h1

The Yellow Mountain & its Huang Shan Mao Feng

April 4, 2009

Another step ahead! I’ve decided to go to Huang Shan region to rediscover the famous “Huang Shan Mao Feng” green tea as well as the Qi Men (Keemun) black tea. These well-known teas are growing in An Hui province so it means I’ll just have to travel 15 hours by train to get there, unlike the two times 21 hours it took me from Shi Men to Hangzhou. This will give me an opportunity to see a different way of processing tea as although “Huang Shan Mao Feng” is manually picked, some other means of processing are used to mildly roast and dry the tea. “Huang Shan Mao Feng” tea is famous for its slander, tender and even tealeaves which are covered with tiny white hair. After the tea is brewed the colour of the infusion is very limpid and its fragance mellow.

The time spent in this region gave me some time to learn more about tea and its culture. People are very patient and each step of tea making, brewing and drinking is thought and explained thoroughly.

I noticed however that Chinese people are according little value to the tea health benefits (or talk little about it) although tea was first used 5’000 years ago for its curative values. It’s become part of every day life so it’s become normal to drink tea on a daily basis. In chinese culture it’s said that “everything that can be eaten can be used as a medicine!” According to ancient texts, it was during the process of delving into detoxification and digestive functions of tea that people began to learn about teas thirst quenching and refreshing effects.

But the first key element to Chinese tea art is “distinguishing tea” – this means one should distinguish the difference between good tea and poor-quality tea. High-quality tea should not only be collected at the right time but also be processed with the proper methods. Since the Song dynasty, China has been very strict with the timing of tea collection. Generally speaking, the week before and after the Qing Ming Festival (4th of April this year) is the best period to pluck the tea. The time of plucking is also crutial! If it’s been too sunny or the collecting basket has been left in the sun, the tea leaves don’t have sufficient moisture and the essence will be lost. If it’s been raining, the quality of tea will also have been influenced – in fact, tea is never picked during rainy days. Therefore, it’s best to pluck the tea early in the morning so that tea leaves stil have a little dew on them.

Furthermore, plucking the tea should be made with the nails but not with fingers because the tealeaves might be affected by the temperature of the hands. The tenderer the buds are, the better the quality will be. Tea processing skills is the most important point in making high-quality tea.

Well, that was a small introduction about my tea experience but I hope I’ll have more to tell upon my return from Huang Shan.

Version Francaise

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: