• HOME >
  • How to choose quality tea

As the season of the first plucking is over, I would like to share my review on 2017 teas from the South West of Yunnan, such as Lincang, Bao Shan, Jing Gu, Chang Ning and Da Li area.
Usually, the most critical factor that affects the quality of tea is weather. Since the day I came to Yunnan on 21st of March, I have been recording the weather and closely monitoring the tea quality accordingly.

  1. Early March〜31st March : Sunny and Cloudy
  2. 1st of April〜7th of April : Rain and Cloudy
  3. 8th of April〜14th of April:Sunny
  4. 14th of April〜 :Rain after Rain……..

The quality of Ming Qian(明前) tea is less attractive this year

Since the end of last year, it has been very dry weather in Yunnan. This unusual weather was not only taken place in Yunnan, but also happened in many other places in China and even Taiwan too.
Due to extremely little rain and continuous drought, the tea season delayed about 2-3 weeks. In normal year, starting from 25th of March, farmers in Lincang region start plucking tea. This year, we waited till April and we could hardly see the tea budding at the ideal garden. Those teas available before Qing Ming (清明) i.e., 4th of April, were collected from low elevation, very young tea tree or fertilized tea garden. Those teas from higher elevation, old tea tree and the naturally-farmed garden without fertilizer remained in very small bud; some trees were still dormant. As a result, tea plucked before April was not of good quality. Eventually we did not collect any tea before April, except Wild Tea that plucking season is always earlier than other tea.


Those young tea trees were available for plucking in early season.

The first week of April was raining

The rain started from 1st of April and continued for a whole week. The temperature dropped drastically and it was very cold. I had to wear the fleece jacket and run the heater when I stayed in the hotel room. Nevertheless, the rain at this timing was good news since tea trees had been suffered from drought for a long time. We assumed that it makes tea in excellent quality once the weather is sunny and temperature raise. The rain continued until 6th of April. From 7th of April, we noticed a lot of farmers effectively started tea plucking. We did not collect tea until the 9th of April. The reason is the quality of tea just after the rain is not ideal. Tea contains too high moisture and taste become thin and flavor is lighter. Those tea manufacturers who are very strict in quality will wait for two days after the rain to resume the tea plucking.

Only 30-50% of harvest

Unfortunately, the sunny weather only continues for a week. Despite people were so desperately waiting for the tea, the rain started again from 14th and continue. It was raining almost every day except certain places were sunny or cloudy on 23rd to 25th of April. Eventually raining continues until the end of April. Obviously farmers and tea manufacturers were panic due to extremely low output.
In Lincang, the production of tea is about 40-60% lower than regular year. In particular, teas from higher elevation, old tea tree and the naturally-farmed garden without fertilizer produce only 30-40% of output compared to regular year.
Due to extremely low output, the price of fresh tea leaf increases about 30-40%. For popular garden, the price increased 50% or even more.

The best quality in the past 10 years

Due to the prolonged drought, the tea trees took much longer time to grow. I noticed that the quality of tea produced in the particular one week of sunny weather was extraordinarily outstanding. Most of the skilled and experienced tea masters generally realized that teas produced in this golden one week was the best quality in a past decade or even two decades. However, the good quality teas were only produced in a short period, i.e., from 9th until 13th of April. Any teas produced earlier or later are not satisfactory due to too much rain and cloudy weather. We purchased all pu-erh teas right from the golden week except for the wild tea that are usually grown earlier.


As the weather in the latter half of April was unexpectedly bad, those well-processed teas produced in the particular golden week were extremely limited and were in high demand. They were sold out even before out from the manufacturing site in the rural village. In 2017, some people may comment that the quality is outstanding, yet some people may comment that the quality is not very good. It is all depending on the timing and the sourcing ability of each company.

Related Articles

How to get the latest update on HOJO Tea?

1. Follow Twitter, 2. Click "Like" on Facebook, and 3. Subscribe in newsletter. You can have the latest tea news from HOJO Tea.

