Zhu Ye Ying Green Tea
Zhu Ye Qing is a green tea from Emei Shan in the Chinese province of Sichuan, famous for its Taoist history. Even though many of Emei Shan’s once numerous temples fell victim to the cultural revolution, the region’s spiritual character is still present today. The temples are closely related to the development of local green teas. Of these, Zhu Ye Qing is both one of the youngest and the most popular at the same time.
The Young History of Zhu Ye Qing Cha
Zhu Ye Qing Green Tea’s first mentioning dates back to 1964. At that time, then Foreign Minister Chen-Yi Emei Shan paid a visit to inspect the quality of the local green tea. Part of his schedule was a meeting with an abbot of one of the long-established Buddhist temples, for which the Emei Shan highlands have long been of great spiritual importance.
At that time there was a new development in the temple, a green tea, consisting only of the unopened buds of the still young spring. Only that the typical trimming with white hairs had been removed from the buds during processing. As a result, their surface looked evenly jade green and reflective like no other green tea leaf in China. This was the tea the abbot of the Buddhist monastery planned to serve the minister on that day…
When the minister tasted the tea, he burst out in delight and demanded to learn the name of this delicacy. The old monk said the tea had no name yet. Rather, it was a new local development, and that he had hoped the minister would give it a name. After careful consideration, the latter finally replied that the shape of the tea leaves reminded him of tender young bamboo leaves. Therefore, the name of the tea should be “Zhu Ye Qing” (= “jade green bamboo leaf). Heceforth, the tea was sold under this name to local tourists who were soon to spread the reputation of the special green tea from Emei Shan beyond the region’s borders. Today, Zhu Ye Qing is considered one of the finest Chinese green teas at all among lovers worldwide.
Zhu Ye Qing Green Tea is a typical “high mountain tea”. So, our “Green Bamboo Leaf Tea” also comes from a close-to-nature tea garden beyond 1200 meters. This is adorning the summits of Wuling Mountain, near Sichuan’s border with Huna and Guizhou provinces.
Only the unopened buds of the young spring qualify for the pure buds picking standard. Therefore, Zhu Ye Qing’s annual picking time is limited to 2 weeks in the first half of April only.
The processing sequence of Zhu Ye Qing basically corresponds to the processing of green tea. A special feature, however, is the removal of the white hairs from the buds during processing.
Taste and Appearance
The Zhu Ye Qing is in many ways similar to its “yellow sibling” from Dongting Lake, the Junshan Yinzhen. However, the “mirror-like” appearance of the jade-green bud surfaces reflects the removal of the hair trimmings during processing. The buds then gain volume during infusion. At the same time, the structural contrast loses sharpness, while the green lightens up significantly, striving towards the bright yellow-green cup color.
The first taste impression is that of overwhelming freshness, thus fulfilling the initial promise of the fragrance exuding from the infusion. This follows a complex roundelay of soft vegetal to nutty-sweet notes, flawless elegance, and without any bitterness. In short, the young, bright, sparkling spring in all of its splendor, just like that, in your cup…
Zhu Ye Qing Green Tea – Preparation
The perfect first infusion of this tea subsists on not too economical dosaging (4g/100ml), 80°C hot, as soft as possible water and a brewing time of 2-3 minutes. Since the tea develops virtually no bitterness, it will readily forgive deviations in dosage and brewing time. Hence, higher doses with shorter infusion period sand vice versa are quite interesting play variants. In contrast, changes in the infusion temperature appear to be less constructive. While too cold water hinders the release of flavor to the water, too hot infusion temperatures will distort the taste result.