What is Mao Feng?
Before we speak about our Zhejiang High Mountain Mao Feng Green Tea, we’ll first have to clarify what the term ‘Mao Feng’ actually means. From our other Chinese green teas, such as our Anji Bai Cha, Long Jing, Bi Luo Chun or Zi Sun Cha, we know that each of them is attributed to a specific cultivation region and, what’s even more important, a specific cultivar. Interestingly, it isn’t just like that with Mao Feng. Rather, the term Mao Feng (毛峰 = ‘hairy tip’) merely refers to a specific picking standard, namely always one bud with one young adjacent leaf, with the particularity that this standard is picked at a time when the bud and the adjacent leaf have the same length. In China’s typical Mao Feng green tea production regions, with Anhui (Huangshan Mountain) und Zhejiang being the most important, this time is already quite early in spring, significantly before the usual main picking time.
By the way, apart from green tea, also a black tea can be ‘Mao Feng’ as per definition, such as the famous ‘Keemun Mao Feng’ black tea. Mao Feng as a standard is known since the 19th century in China, where it has been valued as one of the most exclusive green teas ever since, with regular listing in the official ‘Great Teas of China’ list.
Just like with so many traditional Chinese teas, there is also a legend growing around Mao Feng tea, with the common degree of historical essence. However, such legends serve to describe the character of a tea in a kind of transcendent way and therefore are always worth being told. The story of Mao Feng, taking place in Huangshan (‘Yellow Mountain’) in Anhui, evolves around the love between a young scholar and a farmer girl. One day, a rich land owner watches the girl picking tea and develops a fancy for her. He then finds ways to force the girl’s parents to give him their daughter for marriage. In the night before the wedding, the bride slips out of the house to meet with scholar, only to find him slain by her future husband. She then cried over his grave for so long that she finally became the rain, watering the tea bush that now grew on the scholar’s grave.
‘Our’ Mao Feng Eco-Diversity tea plantation in Chunan County, Zhejiang
Our High Mountain Mao Feng Green Tea comes from a cooperatively operated eco-diversity tea plantation, located in altitudes of over 1000 meters in Chunan County in the Chinese province of Zhejiang. In the biodiverse organized plantation, whose local variety tea bushes are all beyond 80 years old now, no pesticides or artificial fertilizers are used. The natural balance between species prevents the emergence of overpopulations of potential pests, and the adequate fertilization of the soil is ensured by the natural cycle. Mao Feng Green Tea is picked once a year only, with the picking time conditioned by the same length of new spring’s young bud with its adjacent leaf usually falling in the first days of April.
Picking see above
The processing of our Zhejiang Imperial High Mountain Mao Feng Green Tea widely follows the lines of typical green tea processing in China. After picking, there’s a phase of letting the tea leaves wither for several hours, partly in the sun and partly in the half-light of the factory hall. Then, the leaves are shortly heated to a temperature sufficient to stop the oxidation processes of the leave enzymes, thereby preserving the leaf’s green condition. Finally, the leaves are rolled into their characteristic twisted trade from and are end-dried under heat feed. While in the old times, both the heating and rolling were done manually in a wok pan, these works are today taken care of by specialized machines in our Chunan eco-diversity farm. There is no roasting in classic terms taking place, the final drying is done by hot air. This accommodates those among tea lovers, who believe that the typical roast note inevitably created with the final roasting of tea leaves, is detrimental to the tea’s taste.
Taste and Aroma
The bright green, tight and slim, slightly twisted tea leaves and buds exude a pleasant, fresh orchid fragrance both from the dry material and from the infusion. Tastewise, our Mao Feng Green Tea convinces with its exquisite ‘High Mountain’ character: the downright tantalizing freshness of its high floral notes, paired with a heavy, long lingering sweetness with a touch of a nutty flavor.
In a clay or glass teapot, pour 250 – 350 ml hot water of a temperature of 85°C over 3-5 g of Zhejiang Imperial High Mountain Mao Feng Green Tea and let infuse for ca. 2 minutes for a first infusion. With an extended infusion period of 3-4 minutes for a second, and 4-5 minutes for a third steep, this green tea will produce 2-3 delicious, full value infusions.
The typical Chinese preparation approach uses higher dosages and shorter infusion periods. This way, even more tasty infusions can be produced, and individual taste notes dominating individual infusions can be isolated and/or highlighted.
You will find more 100% pesticide-free teas from wild growth and biodiverse cultivation in our category ’Biodiversi-TEA @ Siam Tea Shop’. For more information on the topic pesticides and tea and the way we deal with it at Siam Tea Shop, please also read our ’SiamTeas Health and Environment Guideline’.