It’s been a tricky spring for tea and in a month that’s seen Yiwu farmers fighting (literally) over access/rights to pick tea from a cluster of trees that are on common land and one in which prices of tea went back up to their 1997 levels – particularly Lao Ban Zhang – with the ensuing frenzy as farmers bring in tea from other areas to sell on as their own, we’ve come out of it with some good tea.
We’ve made our first cakes of this years ‘Bulang Zhi Dian’ and will be getting more tea pressed after the weekend. It will be available online soon.
There are plenty of people who will tell you that new sheng is undrinkable: course, rough, bitter, astringent… Allowing a bit of latteral (‘Horses for courses’) , those of such persuasion have likely not had the opportunity to taste a good young tea because, whilst it can be all those things, it doesn’t have to be. Taking some care over which tea one selects; where it comes from, what kind of trees, how it’s picked, how it’s made, how it’s steamed, it is certainly possible to produce tea which is pleasant to drink now.
Waiting several years will bring about changes that will enhance the natural qualities of the tea if stored well, but to wait that long in the hope that the undrinkable tea you bought will become a good tipple is a ‘rags to riches’ scheme that is far from certain.