Spring is just around the corner!
Our friends across China are already sharing their plans for the coming months, and we are excited to help them share their fresh 2017 spring tea harvests! Read on for an update from the tea fields from our partners across China.
Laoshan Village, Shandong
In the winter of 2015 into 2016, Laoshan suffered from an extraordinarily cold winter. The prolonged sub-zero temperatures killed off a substantial amount of tea. The following spring produced a precious and tiny harvest.
This winter, the He Family in Laoshan is overjoyed to be past the coldest days of winter, without any weeks dipping into dangerously low temperatures. Now in late February, the very tips of the tea bushes are turning green again, preparing to begin putting out buds in the spring.
The He Family is working overtime to ensure a healthy harvest, spreading soybean mash saved from last year across the fields as a natural and organic fertilizer. This will help give the plants a boost to recover lost leaves and put our more buds this year.
Mr. He predicts a good harvest, starting in the week or so leading up to Qingming festival (April 4th), with the bulk of the Da Tian spring picking happening in mid to late April, and Laoshan black processing extending into early May. Because Laoshan is so much further North than other growing regions, its harvest dates are later.
We will be in Laoshan at the beginning of April to document the recovery of the tea fields and get a first peek at what flavor profiles this season brings. We will post updates on the earliest harvests of Laoshan Green when we arrive, and hopefully get a sneak peak at the picking and processing of this year’s first wild Gan Zao Ye harvest.
Longjing Village, Zhejiang
Mrs. Li of Dragonwell is already hard at work preparing for the busiest month of the year. This year, she and her husband, Shui Huamin, predict that the very first harvest will be picked on March 15th, with the bulk of the harvest picked at the end of March before Qingming festival on April 4th.
This year, she has invited us out to Dragonwell at the end of March to document the picking and processing in detail. We are excited to be welcomed back into her home at such an incredibly busy time! We have shared with Mrs. Li all the incredible feedback her tea is getting across the world, and she wanted to respond in kind by giving everyone who drinks her tea a look behind the scenes at the full process. We can’t wait to start posting footage of her work in early April.
We will be helping to get her tea packed up in person while we are in Dragonwell and rush shipped to the United States viat air shipping. We will open pre-orders for Mrs. Li’s earliest harvests as soon as we have confirmed exact picking dates for each offering. We are also excited to share a wide sampling of pickings from Mrs. Li with our Tea of the Month Club in April.
Club members will be some of the first to try this spring’s fresh harvests!
Spring Yunnan Teas
The Zhenyuan Dongsa Cooperative in Qianjiazhai will be focusing on pressing their pre-qingming spring pickings of wild tea into sheng pu’er cakes for aging. We will be in close contact with Master Zhou and friends in Qianjiazhai to assist in supporting specific single tree harvests and and blended cakes for aging and pressing to release in late spring. We anticipate a June or July release of 2017 Qianjiazhai Spring teas.
Xingyang has already picked and set aside their earliest green tea this year!
Their early spring Yunnan green tea was harvested in mid February, which is spring weather in their tea fields outside of Pu’er in Yunnan. Xingyang was able to set aside about four kilos of this harvest for Verdant. It is currently being air-shipped for release in the coming week and a half.
Early spring Jin Jun Mei will be the first harvest of the year for Li Xiangxi and her family in Tongmu.
We will be in Wuyi in late March to check in and document the very early picking and processing. We are excited to film more of Li Xiangxi’s lectures on tea culture and ritual, as well as more footage of her family picking and roasting their teas.
The Li Family likes to give their teas several weeks to rest after roasting, so we expect to begin releasing spring harvest Wuyi teas in May.
Daping & Longjuan, Anxi, Fujian
This spring, we are lucky for the chance to visit both Master Zhang in Daping and the Liu Family in Longjuan to collaborate on and plan for the spring harvest, which comes much later in the season for Anxi than green tea.
The bulk of the Tieguanyin harvest is due for picking in May. We plan on checking in on the progress of the plants this March while sharing your feedback and helping our partners plan their harvests. Interesting new possibilities for spring 2017 include a spring harvest of Tieguanyin Jin Jun Mei from the Liu Family, or traditional revival style processing with Master Zhang.
We can’t wait to share our friends’ plans later this spring! We are especially excited to offer a full collection from the Liu Family for the first time this spring, introducing their work as our newest partner tea farmers.
Mt. Wudong, Fenghuang, Guangdong
While much of the Dancong harvest begins before Qingming festival, Huang Ruiguang and his sons believe in giving their tea four to six months to settle into itself after roasting and finishing.
Peak flavor will be approaching in late July to mid-August, when we will release Huang Ruiguang’s 2017 collection. We can’t wait to introduce new varietals and finishing techniques this year! Tea of the Month Club members will be the first to taste the newest offerings of the year, including limited release harvests too small to offer in the permanent collection.
Hulin, Fuding, Fujian
The Weng Family will begin their Bai Hao Yin Zhen harvests just before Qingming festival, with Bai Mudan following, and finally in later spring, Shou Mei. We are excited to share their 2017 collection starting in May.
The Weng Family believes in the aging potential of white tea stored under proper conditions, and after having the privilege to taste and share their 2013 reserve last year, we hope to acquire and share a collection white tea cakes from the Weng Family this spring for release in the autumn to continue expanding their collection.
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