|Each year beginning in late March, China citizens eagerly await the start of the
spring green tea harvest. In those first early days of spring just after bud-break,
the newly emerging tea leaves are tender, delicate, and sweet, holding within
the buds more sugars and flavor compounds than at any other time of the year.
| In China these early springtime
teas are often called Qing Ming
or “before the rains” tea as the harvest usually
coincides with China’s Qing Ming spring festival,
celebrated about April 5. Teas picked after April
5, but before April 20 are called gu yu, and tea
picked from April 20 to May 6, called li xia.The window to pluck these coveted spring teas
is very short, only about ten to fourteen days.
After this time the tea bushes flush rapidly and
as the leaf grows larger, the tea quality dimin-
ish diminishes a little with each passing day.
Chinese spring green teas are lighter and
Japanese green teas, with much
| nals the plant to emerge from winter dormancy. Over winter the
roots have stored up glucose and other flavor compounds that they
now send to the buds to restart growth. The early spring green teas
also contain more antioxidants because the plants send out addition-
al polyphenols to protect the leaves from bugs.China’s green teas are only picked once in spring, but the season is
broken up into early, mid, and late spring. The spring green teas are
traditionally hand plucked with workers sorting through the fields
daily, sometimes even twice daily plucking fresh leaf.
They do what’s called a “fine plucking,” mean-
type of tea being processed
Next comes Bi Lo Chun or Spring Snail Shell, named for the tightly wound spirals resembling
floral and citrus flavors.Lung Ching or Dragonwell is China’s most famous green tea. Lung
With its long, slender leaves Taiping Houkui, or Taiping Best Monkey
Huangshan Mao Feng or Yellow Mountain Downy Tip also comes from
Anhui province. This
Gunpowder teas come from Zhejiang province, their name coming from
|pearl sized. It is often paired with mint or jasmine, and by itself is lightly sweet and herbal in flavor.
This is just a precious few of the hundreds of China green teas available. These are some of the most popular, but