There is nothing more exciting for tea drinkers than the first of a season’s new harvest tea. In China, this would be a Pre-Qing Ming or Yu Qian tea, whereas in India’s famous Himalaya tea-growing region of Darjeeling it is the 1st and 2nd Flush harvests that are most highly revered. Throughout the traditional tea-growing region of the world, unique seasonal specialties are produced in limited supply during the fleeting time of each season.
These teas are highly sought-after as tea from each season is only made once each year.
Spring teas are made from the emerging tea buds and leaves of tea bushes awakening from winter dormancy. The time for plucking small, tender leaves is fleeting and the opportunity for manufacturing spring teas ends almost as quickly as it began. Anticipation for the arrival of new teas in the local markets is high. As the spring season gets underway in different regions of the major tea producing countries, new types of green, white and black teas come to market as soon as their time of the season arrives.
In a sense, these early spring teas are made from baby tea leaves that are delicious, ‘just born’ expressions of the flavor of the tea. As such, these teas are vigorous and bursting with flavor and contain a large amount of beneficial plant nutrient. In just a few weeks time, the leaves on the tea bushes will grow too large to be baby tea leaves any longer this year. The leaves will grow and produce mid-spring teas
( teenagers ! ) and by summer the full-sized leaves will produce milder green teas
( adults ).
Premium teas are only made for a short time in the spring, or the fall, or the winter depending on the type of tea. Many premium-grade teas that Tea Trekker purchases are only made once a year in the spring. Production occurs during a period of a few short weeks and these teas will not be made again until the same time in the following year.
Good examples of this are our early spring Chinese pre-Qing Ming and Yu Qian green teas from China and 1st & 2nd flush Darjeeling black teas from India. Some premium teas, such as Chinese oolongs, black teas and Pu-erh; Taiwan oolongs and our Nepal black teas have both a spring harvest and a fall harvest.
In each season weather affects delicacy, sweetness and astringency.
From early spring through to early winter, forces of nature, combined with effects of geography and terroir, have a direct influence on the flavor, aroma and appearance of tea. Knowing what season a tea was plucked in reveals important information about what to expect in the flavor and aroma of that tea.
Until tomorrow: Your own safety is at stake when your neighbor’s wall is ablaze.