Buddha's Hand High Mountain
When appreciating tea from the Southern Fujian Province there is a small, lesser known region, bordering Anxi in the South and Dehua in the North, called Yongchun that we must pause our attention on. Yongchun has a surprising number of old grove tea trees that are now more than 60 years old.
This oolong comes from Sukeng, a mountain right in the center of Yongchun, one of the core producing areas of Yongchun Buddha’s Hand. It grows in a tea garden at 3000 ft elevation, presided over by Master Ke and his family. The tea garden is deep in the forest, at the end of a winding, narrow road that runs into the mountain forest from Mr. Ke’s farmhouse. The tea trees are scattered on the mountain with wild orchids, ferns and mosses.
Our friend Mei, who has dedicated the last decade to finding old growth trees and sustainably producing tea in the Southern Fujian region, normally avoids trips to Sukeng – it is a popular place, where most of the bigger oolong productions are operated. In 2019 she ended up visiting Master Ke’s farm by chance, and was very touched by the Ke family’s care of these tea trees. The attention and respect they pay to the process of harvesting tea is rare to find, especially in this region.
Master Ke has been making tea his entire life. He learned how to make tea from his father and has taught his son how to do the same. Three generations of his grandparents were also tea farmers and craftsmen. Master Ke manages his tea garden biodynamically. The only fertilizer he uses for the tea trees are traditional fertilizers for tea farms: layers of vegetation, soil and sheep manure.
This Buddha’s Hand is traditionally crafted and lightly roasted over charcoal to bring out its inherent floral notes. The leaves are vibrant green, with red-singed edges from oxidation and thin, red veins articulating their spines. Once wet, they strike us with an incredible lemon-yogurt-saline-jasmine smell.
The tea liquor is weighted and buttery – a density that is balanced by the pithy, floral citrus notes inherent to the Buddha’s Hand varietal. We found that its brightness and astringency increases across infusions.
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|Steep time||10 - 60 sec|
|No. of infusions||10+