Hand Picked Early Spring Tieguanyin (2013)
On our spring trip to China, we were lucky enough to meet Master Zhang, a native of Anxi and lifetime Tieguanyin farmer. In mid-April, the very earliest harvests were just being finished. We sat in Master Zhang’s family home and drank this tea just three days after he finished it. The early spring Tieguanyin from Master Zhang’s 1000+ meter terraced mountain tea fields in Daping, Anxi has a fresh vibrant quality unlike any Tieguanyin we have tried before.
While most Tieguanyin is simply floral, this spring harvest tastes almost wild, with complex notes of pine, sweetgrass, mineral, and a crisp apple texture. The body of this tea is as creamy as can be, full and thick with vanilla notes. The creamy body lingers on the palate in the aftertaste like saffron.
The floral elements of this Tieguanyin are bright and sunny like daffodil and marigold. They seem to blossom on the palate, leaving behind caramel sweetness. Sipping this tea is uniquely refreshing and quenching, a masterful embodiment of this unique, early spring harvest, picked a full three weeks before the majority of the crop.
Master Zhang’s tea fields stretch across the side of a mountain that is almost always covered in mist. It is so high up that the day we visited, it was actually in a cloud. The spring water feeding the tea is pristine, crystal clear and sweet as sugar. We picked leaves right off of Mr. Zhang’s tea plants and ate them fresh, revealing the sweet, pure chlorophyl-packed nature of his tea. Master Zhang and all the farmers in his hillside in Daping are committed to fully organic farming techniques. The fresh flavor of the tea shows off their hard work.