Yes ! The first of our wonderful, early harvest teas have arrived, and we are excited to have them here. When it comes to early pluck Chinese tea, most tea enthusiasts think of eastern China and Longjing tea. However, the warm weather in the tropical region of Xishuangbanna, Yunnan, brings delicious early pluck Yunnan bud teas to market as early as late February.
Yunnan teas are one of our favorite black teas because they are unique among China’s black teas. In appearance and in the cup, they are the perfect expression of their terroir: ie. the environment, the tea manufacturing methodology and the distinctive Yunnan tea tree/ tea bush varietals.
For those who are not familiar with Pre-Qing Ming tea, let me explain.
In China, the earliest plucked tea leaves are known as Pre-Qing Ming or Ming Qian teas. Early spring plucking begins in late February to early March ( depending on the province, region, and weather ) and ends on April 5th. Only teas that are plucked during this short time can be sold as Pre-Qing Ming tea. Chinese tea enthusiasts believe that the earlier the pluck, the better the tea. Tea enthusiasts in the know are eager for this time of the year as the opportunity for purchasing these special teas is fleeting.
In India, the designation used is 1st Flush, and in Japan, the teas are known as Shincha . The meaning behind these designations is the same: these teas are the first plucking of the budding tea bushes in the earliest days of the new harvest season. Tea bushes ‘flush’ with new growth after awakening from the dormant winter period. In a sense, these teas are made from baby tea leaves that are delicious ‘just born’ expressions of the flavor of the tea. As such, these teas are vigorous and bursting with flavor and contain a large amount of beneficial plant nutrient.
In just a few weeks time, the leaves on the tea bushes will grow too large to be baby tea leaves any longer this year. As the tea bushes grow, they produce larger, mid-sized leaves ( teenagers ! ) and by summer the tea pluckers will be gathering full-sized leaves ( adults). While each stage of leaf growth contributes a different seasonal flavor to the tea, early harvest teas are especially prized.
What arrived today:
2009 Pre-Qing Ming Yunnan Curly Golden Buds
2009 Pre-Qing Ming Jumbo Golden Buds
2009 Pre-Qing Ming Bai Lin Gong Fu
To order, please click here: http://www.teatrekker.com/main.htm
Please keep checking back to our blog – or the Tea Trekker home page – as we will post each new tea as it arrives in the coming days !