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Hello Spring Tea 2019 早春茶

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realmayo
1 hour ago, abcdefg said:

Xiongda Tea City 雄达茶城

 

Nice to see this place again! Currently waiting for some green tea to arrive in the post, would much prefer to be able to rock up to a shop in person.

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abcdefg
11 hours ago, backwards said:

The place looks really nice!

 

It is. Parts of it were built in traditional style with arches, pagoda tile roofs and ceremonial guardian stone lions. The interior parts of the complex are currently dotted with bright flowering trees since it is that time of year. Everything is in bloom here in Kunming. 

 

263440394_IMG_20190326_153325-770px.thumb.jpg.dcf179140f9656f4d0ae3bf18d7316c6.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Most or maybe all of the vendors sell Pu'er tea in its various forms, usually round compressed cakes. It's a Yunnan specialty and they can flog it all year long. Some stores specialize in the produce of just one or another of Yunnan's famous tea growing regions, of which four are generally accepted: Baoshan 宝山 and Lincang 临沧  in the west of the province,  Simao 思茅 in the middle and 'Bana 西双版内 in the south. 

 

Kunming has become a major Chinese tea hub and buyers from all over the world come here to sample the wares and make volume purchases. This means that several decent businessman-type hotels exist right in among the tea shops and one street has a dozen or so good restaurants and food stalls. One or two feature "fine dining" where a seller can put on the dog for a prospective large buyer, but most are small simple places to get a quick inexpensive meal.   

 

 

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Bibu

every big town has its tea town, but Hong Kong... Thanks @abcdefg give me a lot nice memories.. 

 

碧螺春, 毛峰, 银针, 龙井, 大红袍 used  to be the tea of a specific  place, until 10 years ago, I was on a visit to the tea field in Hubei, the kiosk at street told me he offers all kinds or renown teas such as 碧螺春, 龙井, whichI supposed  should be  from Suzhou and Hangzhou.

 

I have been to those  tea field long time ago and know it is very limited product, even the locals should LOOK FOR it, how can someone on the street in a small town in Hubei has 碧螺春and 龙井 etc....what do you say??

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abcdefg

Thanks for your comments @Bibu

 

22 hours ago, Bibu said:

I have been to those  tea field long time ago and know it is very limited product, even the locals should LOOK FOR it, how can someone on the street in a small town in Hubei has 碧螺春and 龙井 etc....what do you say??

 

Several years ago I traveled with some tea friends, professionals who were in the tea business full time, to visit a large experimental tea farm on the outskirts of Menghai 勐海县城, in south Yunnan's Xishuangbanna Autonomous Prefecture 西双版内。It was operated by a team of professors and students from Kunming's Agricultural University and consisted of several large plots of land, each one planted with a slightly different cultivar of the Camellia Sinensis tea shrub. Nearby they had their own processing facilities, small "tea factories" if you will. 

 

One of my friends explained that they were trying to reproduce other famous Chinese teas here in this spot where growing conditions were so favorable. They chose famous teas with similar environmental needs: hours of sunlight per day, degrees of temperature swing between the daily low and high, amount of rainfall, average humidity and such.

 

One plot was for tea that would be processed like Longjing 龙井,another like Silver Needle 白毫银针,  another like the long leaves of Taiping Houkui 太平猴魁 and so on. They told me the experiment had produced uneven results: some famous teas could be duplicated here, while others could not. 

 

One of the local success stories was Yunnan Biluochun 碧螺春 ("green snail of spring". This colorful name supposedly was conferred by the Kangxi Emperor 康熙皇帝。) They were trying to copy the famous 碧螺春 of Dongting 洞庭 in Jiangsu, which is one of China's most loved teas. They found they could copy the middle grades well, but the very topmost grades of 洞庭碧螺春 were distinctive and the originals were better than the copies. 

 

They found that Yunnan Longjing 龙井 was nowhere near as good as the original from the West Lake area of Hangzhou in Zhejiang 西湖,杭州,浙江。But Longjing has been successfully reproduced in parts of Sichuan. It is still very difficult, maybe impossible, to capture the complex after-taste of topnotch real Longjing, especially that which is picked and processed before Qingming Festival 清明节。This 明前西湖龙井 tea has no equal. 

 

Another of Yunnan's success stories in copying famous tea from other parts of China has been Huangshan Maofeng 黄山毛峰, a delicate green tea originally from the vicinity of Yellow Mountain in Anhui Province 安徽省。It comes out light and eminently drinkable. 

