The busiest season for most Chinese green teas has passed.
Huang Shan Mao Feng harvest ended around April 20. In some regions, production was reduced by early April rain. But the rain only made tea leaves grow more slowly and better! Huang Shan Mao Feng grows bud later than many other green teas, and didn't suffer from the early March snow weather. The cold weather did postpone the tea harvest, which is not entirely bad. Many people say, the post-Qingming (harvested after April 5) tea quality of this year is comparable to pre-Qingming tea of the past years. And the small amount of pre-Qingming tea is just wonderful! In the remote mountains, many Huang Shan Mao Feng farmers don't enjoy as many economic opportunities as their colleagues in Long Jing and Tie Guan Yin production regions. Due to reduced production of Long Jing and other famous teas, this year, Yellow Mountain tea villages attracted more tea buyers and for many farmers, it's a season of happiness and good fortune.
Xi Hu Long Jing harvest is close to an end. But there is still tea harvested after Gu Yu (Around April 20 of each year). For tea farmers, post-Guyu harvest doesn't bring in as much income as early harvest, but a thorough harvest is essential for the health of Long Jing tea bush. The post-Guyu (Yu Hou, or After Rain) Long Jing is of much lower price. It's not at the same quality level as early harvest, but still has rich flavor and is a good economic choice. For American buyers, due to the high cost of shipping, it may not be always worth it to buy post-Guyu Long Jing. We will see if we can get some and make it as an economic option of our Long Jing collection. Because of the great tea processing tradition in Hangzhou, post-Guyu authentic Xi Hu Long Jing is still very well made and so much better than many other unauthentic Long Jing of even earlier harvests.
Snowflakes on Green Lake (Bi Tan Piao Xue), a jasmine green tea made with youngest spring tea leaves, is being made now. I am enthusiastically looking forward to it. The combo of elegant jasmine flower and tender tea leaves is just great for this season. For lovers of jasmine green tea, I would recommend this tea as the highest level of jasmine green tea.
For oolong lovers, the season of excitement is coming. Tie Guan Yin will come in mid May, as well as many other varieties. Before May, there will be some Tie Guan Yin products hitting Chinese market. But most of them are from warmer areas of lower elevation. The best high mountain tea still needs more time to grow. Due to the high shipping cost, we will wait till May to get our first group of 2010 spring Tie Guan Yin and other oolongs.
Meantime, you don't have to wait for spring oolong harvest. Autumn products of 2009 are very good and they have their seasonal features. Besides, after a year of rest, 2009 charcoal roasted Tie Guan Yin tastes even better now!
So little time, so many teas to drink! Do you know that more than 80% of the Chinese tea products we enjoy today were developed in only the past 200 years? And we constantly enjoy teas that were tributes restrictive to the emperor family of Qing dynasty. Aren't we lucky people!
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