Cha Hua Wild Tea Flowers Jing Mai Mountain, Yunnan Fall Harvest 2009
Cha Hua literally means “Tea Flower,” and these little flowers are exactly that: the flowers of Yunnan broad leaf Camellia Sinensis tea trees. Tea trees bloom mainly in the Fall before they go dormant for the Winter months, and these flowers were picked at their peak just before the flowers would have given way to seeds. They are simply picked and sun dried like white teas.
These particular Cha Hua were harvested in early September, 2009 on Jing Mai mountain in Xishuangbanna in the far south of Yunnan Province. Jing Mai refers to an area of approximately 1,650 acres, and some scholars say it has been used continuously for tea cultivation since around 700 AD. Many tea trees have been planted or grafted in this area over the years, and a good portion of these ancient trees are still commonly used for production of sought after “Wild Arbor” Pu-Erh teas.
This is an interesting brew. It is not tremendously floral-sweet in the way that flower scented teas (jasmine, osmanthus, rose, etc) can be. It is more subtle and earthy with a pollen/honey sweet finish. Even though these are just the flowers & do not contain the leaves of tea plants, this does not mean that they are caffeine free. The caffeine level is milder than a lot whole leaf teas, but if you are sensitive to caffeine these are unfortunately not for you. These flowers can be infused several times if steeped Gong-Fu style and are a welcome and warming infusion for winter or any season.