Old Grove Buddha’s Hand
This is one of four very special teas that come to us from our friend Mei in Yongchun, Fujian.
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.
Our friend Mei is a native of Yongchun County with deep roots and passion for the history and traditional crafts of the town and the people. Deeply touched by the old groves of the tea trees that she saw in the mountains of her hometown, she is committed to making the cleanest oolongs from these semi-wild tea trees in the mountains.
This specific Buddha’s Hand is from old groves of tea trees on Yinshi Mountain, one of the highest peaks in Yongchun. The tea trees were planted in the 1970’s, and are now around 50 years old, and the tender young leaves are harvested only once per year in the spring. These tender leaves produce tea that is remarkably sweet and creamy.
Handcrafted by Mr. Liu, who is one of the most earnest and dedicated tea makers that we’ve met. The leaves are slow roasted over charcoal for four rounds, each roasting accentuating the sweetness and complexity of the tea.
This tea is smooth and creamy, with texture and depth. It is floral, but not overpowering. On the nose, it has notes of pomelo peel, orchids and buttermilk. On the palate, notes of egg custard, pandan, and green mango.