First Harvest 2020 Wild Purple Shoots 明前顾渚紫笋
March 28, 2020 - April 2, 2020
Guzhu Mountain, Changxing, Huzhou
Made by Wang Guoqiang
Guzhu Zisun or Guzhu Purple Shoots has a long history. It was a tribute tea to the emperors of the Tang and Song Dynasty for more than 800 years.
Lu Yu, a highly-respected poet and self-taught scholar, wrote The Classic of Tea in around 780 AD. The Classic of Tea is an extremely detailed and comprehensive guide to Chinese tea during the Tang Dynasty. The book consists of ten chapters about the complete process of tea growing, harvesting, crafting, and brewing; with painstaking details of each tool and crafting method. It also includes notes on where the best tea is grown and the best ways to identify tea quality. It is a masterpiece, and arguably the most important historical book on tea ever written.
Lu Yu went to Changxing and instantly fell in love with the mountains there. He acquired his own tea garden in Guzhu Mountain. He grew and made his own teas, and lived in the ancient mountains where he wrote “In the Zhejiang region, tea from Huzhou is the best.”
Guzhu Zisun comes from the bamboo-covered hills and valleys of Guzhu Mountain, in Changxing, Huzhou. It is located in close proximity to Tai Lake, one of the largest freshwater lakes in China. The lake creates a temperate microclimate for the Guzhu Mountains - misty all year round, less direct sun radiation, moisture level is higher in the air. Spring is cooler here, thus tea leaves grow slower. The soil is also unique to the region, made up mostly of granite and purple sandstone.
The leaves come from old trees of the indigenous varietal, from the ancient tea trees that date back to the Tang Dynasty. Over hundreds of years, these tea trees have reproduced naturally in these mountains by sexual reproduction, a rare occurrence as most tea trees now are cuttings from the mother trees, reproduced asexually.
The trees are completely untended in the forest for most of the year, except in the spring. They grow in the ancient mountains and seem like they have been there all the while, through the change of Dynasties. They are the masters of these valleys, living in harmony with the mountain and the birds, only disturbed in tea picking season.
The first harvest Guzhu Zisun is a purist’s tea. It has an unassuming and aloof character. Gentle, sweet, with faint orchid notes.