|Bai Ying, Lin Cang, Yunnan, China
|99% bud Yunnan Big Leaves
This bud-only tea is one of Yunnan’s finest modern blacks. Exceptional golden, fleecey tips reveal perfectly balanced malt and maple characters with the slightest hint of pepper. Rich and satisfying. No chemical fertiliser, pesticide, or herbicide was used in the production of this tea.
|100 degrees Celsius
|1 x tablespoon (3 grams)
150 ml water (small tea cup)
Infuse for 3 minutes
Reuse the same leaves up to 3 or 4 times before discarding
This is a truly delicious tea thanks to its beautifully balanced structure and Master Lin’s craftsmanship.
These leaves are from Bai Ying mountain in Yunnan. Known as ‘Jin Ya’ in the west, this is a top-grade grand cru tea that uses only the highest quality fresh buds covered in velvety down, picked in late March.
Most Chinese black teas are harvested later in the season. Because these buds are picked so early, they have less chlorophyll giving the leaf its signature golden hue.
A single bud can have up to five layers inside.
Once you have infused your buds, pick one out and unwrap the outer layer, piece by piece like an onion.
These layers are what makes this tea complicated for tea masters like Mr Lin.
He has to carefully control the processing and oxidisation to make sure it’s uniform throughout the layers of the bud.
Golden buds that are too oxidised will be sour, and under oxidised buds will produce a tea that is heavy and tannic.
The fine fuzz you can see on the leaf has remained throughout the processing stages and is a testament to Master Lin’s skilful and gentle craftsmanship.
|Plucking: These velvety buds are harvested at the beginning of the spring season, in late March and very early April.
|Sorting: The leaves are inspected and sorted to make sure the quality is suitable.
Withering: Master Lin spreads the buds on a bamboo tray to let them breath for five hours. Next they are withered with warm air.
|Frying: Master Lin fries the buds in small batches by hand to remove about 50% of their water content. He then wraps the buds in fabric, places them in special wooden boxes and covers the top with a thick layer of material which helps the buds sweat and maintains a constant temperature.
Oxidising: The buds oxidise in the boxes and Master Lin regularly mixes the leaves around to ensure even oxidisation. He uses his senses of touch and smell to know exactly when this stage of the process should stop.
|Drying: Master Lin finishes this tea by drying the buds which locks in the flavour and sets the shelf life.