Ms. Qiong's Heritage White
This tea has an incredibly unique character for a white tea: refreshing and bright, but also very deep. We can attribute this to it being a very old indigenous varietal, handled with great care and respect by Ms. Qiong.
Unlike most tea craftsmen, Ms. Qiong’s foray into tea making was not for the love of tea. Her intention was to restore and enhance the vitality of the land in her home village. She firmly believes the key to our future lies in reconnecting ourselves with nature, which means living and farming in accordance with nature’s principles. Guided by this intention, Ms. Qiong adheres to natural farming methods, intervening very little with the tea she produces. The path that brought her to tea making is a modern one, and a story worth telling.
Ms. Qiong’s hometown is Xiufeng Village in Fu’an County of Fujian Province, where the history of tea cultivation spans hundreds of years. She grew up watching her father and mother harvest and make tea, which was by no means unusual in her village. Eventually, in 1995, she and her family left Xiufeng and moved to the city of Fuzhou in search of better employment opportunities and more income. There, Ms. Qiong studied architecture in University and later worked as the CFO of a corporation in the coastal city, Xiamen.
After holding this position for ten years, she understood that corporate life in the metropolitan city was depleting her spirit and she had yearned for the simpler life that she and her family had felt they needed to leave behind; one that deepened connections to the land and to people. After the passing of her father, she acted on this feeling: Ms. Qiong returned to her hometown, moved back into her family’s centuries-old wooden house, and started to make tea.
The trees in the deserted tea garden she inherited from her father are quite rare: an heirloom varietal, indigenous to the region, which were largely cut down in the 1980’s in favour of higher yield varietals with uniform leaves. These trees are farmed regeneratively by Ms. Qiong, as part of her greater practice of rebalancing and listening to the land.
Every Spring she harvests during the daytime and crafts the tea at night. It is extremely labour intensive, but it is the only way she wants to make her tea. Most of the time, she works alone, doing everything herself – from farming and taking care of the trees, to the harvesting and crafting of the teas. Thus, she is only able to produce a very small amount of tea each year: this year Mrs. Qiong made 10kg of Heritage White.
As we could expect, this tea is such a direct expression of the trees from which it comes, and it is truly a labour of love from Ms. Qiong, who crafts it entirely by hand, following traditional methods. The tea is dried on bamboo trays laid out in a bamboo forest under the sun. This softens its taste and results in the beautiful variation we see in the leaves – that some should oxidize brown while others maintain their sharp, verdant green.
The result is a remarkably delicious white tea that reminds us of softer oolongs – it is floral, and thick, but with so much mineral it's like drinking the sweet milk of a stone.
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|Steep time||10 - 90 sec|
|No. of infusions||10|