Gu Shu Yinzhen is one of the very popular teas in our shop. It is a white tea grown in Yunnan with complete natural farming method. The reason why this tea is popular is thanks to its overwhelming extent of aftertaste. It gives very long lasting taste, remains in our throat for a long time. In 2014, I have visited the village which produces this tea. While I was looking at the tea, I was beginning to think that it would be interesting if we use this tea as a base tea for making Jasmine tea. I have always wanted to make jasmine tea using white tea. Gu Shu Yinzhen is not only the white tea, but also the naturally farmed tea. With its overwhelmingly strong aftertaste, it will be a very special Jasmine tea. Once this idea popped up in my mind, I couldn’t help buying Gu Shu Yinzhen for the scenting purpose. Right away we also made an arrangement with the jasmine tea manufacturer to book the schedule of scenting.
Naturally farmed tea by Yunnan minority tribes
Gu Shu Yinzhen is harvested from tea trees grown near the Myanmar-China border in Lincang. The tea garden is located at around 2000m. In early springtime of March each single downy bud is hand-plucked. This tea is made with no fertilizer and no pesticide. Following the tradition of Yunnan minority tribes, tea tree is left without any care and it is like wild tea tree in nature. Usually, the farmer only conducts weeding once a year right before plucking. These tea trees grow extremely slowly, and tea accumulates more substances and the taste of tea becomes very thick, just like wild herbs in the mountain. Many customers have tasted this tea and they often comment that it is very sweet.
Unexpected trouble in making pearl shape
As soon as I have purchased Gu Shu Yinzhen, I have shipped the tea to Fujian province for rolling it into the pearl shape. I was expecting that it would be very beautiful pearl in silver colour. However, I encountered unexpected problem. The rolled white tea kept unrolled back and becoming back in needle shape no matter how tight we tried to roll it. I got to realize that it was because of the processing of white tea. As there was no rolling and pan-frying process in making white tea,the cell wall of tea leaf remained unbroken. The leaf of white behaved like spring in a way. I had no choice but to maintain the original shape of silver needle and proceed for the scenting with Jasmine flowers.
Mixing tea with fresh jasmine flowers, repeatedly scenting for 6 nights
Since we cannot roll white tea into pearl shape, we decided to maintain its original needle shape and proceed for the scenting process. For the premium jasmine tea, it is essential to blend tea with the fresh jasmine flowers. The blooming season of jasmine flower is July to September. So we keep tea in China for a few months until the jasmine flower is ready. We conducted scenting for six times. Each time a new batch of fresh jasmine flowers is used and mixed with the tea. In daytime, the farmer collects the jasmine flower buds which are about to bloom and they are in ball shape. The flower buds are then gathered in the factory. As jasmine flower blooms at night, tea is blended with the flower in the evening, and the scenting process is continued till the next morning. The flowers are then removed from the tea leaves, and the tea is dried. The same process is repeated for many more days and every time a new batch of fresh jasmine flowers is collected and mixed with the same tea.