Green tea has long been a common name in the West for healthy tea, or the other tea other than black tea. In Japan, it enjoys an unrivalled monopoly career, and in other places like Morocco it generally forms the base of local herbal tea. For the Chinese, green tea was and remains first and foremost "summer tea," the only type of tea produced from that Camellia Sinensis plant that carries cold energy with it (an article about the energy of tea). This means that according to Chinese medicine the role of green tea is to cool our body, no matter what temperature we drink it, and around this principle the whole Chinese green tea industry is built.
Green tea from Anhui County
On our last visit to China last year, we visited one of the oldest tea growing areas in China - Anhui Province. "Five of China's Ten Famous Tea Types Originated in Anhui" is an ancient phrase from the remains of what once was China's most prestigious tea industry. Over the years, the decline in the reputation of green tea in China has given way to more advanced types of tea, mainly from Fujian Province, and today green tea is mainly intended for export to Western countries, and the way it is handled mainly serves the demands of foreign audiences. The most obvious example of the Westernization that green tea has undergone in China, is its current mode of serving in highball glasses designed for serving cocktails and beers, and familiar to us from the nightlife scene in Western countries.
In our search for further remnants of the prestigious tea culture that has vanished, we were privileged to discover a village at the foot of the famous Yellow Mountain, where traditional green tea continues to be produced as before, and supplied to the local tea market. The tea is grown in a completely natural environment, without the use of chemical pesticides, and is produced by hand using a traditional method of baking that has no equal in modern green tea that we are familiar with (watch our Tea Room Sessionconcerning green tea from the Anhui).
Types of tea
We chose to focus on two types of green tea of a high-end grade:
tai ping hou kui 太平 猴 魁
huang shan mao feng 黄山 毛峰
The large tai ping hou kui tea leaves are rolled with the palms of the hands, in contrast to the mechanical "ironing" procedure used today, and the delicate mao feng buds remain silvery and "hairy" like silver needles, a rare sight for green tea even in China. We have never encountered such a high classification of green tea, not in China territory and certainly not outside it.