Spring green tea is so delicate and temperamental that harvest time is hectic, as teams rush to pick and process the fast-growing leaves while they're at their peak. Imperial Tea Court Teamaster Roy Fong is currently in the tea fields near Hangzhou, overseeing our dragon well harvest. Later during his month-long stay in China he'll move on to other green tea areas.
Despite the fast pace, Roy is providing brief updates as time permits. Immediately after our top-quality Lotus Heart and Imperial Dragon Well teas were picked, the weather turned cold and rainy, threatening the quality of the lesser grades. Here's the news Roy sent last night:
I feel alive and energetic, I guess due to the good dragon well harvest. Everyone is having a hell of a time, but the rest of the tea hasn't come in due to the cold and rain. I am sitting on my hands today as samples can't come down from the mountain and I can't get up there.
Today Roy sent word that, impatient with the bad weather, he was heading to Yi Xing, a couple of hours away. In the home of the famous teaware he plans to meet with the master potter Zhou Xiao Qin, who has made teapots for us on special commission in the past. The heads up that Zhou Xiao Qin may agree to create some new pots for us is truly exciting news for anyone who loves fine yi xing ware. Here's what Roy said about the trip to Yi Xing. You can sense the enthusiasm he's feeling during this year's harvest:
I am off to Yixing for a few days to talk with Zhou Xiao Qin. Since I am on a roll, the rain and cold weather ain't gonna stop me!
Yi Xing is near Tai Hu (Lake Tai), the growing region for some well known green teas such as bi luo chun. I wouldn't be surprised if Roy checks out the Tai Hu harvest while he's in the area.
By the way, today, April 4, is Qing Ming, the traditional end date for harvesting the finest dragon well. Luckily, thanks to Roy's efforts, our best dragon wells were put away well in advance of the deadline. Grace expects to receive the first samples Monday, so we'll finally get to taste the tea Roy is so excited about. The spring tea situation is evolving quickly, so stay tuned for more updates!