Nanjing has a long history of tea growing since Tang dynasty. Being in the central region of ancient China, it is the historical tea growing region featured in Lu Yu's Classic of Tea (陆羽《茶经》) written 1,300 years ago.
Rain and Flowers Tea has its roots in this history but it is unclear whether the current style today is reflective of the ancient style. After the devastation of WWII on China, especially Nanjing, the nascent government decided to grow the tea industry to boost morale and income. The Sun Yat-sen's Mausoleum at the Purple Mountain and the Yuhuatai tourist district (雨花台) became the centres of a sprawling tea region. Farmers worked with tea researchers over a decade to hone tea processing techniques in a bid to produce an exceptional tea. The result is a needle shaped green tea named after the tourist region of Yuhuatai. It was recognised as the first Geographical Indicator (GI) product of Nanjing in 2004, extending to a GI product of Central Europe in 2020, and culminating into a recognised UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2022.
Shaped by repeated techniques of frying and resting the teas, these flat and slender leaves are a visual treat to behold. Some leaves appear white but on closer inspection, they are the soft downy hairs of tender, young picked leaf buds (known to botanists as trichomes). This tea is picked 1 bud, 2 leaves, with the 2 leaves hugging the tender downy bud in the middle. Indeed a beautiful sight to behold, it looks like a tiny bit of white with dark green linings running along its length.
This tea is picked before Qingming (5th April 2023), meaning that it is an early picking and highly sought after. It is pan-fried.
We are brewing this tea in our Parchmen Glass Gaiwan, using 3g of tea to 120ml of 80°C distilled water for 30 seconds. Brewing a green tea is always visually appealing, when it comes alive and turns a lighter green during the brew. The aroma is powerful and forthcoming, giving us generous notes of roasted nuts, savoury meat, seaweeds, milk, baby breath flowers and even a hint of sweet berries like blackcurrants and citrus fruits. Tea is salivating with a smooth and clean aftertaste.
Enjoy a fresh green tea while it lasts. This tea can be brewed twice.