2020 Mingqian Tea Harvest
The 2020 Mingqian Spring Harvest teas of China are here! In any typical year, spring is an exciting time, as the earth moves from cold hibernation into energetic bursts of new life. During this unprecedented time, we are fortunate to have our 2020 Mingqian Garden Direct Green Teas land securely! We are grateful for our partners and are joyful they are healthy and creating wonderful spring harvest teas.
In springtime, the weather is growing warmer and nutrients are being replenished to the plants in the ground. With the change in season, we also see the first crops of teas being introduced into the market. One can imagine the anticipation to the release of Beaujolais Nouveau, or other sought-after wines, and correlate the same excitement for celebrated seasons within the annual calendar of the global tea harvests. True tea connoisseurs know these seasons well and eagerly anticipate the release of the new crop vintage.
Jin Long Ping Village, China
Harvesting Mingqian teas
Yulu plucks before steaming
In China, the early spring season teas are cherished for their lively energy and delicate, naturally sweet flavor. In most tea producing regions of China, tea plants go dormant around November through February. During the winter, nutrients are stored in the plant’s roots. Beginning in March, the tea plants awaken from dormancy and draw nutrients up from the roots. These elements, including natural plant sugars like polysaccharides and umami-rich amino acids, are concentrated in the new tea leaf buds and leaves that sprout from the tea plants. It is this new growth that is picked and collected during the tea harvest. Spring teas are noticeably brimming with energy due to this annual effect.
In China, the spring tea harvest is categorized into several phases that coincide with the traditional agricultural lunisolar calendar, which is divided into 24 periods each lasting a little over two weeks.
- Mingqian Season [ 明前茶 ] – Teas harvested before the Qingming Festival [清明节 “Tomb-Sweeping Festival”] on April 4th or 5th are given the “Mingqian” designation. Mingqian literally means “prior to Qingming.”
- Qingming Season [ 清明茶 ] – Teas harvested in the two weeks after the Qingming Festival (April 4/5 – April 18/19) are designated as “Qingming” teas.
- Yuqian Season [ 雨前茶 ] – Teas picked in the two weeks after the Qingming season (April 18/19 – May 2/3) are designated as “Yuqian” teas. Yuqian literally means “before the rains.
This year, we sourced teas from a range of cultivars and produced according to a few significant processing methods. With these nuances, we are able to taste the significance of cultivar and processing method.
The Mingqian season boasts the freshest and most brilliantly energetic teas of the season and beg to be consumed within the first few months. Although the white teas can grow more beautiful with age into vintages, it is ideal to consume the green offerings more quickly. We are proud to offer a range of cultivar and processes in this 2020 Mingqian harvest.
DISCOVER MINGQIAN TEA DIRECT FROM ORIGIN
Dragon Well is a well-known, Chinese ‘tribute tea’ once given in tribute to the emperor of the time. This micro-lot offers the classic Dragon Well character of pleasant grassiness with hints of pistachio and green banana.
This lot was produced using the Long Jing #43 cultivar, which offers a balance of tender dewy sweetness, pleasantly herbaceous and pine-like aroma, and undertones of savory broth.
The rocky gardens of Jin Long Ping are famous for their picturesque plantings of Quntizong. This tea offers a rich density and deep umami, with hints of fresh picked red clover and dulse seagrass.