Subscribe the Newsletter to enjoy the privileges
You may receive a free sample upon purchase, or you may have the priority to purchase special products. So please remember to subscribe our newsletter as well as the social network.
HOJO TEA Malaysia online Shop

HOJO TEA Online Shop NEWSlist

New Release of 2 Types of Darjeeling 1st Flush
We have released two types of Darjeeling 1st Flush Tea. The reason why the Darjeeling 1st Flush is greenish In Darjeeling tea, the 1st flush refers to the first-plucked spring tea. Usually, the Darjeeling 1st Flush tea is greenish. From the outlook, it looks like a green tea. Many people misunderstand that it is green …
Gushu Dian Hong, The Rare Yunnan Black Tea made from Ancient Tea Tree
The characteristic of Gushu Dian Hong is its intense aftertaste, and this is far better than ordinary black tea. Dian Hong means Yunnan Black Tea Yunnan black tea is called “Dian Hong” in Chinese. “Dian” means Yunnan, and “Hong” means black tea. Gushu means Ancient Tree in Chinese. After all, Gu Shu Dian Hong means …

NEW ARTICLES

New Release of 2 Types of Darjeeling 1st Flush
We have released two types of Darjeeling 1st Flush Tea. The reason why the Darjeeling 1st Flush is greenish In Darjeeling tea, the 1st flush refers to the first-plucked spring tea. Usually, the Darjeeling 1st Flush tea is greenish. From the outlook, it looks like a green tea. Many people misunderstand that it is green …
Gushu Dian Hong, The Rare Yunnan Black Tea made from Ancient Tea Tree
The characteristic of Gushu Dian Hong is its intense aftertaste, and this is far better than ordinary black tea. Dian Hong means Yunnan Black Tea Yunnan black tea is called “Dian Hong” in Chinese. “Dian” means Yunnan, and “Hong” means black tea. Gushu means Ancient Tree in Chinese. After all, Gu Shu Dian Hong means …
Limited Release of Single Tree Raw Pu-erh Tea from Pine Forest Ancient Tea Garden
We have released Pine Forest Single Tree Raw Pu-erh 2019. This tea was made from the fresh tea leaves collected from very old tea trees grown under the shade of the pine forest. The tea trees are more than 300 years old. It is a good chance for you to experience the distinctive characteristic of …
New Release of Wu Jia Zhai Raw Pu-erh Tea 2018 Loose
We have released Wu Jia Zhai Raw Pu-erh Tea. It is a Loose Tea (Mao-cha). This tea was made in 2018 and has been aged for nearly three years. Thanks to the aging, it has developed more distinctive flavour with sweet scent of sugar cane and dried fruits. Sustainable Tea Garden at high altitude of …
New Release of Tong Mu Shui Xian Black Tea
We have released very rare black tea, Tong Mu Shui Xian Black Tea. This tea is from Tong Mu Guan in Wuyishan, Fujian Province, China. The tea garden is located at 1000m above sea level, and the tea garden is totally sustainable, the tea trees are grown without pesticide and fertilizer. Tong Mu Shui Xian …
New Release of Da Xue Shan Wild White Tea 2020
We have launched Da Xue Shan Wild White Tea 2020, in loose tea. For Malaysia, we release the 200g cake version. This year, we have made major improvements in the raw material, producer, and production method, resulting in a very satisfying quality. However, the production volume is extremely small; it will likely to be sold …
Limited Release of Yunnan 10 Years Vintage Black Tea 2010
We release 10-year vintage Yunnan black tea. This tea was produced in 2010 and aged in Yunnan for 8 years in aerobic storage. We bought this year in 2018, and it has been aged in Japan and Malaysia for two years in anoxic storage condition. The production area is very near to the Myanmar border …
Da Xue Shan Wild Raw Pu-erh Tea 2020 was Released
We have launched 2020 wild puerh tea. This wild tea is from Da Xue Shan located in Lincang of Yunnan Province, China. We started to introduce Da Xue Shan Wild tea since 2010. But 2020 version was completely renewed. This year, we changed the source of tea, the producers and the production method too. Why …
High Mountain Purple Black Tea 2020 is Now Available
We have released High Mountain Purple Black Tea 2020. It was unexpectedly well-made this year. I am truly delighted by its outcome. About Purple Tea The High Mountain Purple tea is made from the specific type of tea, the locals called it “Zi Cha”, that means purple tea in English. It is a rare tea …
We have released the Flower of Ancient Tea Tree
We have released the Flower of Ancient Tea Tree. This is the fresh tea flowers hand-picked from old tea trees of ancient tea gardens. The tea garden is totally sustainable, with natural farming practice and no pesticide or fertilizer at all. The tea garden is located at altitude of 2000-2200m in the western part of …

PAGETOP