2018 Rainflower green tea

Yu Hua (Rainflower Tea)

$7.50$88.00

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Green Tea

 

Yu Hua
Rainflower Tea

Oxidation: none
Manufacture: pan-fired

 

Appearance: very fine needle-leaf style
Flavor: Soft, sweet-earth flavor
Aroma: Refreshing, delicate aroma
Liquor: Clear golden-colored tea liquor

 

Jiangsu Province, China

2018 Yu Qian
2nd Spring Tea Harvesting Season
(April 5th – April 20th)

 

China Spring Green Tea: The spring season in China is divided up into 4 periods of time. The harvest dates of the most anticipated Chinese spring green teas, such as Longjing, are associated with certain dates on the agricultural calendar. The earliest plucked teas are the most desirable for sweetness and and delicacy, and these teas sell out quickly because production quantities are small.

 

This is the breakdown of production times. Teas plucked during these times are made just once a year.

 

  • Pre-Qing Ming or Ming Qian tea (leaf plucked before April 5th)
  • Before the Rains or Yu Qian tea (leaf plucked before April 20th)
  • Spring tea or Gu Yu tea (leaf pucked before May 6th)
  • Late spring or Li Xia (leaf plucked before May 21st)


Chinese spring green teas are sold by these seasonal designations indicating the time in the spring that the tea was plucked. The earlier the tea is plucked the morein demand and expensive it will be.

 

March: weather permitting, the arrival of early spring in mid-March begins the plucking season for some premium green and yellow teas in Western China. In Sichuan Province: Mengding Mt. Gan Lu; Mengding Mt. Huang Ya and Zhu Ye Qing are plucked in mid-March.

The earliest plucks of Xi Hu Region Longjing tea (Zhejiang Province) and tiny Bi Lo Chun (Jiangsu Province) begin to appear at this time as well.

In Yunnan Province leafy green and tender bud green teas by mid-March.

 

April: the month of April is the busiest time in eastern China for the production of premium green teas from all of the important green tea producing Provinces. First-pluckings of tea such as Anji Bai Cha; En Shi Lu Yu; Huang Shan Mao Feng; Long Ding; Lu Shan arrive before April 5th to receive the coveted Pre-Qing Ming designation. Yu Qian pluckings of these teas follow throughout the month of April.

 

img-more_seasonal Seasonal Teas Explained

Use 1 Tablespoon (2-3 grams) per 6 oz water
Steep 2-3 infusions at 2 minutes each.
Water temperature should be 170°F-180°F

Yua Hua, known as Rainflower Tea at Tea Trekker, is a particularly unique green tea. Grown and fired in the area around Nanjing in the northeast of China, some consider it to be one of the premier green teas in China.

Green teas with an elongated, slender, needle shape, such as Rainflower are difficult to process. This is also an unusual shape for Chinese green teas, not so for Japanese teas. Looking at our photos of this tea, one can imagine how long the fresh leaf must have been in order for the leaf to have shrunk to this extra-long size and shape during the hot firing that dried the leaf to its present size.

We have watched green tea being fired in the manner of Rainflower’s style – it is usually done in a very hot tea-firing pan by only the most experienced of tea-firers. It is very difficult to extract the moisture that is inherent in fresh tea leaf of this size and shape and still maintain the length and slender shape of the leaf when dried.

We call this a needle shape leaf, but needle-style green tea can be short, long, extra-long, tubular, flat, sword-like and several other basic profile shapes. Rainflower is what we refer to as a tubular, extra-long needle shape. Before it is re-hydrated, we can actually see that it is slightly bulbous at the stem end and one side has a soft fold to it and the opposite has almost a sharpness, and the leaf comes to a sharp point at the emerging end – this is the challenge of the master firers who produce this wonderful tea.

Only a certain type of cultivar of fresh leaf will form to this shape. In the Nanjing area, local tea artisans have mastered the techniques to form the shape without breaking the leaf or burning the tips or any of the other misfortunes that can ruin fresh leaf when it is improperly handled. This appearance (and taste)  shows the terroir of tea and the influence of experience and craft on the finished tea.

Rainflower tea prefers attentiveness when being steeped. Measurement is critical: use too much leaf and it will be bitter, use too little and it will not seem particularly interesting. The water must be well off the boil, similar to the temperature for a Japanese green tea, but not too cool or the flavor will hide inside the leaf until the 3rd steeping.

Steep time is short – or bitter elements will sneak into your cup. However, follow the simple steps required for this elegant tea, pay attention while it releases its complex flavors, and you will be in love with this tea forever.

This 2018 spring lot of Rainflower tea is as good as the 2017 was or possibly even ‘better’, and rivals any that we have had in the last 20+ years. But beware, this Rainflower tea will spoil you for other ‘Rainflower’ teas that you may encounter.

Tasting Notes

First Steeping: 60-90 seconds
Second Steeping: 90 seconds to 2 minutes
Third Steeping: 2 minutes

If you like the little bit of ‘bite’ that is normal in the first infusion then that is great; if not, rinse the dry leaf quickly with cool water and then use water for steeping that is at the cooler end of our temperature recommendation: 170F.

Want to know more?

img-more_fuzz What is Tea Leaf ‘Fuzz’?