High Mountain Green 2024



March 28, 2024

Hualong Village, Heibaoshan, E'Mei, Sichuan

There is a mythical mountain in Sichuan province. For many people, it is a household name that, when spoken, evokes an air of the otherworldly. This place is called E’Mei 峨眉.

There are four sacred buddhist mountains in China, E’Mei being one of them, and the highest peak. It is home to more than seventy ancient temples and is regarded by Buddhists as the place of enlightenment. Many people will know it for the well established community of monkeys that reside amongst the temples and engage with visitors of the mountain.

Tea cultivation on E’Mei dates back to the Tang Dynasty, when fresh teas from its peak were delivered to the imperial palace as Tribute Teas to the Emperor. Our High Mountain Green comes from Heibao Mountain, near Haulong Village at upwards of 3200 ft above sea level. This area, central to E’Mei, is the primary area for producing tea on this mountain – almost all the tea gardens here consist of old tea trees, planted generations ago.

The soil in Heibao is formed from porous volcanic ash, providing ideal minerals and drainage for tea trees. The elevation means that Haulong Village and the surrounding area is nearly always covered in rain or fog. It is a place that, while feeling quite unchanged, has some enchanting adaptations. 20 years ago many fruit trees were planted in and around the tea gardens here. Now the tea grows in the dappled shade of fragrant loquat and peach trees. However unusual this is, the tea benefits from their proximity, and is said to smell like flowers on account of it. 

This tea is made from leaves from the first picking of the season, consisting of one bud and two leaves. This results in a richer taste – in this case, deep in flavours reminiscent of flowers and seeds – which is in line with local preference. Regionally, this tea is simply referred to as 炒青  “pan-fried green.”

There is a rich and inviting vegetal scent to this year’s harvest of High Mountain Green. 

The first infusion looks like a clear mountain lake, at the bottom of which we can see the tea leaves slowly opening. However clear and unchanged the water appears, it is taking on a complex taste from the tea leaves.

In the mouth it feels slightly thickened, and has a warm, nourishing flavour that reminds us of soba-yu, (the broth that noodles have been cooked in). It is too sweet and vibrant to be like dachi, but has the mouthfeel of a savoury consume. This year’s harvest feels generous and is a very welcomed taste to accompany Spring. 

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Brewing guide

Tea 3g
80 °C
Water 120ml
Steep time 5 - 90 sec
No. of infusions 8

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