Nǐ hǎo, dear tea friends
After more than a year now another travelog from Teamania. This time from Fenghuang, home of Dan Cong Oolong (also known as Phoenix Oolong or single bush tea).
Since I still do not speak Chinese I was glad that Huang, the daughter of the tea master, picked me up at the airport and also organized everything else. From the airport we went first to their home in Chouzhou city where I was immediately supplied with tea. Afterwards I wanted to recover from the long journey in the hotel but the tea master had other plans. He wanted make oolong this night. So after a short shower we went straight to the small village Tie Pu in Fenghuang.
In Fenghuang, the harvest season already started and tea pickers are busy all around the town. Currently, Xin Ren Xiang (almond scent) and Xiong Di (brothers) are ready to pick. This cultivars are obvious early budders. Other cultivars, such as Ya Shi Xiang (duck shit) or Ba Xian (eight immortals), will be ready later. This is a huge advantage in the hectic harvest season.
I also try to pick some tea leaves. It’s not so easy to choose the right branches. It works best when I check the softness of the stems with thumb and forefinger an then pick the leaves. But, that way it takes much more time compared to an experienced tea pickers.
The harvested tea leaves are immediately spread out on the roof top so that they wither in the sun. It’s very important is the harvested tea leaves are dry and free of dew or even rain. Otherwise, the quality of the produced tea will be inferior.
As one can easily see in the photo the sky threatens with dark black clouds. A little later, the worst case occurs: rain! In all hatred, the tea leaves are collected and brought to safety. The harvest of a whole day is at stake!
While the tea master prepares everything for the night shift, I use the time to photograph the neighborhood.
More about my tea trip in Part Two: Teamania in Fenghuang – Production of Dan Cong.