng qián]), which could effect the appearance of dry tea. Because Ming Qian Tea has more aroma components and amino acids, less polyphenol contents (bitterness), it tastes fresh and delicious. But before the Qingming Festival, because of generally low temperatures and a limited number of germination, Ming Qian Tea doesn’t contian rich substances and an infusion-enduring taste. On the contrary, Yu Qian Tea is more enduring and has plenty of strong flavours.
After the Qingming Festival, it’s time to harvest the Normal Tea (Green Myst) of 1 shoot 2-3 leaves in 15 days till the Grain Rain 谷雨 [gǔ yǔ] Festival. For example, in a 5 “亩 [mǔ] a unit of area (=0.0667 hectares)” tea field, 11 people could pick around 150- 200kg fresh tea leaves up in a period 5:00 to 18-19:00 per day. After a day time harvest, tea leaves need to be processed immediately at night time of the same day by another group of experts, 6-700g fresh leaves: 100g dry tea.
Nan Wudang – Yingshan green tea is a very famous tea in Hubei and the whole China with a long history, it has been called Yingshan Yunwu tea nowadays as one of ancient Tuan Huang – 团黄 yellow tea and offered to the Tang and Song imperial court as a tribute. The Tang litterateur, Li Zhao’s <Collating Tang Nation History> listed Yingshan Tuan Huang as the third place of 14 tribute teas, the Song litterateur and calligrapher, Su Shi was used to work as an escort to pay Tuan Huang tea tribute to the capital city and regretted, it was such a pity that he hadn’t tasted it in his life.
Wufeng Mao Jian 五峰毛尖 originates from the Wufeng Tujia ethnic minority autonomous county in the Southwest of the Hubei Province, this county is a offset of the Wuling mountain range (the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau). This area also has a clear climate characteristics of Yangtze river valley, the soil is rich in zinc, selenium and other beneficial trace elements, which are very suitable for tea growth, big tea trees grown on both riversides are so thick that two men can get arms around. Wufeng Mao Jian is green tea, top qualities are only used tender spring sprouts or 1 shoot/1 leaf.
One night, Emperor Qianlong (1711-1799), Aisin Gioro Hongli read a lot of memorials and felt sleepy. Seeing this, the palace maid quickly made a cup of tea and put it on the imperial table. Tea water vapour rose like clouds, opened up a sweet and mellow fragrance, Qianlong breathed in the tea fragrance, it could clean his brain and clear his eyes. When he saw it, the tea in the cup was like the shape of a peach blossom in bud, stood upright in the cup. Tea water vapour like a cloud surround him, the “immprtal air” flowing in his body, the whole body was comfortable, and the internal power doubled. “Good tea, rarely good tea,” he clapped and asked the palace maid “where does this tea come from?”, she replied “this tea is the Shui Jin Si Tea 水尽司茶 offered by Changle County (later renamed Wufeng, Wufeng Tea)”. Qianlong said excitedly “when I visited the south of the Yangtze River, I heard about the famous tea from this place. I taste it today, it has a well-deserved reputation. ” Then he took a few more sips, tasted, and said with appreciation “it’s really an immortal tea”. Read Blog
Emperor Qianlong drank this tea for many days, and he felt that his appetite was increased, his spirit was refreshed, his ears were clear and his eyes were bright, and he had the wonderful effect of becoming young again. One day after the early morning, Emperor Qianlong asked the palace maid to make a cup of Shui Jin Si Tea. He took a few drinks, and he felt relaxed and happy for a while, and his passion burst out. As soon as he was excited, he wrote four characters: “Water Immortal Fragrant Tea 水仙香茗”. He expressed his high praise for this tea and asked the court to send the inscription to Changle (Wufeng) County Yamen to show the emperor’s favor. Since then, Water Immortal Fragrant Tea had become a tribute of the imperial court.
Green Tea Part 12 ——- Frying Tea Competition
Huangjin Town, Hunan Province (Tujia and Miao ethnic minority)