2020 Charcoal Roasted Semi Wild Buddha's Hand
I am excited to release the 2020 vintage year of the our Charcoal-roasted Buddha’s Hand. This heritage oolong is part of our collaboration with our friend Mei, to seek the indigenous and forgotten Shuixian and Buddha’s Hand teas in the jungles of Yongchun, Fujian.
Mei is a native of Yongchun County with deep roots and passion for the history and traditional crafts of the town and the people. In 2017, while on a walk at the local Yinshi Mountain, she encountered a small grove of wild and forgotten Shuixian and Buddha’s Hand tea trees. The vitality and tenacity of the old tea trees touched her so deeply that she spent the next few months trekking in the jungles of the local mountains, seeking out indigenous and heritage Shuixian and Buddha’s Hand tea trees.
Buddha’s Hand tea originated from Yongchun County of southern Fujian. Its origin was traced to an ancient temple on Shifeng Cliff, Yongchun. Fingered citron (also called Buddha’s Hand), a fruit with a refreshing lemon scent, is a common offering in temples. Monks at the temple drank tea daily to meditate. Soon after the temple was built in the late 1600’s, monks planted fingered citron trees to worship Buddha; they also planted tea trees for making tea for themselves. One day, a monk had a thought that it would be nice to have a tea with citrus scent. He grafted branches of a tea tree onto the fingered citron tree, carefully cared for it and successfully made a tea with leaves as big as Buddha’s hands, with a natural scent of the fingered citron. This was the first Buddha’s Hand varietal tea tree. There are still 89 mother Buddha’s Hand tea trees that are more than 300 years old surrounding the temple to this day.
This 2020 Charcoal Roasted Buddha’s Hand is foraged from old groves of tea trees on Yinshi Mountain, one of the highest peaks in Yongchun. The tea trees were planted in the 1940’s, and were only discovered a few years ago. Because of the very high altitude and remoteness of its location, these tea trees have been left to grow in the wild, with no human intervention. Very young tender leaves were harvested on the second day of the season. These tender leaves produces tea that is exceptionally sweet and milky.
The fresh leaves are foraged by a small group of nine local villagers, and handcrafted by Mr. Liu, who is one of the most earnest and dedicated tea makers that we’ve met. The tea is slow roasted over charcoal for four rounds, each roasting accentuating the sweetness and complexity of the tea.
I think of this oolong as a metaphor for the early spring. It has depth, complexity and smokey notes, accompanied by a lightness, floral and a hint of creaminess in the aftertaste. Just like the current season - our bodies are transitioning from the cold of the winter, while in nature, flowers and tress have already started blossoming.
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The key to brewing this tea is to use boiling water, and very fast infusions, starting at 10 seconds.
|Steep time||10 - 60 sec|
|No. of infusions||10+