Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Spring is (almost) there

This has been a cold and grey winter in Northern Taiwan. Temperatures were cooler than usual. However, this Sunday, the weather turned sunny and warm. I felt eager to make a short trip to San Hsia to see the progress of the spring green tea harvests. Sometimes, they start as early as end of February. This year, they are just about to happen.
This farmer was harvesting his bushes alone. His wife didn't have time to help him that day. He was working at a steady pace, apparently undisturbed by the fact he wouldn't be able to finish harvesting the field today. He has probably learned that it's not worth to rush. Better have fewer leaves than doing a sloppy work.

Time is quality.

"This year is too cold. The buds are not coming out." he told me. "The harvest will be smaller in volume". Another farmer told me to come back in 2 to 3 weeks to make my selection.



On the positive side, the weather is reasonably dry. Let's hope it stays like for some time.

In Central Taiwan, it's warmer, so that low altitude Oolongs are already starting to appear.

It has been a long a cold winter, but spring is about to arrive. These healthy green tea buds promise new discoveries and life!

In the meantime, to warm my body, I drink a lot of different Hung Shui Oolongs these days. I find it amazing how the masterful, slow, charcoal roasting helps to refine the tea and keep its freshness. Good tea doesn't need to be rushed!

Let's be patient.

2 comments:

John-Paul said...

Stephane,

Interesting post, and great pictures. I wonder if and how the cooler temperatures and lower yields will affect the quality of the tea leaf? Also, how will this affect price? I assume lower yields will only drive the cost upwards.

Also, what variety (or cultivar) is being harvested in the pictures you posted?

Thanks
JP

Stephane said...

JP,
There are many more variables for quality (weather on the day of the harvest, for instance), so we'll find out when the tea is done.

Price should definitely rise this year.

The cultivar is qingxin ganzhong and the tea that will be made with it is Bi Luo Chun.