Mengding Shi Hua First Harvest
March 17, 2022
Mengding Mountain, Ya'an, Sichuan
The esteemed Mengding Mountain 蒙顶山, located in the remote city of Ya’an in the Sichuan Province, is a significant site in regards to the history of tea culture in China. The cultivation of tea on Mengding dates back more than 2000 years. The teas collected from this mountain have served as Tribute Teas to Emperors for over 1000 years, spanning five Dynasties: Tang, Song, Yuan, Ming and Qing.
Mengding Mountain is the highest mountain range in Sichuan Province. It has 5 peaks, with the highest standing in the clouds 4800 ft above sea level. Due to its altitude it receives a high amount of rain compared to other mountains, and the peaks remain covered in mist and fog all year round – Mengding is nearly always wet. This aqueous climate, combined with the unique red sandstone in its soil, make it an ideal environment for tea trees, which favour a great deal of moisture, but require good drainage. Soil like this comes very slowly, from the gradual weathering of ancient rocks – there are few undisturbed places old enough to offer such perfect conditions for tea.
The tea garden they come from is located at the highest peak of the mountain, at 4800 ft altitude. The tea trees, an heirloom varietal called laochuancha 老川茶, grow scattered between ancient temples, gigantic rocks, and towering conifer trees. The tea trees are harvested once per year in the spring, and are otherwise left to grow on their own, where they are nurtured by the constant mist, diverse growth, and the passing shadows of Mengding Mountain.
Shi Hua is an ancient varietal of green tea from Mengding Mountain. It is the only tea that has served as a Tribute Tea to emperors for over one thousand years. And even so, today it is quite rare.
Our Shi Hua comes from the peak of Mengding, at 1400 m above sea level. It is harvested from the heirloom tea tree, laochuancha 老川茶, once each year, in the Spring. This year’s First Harvest of Shi Hua was on March 17.
The tender buds are picked by hand just after they have sprouted. Enough of them to make tea takes considerable time and effort to amass: over 20,000 buds are required to make 500 grams of finished tea.
Shi Hua is an incredibly powerful tea to experience. It is soft and gentle, however its richness and complexity is unmissable. The mouthfeel is smooth and rounded, and the finish is long, lingering, and sweet. This tea is unusually long last, yielding 8-10 infusions. Spending time with it, the body and mind feel supported and clarified.
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|Steep time||10 - 60 sec|
|No. of infusions||8