This year, tea drinkers got a double dose of holiday tea time delight with both Qing Ming and Easter occurring on the same date. I’m sure that tea indulgence was high. And now that it’s over you may need a tea time that is sort of a recovery from all that celebrating.
Qing Ming is basically a time to honor your ancestors, and Easter is a time to celebrate renewal of life. So having them both occur this year on the same date seems a bit, well, coordinated or something – a cosmic alignment, maybe. Qing Ming is also an important date for tea where there are pre-Qing Ming teas and post-Qing Ming teas. The ones harvested before Qing Ming are often considered the best, having smaller buds and leaves which means their flavors are more vibrant, and can cost as much as four times the later harvest teas. Later harvests tend to have larger tea leaves, but not necessarily huge since it depends on the tea plant varietal or cultivar). The earlier teas are less likely to have any bitterness in the flavor.
Probably the best known pre-Qing Ming tea is Longjing. A price of $57,000 kilo (about 35.27 ounces or 2.4 pounds) was achieved in March 2012 and at that time exceeded the price of gold. The West Lake Longjing is particularly nice and one that we are quite fond of here. Only the very tender first Spring shoots are used, giving the flavor a subtlety and higher-quality finish than later (post-Qing Ming) versions.
We have Longjing (Dragonwell) 2015 Spring High Mountain Wild-grown Imperial Handmade Green Tea (EU Standard) available now. It is made from only those first shoots which are plucked only once a year in early Spring. The tea has a fresh aroma like chestnuts and also lightly orchid with a flavor that was super fresh, thick, and had a long-lasting sweetness and high floral aroma.
Biluochun from Gizhou province, China, is one of the ten most famous teas in China. Only the tender leaf tips are used, and processing them requires great skill and dedication, since it’s a labor intensive process. When done, the leaves are compact, tender, fresh, and aromatic, infusing a yellow-green liquid with a strong, fresh smell and taste. Since this is a pre-Qing Ming festival tea and is picked earlier than cheaper green teas, the flavor is more subtle and balanced. A favorite of green tea lovers.
We offer Bi Luo Chun (Green Snail) 2015 Spring Dong Ting West Mt Authentic Handmade Premium Green Tea on our site made from all pre-Qing Ming harvest leaves. The aroma is fresh, floral and fruity with a flavor that is also fresh with a long-lasting sweetness and high fruity quality.
Both teas are good with a variety of foods, but after all the feasting you probably did for that double holiday, you probably just want to sip some by itself. Sounds like a great idea!