Spring is just around the corner!
As the weather warms up and spring flowers and buds emerge from he winter cold, our friends across China are already sharing their plans for the coming months. We are excitedly looking forward to help them share their fresh 2018 spring tea harvests! Read on for an update from the tea fields from our partners across China.
Longjing Village, Zhejiang
This week, Mrs. Li – our partner in Longjing – is excited to let us know that picking for her family’s earliest Shi Feng Dragonwell should begin the week of March 19th, and continue through the first weeks of April.
The Longjing area, and Shi Feng peak in particular, have enjoyed good weather over the winter, and Li Xiaoping expects a great harvest of both her traditional Dragonwell varietal and the Longjing #43 cultivar. We have already placed our orders for as much Dragonwell as Mrs. Li is able to part with this season and expect to begin fulfilling preorders no later than the first week of May.
Pre-orders are now open for Mrs. Li’s 2018 Dragonwell harvests! We will keep everyone updated on exact pre-order shipping times as Mrs. Li’s harvests are picked and finished. We are having the tea packaged and air-shipped as it is picked throughout April and sent out straight from our US headquarters to guarantee the freshest Dragonwell experience possible. We can’t wait!
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!
Laoshan Village, Shandong
The He Family is hard at work maintaining their tea fields. At this time of year, their fields are almost completely covered by double and triple-layered greenhouses until warmer weather arrives in Laoshan.
The 2015 / 2016 winter was so cold that many plants died, but the past two springs and summers have helped facilitate an incredible recovery. Although this winter has been very cold and particularly snowy, the He Family is well-prepared, keeping their tea well-insulated. This year, they expect a smaller but sweet and rich harvest.
Mr. He will begin harvesting pre Qingming tea with the greenhouse covers still intact to protect from late frosts, and expects to begin picking at the end of March – barring any unforeseen changes in the weather! Open-air picking begins in late April.
We expect to place orders for the majority of the He Family’s harvests this year as soon as they have a better sense of how much they will be able to pick, and hope to open pre-orders in mid-April for early spring harvests, delivering around mid-May.
May’s Tea of the Month Club members will also be the first to taste a wide variety of the He Family’s spring 2018 harvests! Club members should join by May 14th to guarantee their box.
Daping, Anxi, Fujian
Although it is still too early for 2018 Anxi oolong harvests, our partner Master Zhang in Daping has still been hard at work and busy every day.
In particular, Master Zhang is hard at work this year finishing his new workshop. He has invested heavily in scientific equipment to measure soil and water quality to help him in his goal of finally getting certified as an Original Ecological Preserve, a distinction far above organic in China.
In addition, Master Zhang is currently excavating a new mountain road to better reach his highest tea fields – all while managing his bio-diverse collection.
Master Zhang expects the best of the spring harvest to pick in early May, and we hope to have it packed and air-shipped to taste by mid to late May or early July.
Spring Yunnan Teas
Weather has been rough in Qianjiazhai this spring, and we have been following news from the Zhenyuan Dongsa Farmers’ Cooperative closely.
Just this week, the whole Ailao region was hit by a devastating hail storm, damaging buildings, ruining vegetable and wheat crops, and damaging many of the early bud yabao tea that the Li Family was planning to pick. This means a dramatically reduced harvest of Crassicolumna tea this year. Luckily the old-tree tea is mostly undamaged, and picks later in March and April. Barring further harsh weather, the cooperative doesn’t expect the hail to affect the single tree or Zun harvests.
We hope to purchase as much Crassicolumna as the Li Family is able to produce at a price that helps them recover from the loss more quickly, and will offer it as soon as it is allowed to finish, rest, and get pressed into cakes by Master Zhou. These 2018 harvests will likely be available in later summer, along with single-tree and Zun pu’er harvests.
Wuyishan, Fujian & Mt. Wudong, Fenghuang
The oxidized and roasted oolongs from Huang Rui Guang’s family in Fenghuang and from Li Xiangxi’s family in Wuyishan need several months after picking in April and May to fire and rest for optimum flavor.
We will be checking in on progress in the next month as new spring buds appear, and in person during our next trip to China, where we will sure to share the early results.
We expect to have fresh Wuyi and Fenghuang oolongs on offer by mid-summer when the Li Family and Huang Rui Guang’s family decide their teas are ready to release.
Fuding & Tai Mu Shan Fujian
White tea in China right now is going through a staggering market bubble.
The Weng Family’s sustainably-cultivated white tea is in such high demand that they have decided to hold back this year’s harvests for aging. Aged white tea is becoming more and more popular in China for medicinal purposes and for its rich flavor. With the Weng family trying to keep up with demand, they have decided to take the bold move to hold back on fresh tea harvests in order to invest in their future.
While we are sad to not be able to offer new harvests from the Weng Family this spring, we are excited for their success and hope to bring in more of their vintages as they start releasing them in the coming years.
We are very excited to have met a new family growing white tea in Taimu Shan, one of the earliest historical origins of white tea. This family was introduced to us through Li Xiangxi, so we are excited to meet them in person this spring. We hope to work with them to offer their new 2018 harvests by June or July.
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