Amongst China’s tea growing provinces Guizhou is usually overlooked. However we have found a tea that quite rightly puts Guizhou back on the tea map. From Du Yun, in the southern part of the province, we source a wonderful tea known as Du Yun Mao Jian. The tea has a beautifully fuzzy down upon its surface that brightens the verdant green of the curled leaves beneath. The tea’s infusion produces a delightful display of playful, spiralling leaves suggestive of the tea’s deliciously soft texture and vibrant grassy notes. In this blog we’d like to share with you our knowledge of where and how the exquisite Du Yun Mao Jian is produced.
The brilliance of this tea is reflected in the stunning landscape that makes Guizhou one of China’s most scenic provinces. Travelling around this area you become awestruck by the mountains, precipitous gorges, undulating hills and the great rivers. The area captures the hearts and minds of all those who visit.
The quality of the tea is determined by the lush surroundings and the subtropical climate that feeds the developing tea buds and instills the tea with fresh aromas and flavour. The local farmers are the first to boast that the region is perfect for tea growing as it does not suffer from heavy summers and it is not prone to harsh frosts. Beneath this verdant scene lies a thick soil wonderfully rich in phosphates and nutrients.
Surrounded by this beauty and throughout Du Yun Mao Jian’s long history, producers have honed their tea making skills and refined their art to the point of perfection. This year’s harvest took place between 12th and 17th April. The part of the plant picked is very important to us as it affects the taste and quality of the tea.
Hands, as always, are the best and only tools used to pick tea because the quality can be carefully controlled. To give you an idea of the precision and scrutiny used to harvest tea, the form and shape of the tealeaf bud should resemble a melon pip and that the leaf diameter and length is carefully monitored.
Capturing the taste and texture of the leaves forms the first stage in creating Du Yun Mao Jian Tea. To do this, the leaves are fried in a large wok or pan at 120 degrees. This process is important for green teas so that the tea leaves don’t wither or brown. The wok’s temperature is turned down and the next stage is kneading.
Kneading is the longest stage of the process and adds to the tea’s unique deep flavour. The process involves pushing and rolling the leaves into strips. It is not really “kneading” as we know it! There is a very particular technique to kneading tea, which can take years to master.
The most important stage is called “lifting the hairs.” As it suggests, it involves the teasing up of the natural fibres on the leaf surface. As the leaves gradually lose their moisture content the leaves become more delicate and are handled with greater care.
At JING we have found that infusing our Du Yun Mao Jian with 70°C water and leaving it to infuse for three to four minutes produces the best results. Everybody’s tea tastes are different though, so try and experiment to see how you like it. There is no better way to appreciate the beautiful unfurling of the leaves, the gradual changes in colour and the quality of the infusion than in our unique One Cup Tea Pot, Gong Fu Tea Pot or as little colourful gems in our small, chic Glass Cups.