Harvest Party part 1
May 11th is the current official date for the first Harvest Party of this spring, will be tasting countless new teas, including the Qing Ming pre-rain Dragonwell, which is like giving everyone a gold bullion each time we have a tasting. So we can only do it once. email us if you wish to attend, and for those who don’t live near our teashop for this special occasion, we will make some special...
Fast vs Slow
What’s fast in China: Courier services. Sometimes, one can send a small package to another city, say, Shenzhen to Guangzhou, and receive it on the same day. What’s slow: Banking. They can never figure out the Central Government policy what to do when. For some time there is retaliation with the US currency, so the banks are not allowed to freely make currency conversions. For...
One of us Cantonese dubbed all things inexplicable, ridiculous, and behaviours beyond belief to be called simply as ‘China Specialty’. After all, ladies all dressed up with spiky heels are still spitting at a train platform, offering cigarettes as a matter of conducting business is still the norm, and making dangerously fake food (fake eggs! fake cooking oil!) are in the everyday life...
A Gentlewoman Farmer
A distantly related relative decided that she will do her part and change the food scene in China by being a lone voice in growing clean, organic food using the natural resources of a magical mountain she found in the Yao Indigenous Self Governing Region. Being a city person originally, idealistic, and cynical regarding the rampant fake food all over China, she was ecstatic when she found this...
Why drink Dragonwell or Anji Bai?
If I couldn’t get good tea when I am travelling, I will just drink water. Why bother drinking bad tea? Have never figured that part out about others. They may pay pennies less per cup of vastly inferior tea. Yes, Pre-rain Qing Ming Dragonwell will be over $550 p/lb easily. That’s $5.50 a serving ( but makes 4 cups)for one of the most expensive teas in China only government officials...
If processing is relatively standard and the producers are expert, then what differentiates one tea from another will be varietal and terroir. Those two go hand in hand. Take Anji Baicha for example. It is a local varietal they call ‘White Tea ” or Baicha, and apparently, grows best in this local region. It has a characteristic fragrance that is instantly recognizable and not to be...
Anji Baicha, white or green?
Many people are confused over this question of what the word ‘bai’, or white, refers to as Anji tea is most definitely a kind of green tea; its processing involves ‘sha qing’, or killing green. Turned out that the original mother bush was yielding some silvery gold-hued buds and they called the bush ‘White Tea’, and the lesser varietals ‘Tu Cha’...
Hand firing Dragonwell, 100gs at a time
Number 43 is a bad number
For ultra tea nerds only: The original varietals of Longjing, Dragonwell, were just called ‘traditional small leaf guanmu’. Grown from seed, they grow in puffy clusters like the photo below. These varietals sprout a bit late and have fewer buds, and slower in regrowing new buds. However, it has much more complexity on the palate, and long lingering aftertaste with absolutely no...
More knife cut noodles!! We found out on our second visit that the brothers were muslims from a nomadic tribe to the far north western part of China in Gui Zhou. No wonder, as this type of handcrafting food is harder and harder to find, and most kids their age, like it is around the world, can’t be bothered with hard skilled hand labor!
Now that Qing Ming is over and the pre-rain harvest of White Down Silver Needle/ Baihao Yinzhen is also officially over, we are harvesting the White Peony white tea here at Fuding, Fujian, China. The weather was incredibly cooperative for photo taking today, with clear blue skies, a little breeze, and lots of mosquitoes out for blood just for me. The days leading up to Qing Ming, alas, were...
True white tea
Visiting with Mr. Lin, one of the producers of white tea in the Fuding area. As we had dinner right on the water in a fishing village, he commented on how just not too long ago, when he and his brothers were harvesting tea up in the hills behind us, his sister would cast a net right here, catch some fish, and walk them all the way up the mountain for her brothers. This beautiful new highway and...
Hand pulled noodles for lunch. Incredibly delicious noodles made on the spot to order in the dingiest of dives, ran by a couple of young guys whose handicraft with the noodles was expert, unassuming, and definitely family tradition. The knife cut noodles tasted even better than the hand pulled version. All for about 7 yuan each bowl, about $1 USD. I can eat 5 of these bowls at a time.
Fuding by express rail
Not quite as fast a bullet train but the trip from Xiamen to Fuding only took a total of 2 hours by the new express rail. It’s like going from L.A. to SF in that amount of time. If only the U.S. had spent money on the train system… Fuding is the home of white tea. Here is where people may stop me and argue that white tea is a process of airdrying some leaf buds and therefore, can be...
Back in HK
Balmy and rainy, with a little breeze and some drizzle, the perfect weather for Hong Kong. Arriving into customs at the HK airport, where the customs officials greet you impersonally but also with the most relaxed, casual manner, like how your teenage nephew might greet you. One never feels any threat or sense of authority imposing some unseen watchful eye on your every move. You could not...