 

I routinely buy Yunnan's Biluochun 碧螺春 and Yunnan's Maofeng 毛峰。I think the middle grades of these compare well to the originals which inspired them, and at a fraction of the price. I've been to the places where the originals of these teas are grown and drunk them near the source. For my palate, these Yunnan copies work very well. Someone else with more refined tastes might not agree. 

 

I suppose, theoretically, one could be upset by this practice. Is it like turning out a fake Gucci handbag or a fake Rolex watch? Maybe. I asked my friends on the trip that question. The lady in charge explained that another way to view it was that this more fully utilized the land in that poor part of Yunnan and improved the economic conditions of the farmers who live there. Every coin has two sides. 

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Balthazar

Delightful read as always, @abcdefg.

 

It's been a while since I've had a green tea from Yunnan. Most of the green tea I consume these days is from Japan (save for some surprisingly decent stuff from Jiangsu that we were recently gifted, which I cold-brew grandpa style in a large pitcher  at work).

 

Your post inspired me to place an order, although I went with a high mountain green from Huilong village, Lianghe county. Looking forward to its arrival!

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abcdefg
3 hours ago, Balthazar said:

...although I went with a high mountain green from Huilong village, Lianghe county.

 

Is this 回笼 village in Sichuan or 会龙 village in Anhui? Yunnan has a 梁河县 but I'm not familiar with its tea. Be interested in your evaluation after you've received it. 

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Balthazar

It's 回笼 village in Yunnan. Baidu has some info.

 

I bought mine from Chawangshop, a shop I can warmly recommend for those of us shopping from abroad, as they have a focused selection (less overwhelming than Yunnan Sourcing) and a very good price/quality ratio. Located in Kunming too.

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abcdefg

@Balthazar -- Thank you so much for expanding my tea horizons. That looks like wonderful tea. I will do my best to hunt some down and try it. 

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Balthazar

My pleasure. If do you do end up getting some, let me know what you think. I'll make sure to do the same once my order arrives.

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realmayo
On 3/31/2019 at 8:54 AM, Balthazar said:

Most of the green tea I consume these days is from Japan

 

If you don't mind me asking, which did you start with first, Chinese or Japanese?

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Balthazar

Chinese. As with so many other Westerners, my first foray into "real tea" was longjing. The main reason for why I generally prefer Japanese greens over Chinese these days is that over reliance on chemical fertilizers is less of an issue and that I generally find them to give a better bang for the buck (important caveat: this only applies when shopping from overseas).

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Luxi

My first direct order from Yunnan (I ordered from Yunnan Sourcing) was delivered today. After trying the 2019 First Flush "Mao Feng", I am in tea Heaven 😻

 

毛峰 is a broad leaf + buds green tea, it comes unrolled, still a lively green, perfectly fresh, crisp and clean - just looking at it refreshes you, and the slightly earthy scent transports you 'South of the clouds'.

 

I'm no tea expert and never tried a new Spring tea before, but this tea made me an instant addict. Brewed in small quantities with a very short brewing time it produces a luminous light lemony green liquor. It is silky smooth, sweet (I can't detect even a trace of bitterness), light and with the flavour of fresh Spring flowers that lingers on...and then comes back to delight you long after, wow!....Thank you @abcdefg and everyone else who posted for the inspiration.

 

Delivery by Express mail to Wales only took 10 days from ordering (transit time was only 1 week), the prices were much lower than I ever imagined and the tea was perfectly and lovingly packed, not one leaf damaged.

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abcdefg

@Luxi -- That sounds absolutely delicious! So glad that it worked out well for you! 

 

16 hours ago, Luxi said:

I'm no tea expert and never tried a new Spring tea before, but this tea made me an instant addict.

 

I'm also a strong believer in sampling this early spring tea (picked before Qingming Holiday = 明前。)  Hard to imagine how fresh it can be until you've had a chance to try it real time. And it sounds like you got a very good batch at a very good price. (Thanks for the link to the listing.)

 

Here's a writeup of some similar maofeng 毛峰 tea I had a couple years ago. (I really like brewing these light delicate teas in the glass where you can watch the leaves open up -- aesthetics aside, being able to see the process helps let you know when it has brewed long enough.)

 

https://www.chinese-forums.com/forums/topic/51305-springtime-in-a-glass-yunnan-maofeng-tea-云南毛峰茶/ 

 

And this thread below discusses last year's spring tea (2018.) The tea sellers have all told me that the taste characteristics of this year's spring tea are better than last year's because the winter which just ended was not terribly cold and not much rain fell. 

 

https://www.chinese-forums.com/forums/topic/56223-now-is-the-time-for-early-spring-tea-早春茶/

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