An Ji Bai Cha - Spring 2012
Harvest: Spring, 2012 (Ming Qian/Pre-Qing Ming)
Cultivar: Bai Ye Yi Hao
Growing Region: Anji County, Huzhou Prefecture, Zhejiang Province
Altitude : 2,790+/- Ft (850+/- M)
An Ji Bai Cha (English: An Ji White Tea) is a historically significant tea from Anji County in Northwest Zhejiang Province (Anji County Google Map). The new growth leaves and buds of the Bai Ye Yi Hao/White Leaf Number One cultivar used to produce this tea are a very light green (said to be very similar to the color of white jade) in the early spring before the weather starts to warm up, so it is referred to as “Bai Cha” even though it is processed into a green tea.
An Ji Bai Cha has a history dating back to at least 1107, when it was mentioned by the Song Dynasty Emperor Huizong as his favorite tea in his “Da Guan Cha Lun” or “Treatise on the Magnificent Spectacle of Tea,” but this white tea varietal was somehow lost in all the many societal upheavals that China went through over the centuries and became a legend. Fast forward to the early 1980’s: a “white” tea plant was discovered in An Ji County, and it was decided that it had to be a descendant of the Song Dynasty “White” tea varietal. Over the next several years, clones of this newly rediscovered “mother” bush were made from cuttings, and An Ji Bai Cha was reborn.
Appearance, Flavor & Aroma:
This An Ji Bai Cha is a beautiful specimen, plucked to a one bud to two or three leaf standard and rolled into a needle-like shape. When the leaves are wet, the “white jade” color is apparent on the smaller leaf sets, and the leaves show beautiful, darker green veins.
The aroma of the dry leaf is sweet like fresh-cut grass with hints of something like a freshly baked cake and a touch of something floral. When steeped, this tea produces a beautiful, crystal clear, pale “white jade” colored liquor with a smooth, sweet aroma of young green vegetables. The flavor is super fresh, delicately floral and a bit honey-sweet with a very clean & refreshing finish. The aftertaste builds over a few cups and is impressively sweet & long-lasting.