It’s good to be first. We learn that at a young age. Particularly so when talking about plucking teas. In China, the early tea harvest is the envy. None more so that the so called “Pre Qing-Ming” tea. This is the earliest of the spring crops, plucked before the Qing Ming Festival, around early April. After the tea bush has spent the Winter in dormancy, gathering its energy, the early buds and leaves are coveted for their fresh and vibrant flavors. The early crop is also known to be particularly rich in anti-oxidants.
Highly desirable with also a very limited availability, these teas are notorious for being hard to get. With some pleading, we were able to get our hands on a trio of great tasting green and oolong teas.
Our Organic Oolong Fairy is a moderately oxidized oolong coming to us from Hunan Province in China. Legend has it that its name came from an Emperor who found chewing its fresh leaves curiously thirst quenching…called it the Fairy Tea. It yields a whiskey colored liquor with a robust fruity taste and a smoky finish. For an oolong, it is on the bold side, but much mellower than its cousin the Da Hong Pao.
We have a pair of green teas, the Cuiming green tea from Simao, Yunnan, and an organic Maofeng also from Simao, Yunnan. Both are exquisite representations of what an early harvest green tea can be. The Cuiming is distinctly a rarer find in the US and deserves a try by anyone with an interest in green teas. It name means “emerald green” and has a slighty fruitier nose, and distinctly less grassiness than other green teas. And if green tea is your thing, it’s hard to beat a great Maofeng. Light and slightly tannic, it has a fresh grassiness that takes you to the terraced hills from which this tea came.
Yes, being first has its advantages. And we’re proud to be the first in Denver to offer the first teas of the season.