Friday, January 16, 2009

Tea in Winter

A heavy frost will damage the crop.

But a light frost will improve the flavour of next spring's tea.

Tea flowers have opened and wilted already.

The view over a tiny tea field down into the valley. The frost melts quickly under the direct sun, while frost it the shade lasts until late in the day

When climbing in the hills, one cannot always stop to boil water, but holding a few tender buds in the mouth refreshes the spirit as well as weary feet. Frost covered buds were sweeter and more fragrant.


Herb Master said...

Interesting to see some Camellia Sinensis

I have some Camellia Japonica in my Garden and there should be a raft of flowers in a couple of weeks time.

What do the flowers of Sinensis look like.

Even more interesting to me would be to see some fruits, my Japonica never fruits.

toki said...

tempura the spring shoots and make them a crispy treats, always warm the heart : )

And where is this little plantation be? How high are you.... 2000m yet?

LaoChaGui said...

Herb Master,

There is a fruit in the second picture. They are small and round. and green. The flowers are white with lots of yellow stamens in the middle. There is an unopened flower in the third picture and some wilted ones. I think the flowers on the Assamica variety can get pretty big.

I will have to try that recipe. It sounds quite nice.

I don't think this little garden is more than a couple of hundred meters if that. There are tiny little fields all over the mountains here. It is in Wenzhou, Zhejiang province just north of Fujian on the seacoast. I don't think there are any mountains that high in this prefecture.

The variety is Wuniuzao (乌牛早) which is the local green tea. I think I forgot to say that in the post.

toki said...

Wenzhou is that cold? Very interesting. Hope you are heading to Xiping to see the original Oolong bush in the mountain, then to the biggest wholesale market for TGY down in the valley.... perhaps they are closed for the holidays : / How's Wuniuzao different then TGY? Safe Trip and Happy C New Year! T

LaoChaGui said...


Happy 牛 year to you too! (this is the pun on all the TV chanels:)

Wenzhou isn't really that cold. It's just about spring already here. 60*F days now. It gets cold in the mountains, especially where the sun doesn't reach. I took the pictures of frost on the leaves in the shade, and thought they were special. In the valleys there is no frost no matter how early you get up most years. I liked the frosty places mostly because it reminds me of a small vale in Vermont I knew when I was young. The sun never shone there, and there was a pool that stayed covered in ice all year even though 100 feet away it was hot.

I live in Wenzhou, and teach English at the local uni. So almost all my photos are of Wuniuzao. It's the local Wenzhou varietal used to make green tea. (not might-as-well-be-green-oolong like TGY) Its very similar in appearance to west lake dragonwell.

I have actually never been to Anxi, but hope to go. Who knows when, but now may not be the best time to go. I will probably hole up here at least until new years is over.

If you are interested I will post pictures of the new tea, which should be out in a month. (I will probably post pics even if no one is interested :)