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Producing tea from the White Tea Bush 2017

[2017.04.16] Posted By

This year we are planning to produce Bai Shu Raw Pu-erh tea and Bai Shu Black Tea again. If we could manage to produce sufficient quantity of Bai Shu Raw Pu-erh tea, we plan to release the loose tea (mao-cha) on a pre-booking basis. We will then compress the remaining quantity into cake.
In Chinese, Bai Shu means White Bush. We refer Bai Shu as the tea tree grown naturally under the strong sunshine. The trunk of tea tree turns white due to the limited supply of nitrogen from the environment.

https://hojotea.com/en/posts-138/

It looks like wild bush. Actually it is a naturally-farmed tea garden. As all plants co-exist, tea tree is one of nature plants and not the main player.

We visited the tea garden and confirmed the condition

In making Bai Shu tea, it is essential to find the tea garden or tea mountain which turning wild in nature. In recent year, a number of naturally-farmed tea garden is fertilized and the environment is changing. We are very concerned whether or not the natural environment remains the same as last year. So we went up to the mountain to confirm the condition of the tea garden. The tea garden is located in the west of Lincang and the altitude is around 2000m.

It looks like a dying tree

After checking the condition of the tea garden, I am very relieved. I observed that the tea garden remained natural and healthy. In fact, the tea garden is very messy and there are a lot of weeds. Tea trees are surrounded by many other plants. Some people may think that tea is dying because some branches are really dead. Perhaps if Japanese tea experts look at this situation, they may strongly recommend the use of fertilizers to “salvage” the tea trees.

Throughout my experiments, I came to aware that tea tree is controlling the number of branches and tea leaves according to the nitrogen intake. We often observe the same phenomenon in Japanese tea garden. Some branches of tea tree start dying when fertilizer is not sufficient. In the ecological environment, the tea tree is depending nitrogen on the surrounding ecology. Hence, tea may let dry some branches if less nitrogen is available, but it is nothing but the natural adjustment.

Fresh tealeaf reveals a lot of information

I believe many tea lovers have ever visited some tea gardens. If so, you may have experience of chewing the fresh tea leaf too. What was the taste of the fresh young tea leaf? Usually, at first it gives an astringent and bitter taste, and then followed by the fresh floral scent. In fact, this is the typical taste of tea grown in the fertilized tea garden. If we eat the fresh tea leaf of Bai Shu tea tree, it gives no astringency and no bitterness, and very intense floral scent that linger on our palate for a long time. It reminiscent the wild herbs we plucked in spring. The taste is clear, transparent and the aftertaste is very strong and long-lasting. The difference between fertilized tea and Bai Shu tea is like the different of farmed mushroom and wild mushroom.

The common tea garden in Yunnan

The following photos show tea garden in Yunnan. They use no chemical fertilizer but organic fertilizer is commonly used. The branches are very long, dark brown, and tea leaves in dark green.

Tea plucking will start this week

Last year tea was sold out very quickly as we could not produce sufficient quantity. Since the weather seems very good in up-coming few days, I am hoping to speed up the collection of fresh leaves and we can produce as much tea as we are wishing.

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