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Posts tagged 'china'

Teas of Spring (pre-Qing Ming) and China’s Qing Ming Festival

By Jasmine Dilmanian (In-House Writer) 1 years ago 6273 Views No comments

Spring is celebrated in different ways in each part of the world as the flowers bloom and sun emerges. While we at Heavenly Tea Leaves kick off every season with new and climate-friendly teas, spring is especially dear to us because of the range of teas it welcomes. The teas we favor in this warm-up season can be hot or iced, bold or delicate, white or black, invigorating or calming. Regardless of your choice, this season is all about good moods and positive energy; no doubt, these feelings can always be channeled through tea.

In China, spring is celebrated with an entire festival called Qing Ming – or the Pure Brightness Festival. Starting this year on April 5th, this annual festival incorporates ritual sweeping of tombs (as well as pouring wine and tea around the tombs as an act of commemoration), kite flying, lighting of firecrackers, and of course, food and beverage offerings, which is where the tea comes into play.

As a major historical producer and consumer of tea, China has adopted the drink into the core of its culture. This holiday is ultimately about honoring one's ancestors through various customs meant to acknowledge both spring and Chinese history. Along with rice balls, cakes, porridge, and other traditional foods and snacks, those celebrating the festival consume various pre-Qing Ming teas.

What does pre-Qing Ming mean, anyway? The teas served at this time of year come from tea plants that are harvested earlier in the season, before the festival; this signifies drinking from the very first harvest of the year in accordance with the Chinese calendar. These early harvest teas, according to Fresh Cup magazine, are a super-valuable agricultural gift. "When the buds and leaves of the tea plant are harvested early and with care, they can constitute some of the highest prized, praised, and priced teas of the year. But each harvest of new growth—known as a 'flush'—has its own character," writes Fresh Cup's Liz Clayton.

She continues: "Teas harvested before Qingming... are rare due to the extremely short harvest window—which can range from a few weeks to around ten days—between bud readiness and the arrival of the fifth of April. Hallmarks of these teas are the tender buds which yield a range of complex and delicate flavors—from tea to tea these may be more vegetal, floral, or grassy than the later-harvest expressions of the same plants. They may contain a richer concentration of nutrients like amino acids and a lower concentration of astringent-tasting catechins than later pickings."


Early harvest Chinese teas are beloved by the Heavenly Tea Leaves team, too, as they are noted for their versatility and delicate nature. Here are some of the newest pre-Qing Ming teas we are featuring this spring:

Qing Shan Lu Shui hails from the Chinese Tashan Mountain region and is grown at an unusually high 800-meter altitude. Picked from the Anji white tea bush, this prized tea is noted for its mixture of bright green and yellow tea leaves, delivering a fresh flavor and a subtly sweet finish. Celebrated for its cooling properties, Qing Shan Lu Shui makes the perfect hot weather comfort beverage.

Gou Nao Gong is the most well-known of Hunan province's specialty pre-Qing Ming teas. This variety originates in Chenzhou City in the Mangshan Mountain region, which has become a popular tourist destination thanks to its warm and pleasant weather. The young Gou Nao Gong leaf is picked from the Fuding Da Bai tea bush, whose distinctive twisted shape and thick body yield a light and fruity taste.

Jin Jun Mei is harvested in the famous Fujian tea garden on the southeast coast of China, which is owned and run by a small and dedicated tea farming family along with expert tea masters. This black tea is processed with the whole leaf and the half-open bud of the Fuding Da Bai tea bush, resulting in a reddish brew and floral aftertaste. Jin Jun Mei is one of the rarest teas in our collection, as only 50 kilograms a year is available for distribution.

Drangonwell is a highly-prized green tea. The flat, long leaf is typical of this pan-fired tea, which is a result of highly skilled shaping techniques developed over centuries. This years harvest was plucked on March 19, 2018, containing notes of roasted nuts, with a smooth, crisp mouthfeel.

Silver Needle is a very mild white tea with woody notes. Although it is typically cultivated in Fujian, this pre-Qing Ming tea comes from Yunnan, China.


Above all, springtime is about coming together with friends and family to enjoy beautiful weather, happy occasions, and delicious meals. Mark any of these happy moments with a delicious cup of tea – and this spring, make it a pre-Qing Ming one from Heavenly Tea Leaves!

The Wonders of Green Tea: Everything You Need To Know

By Jasmine Dilmanian (In-House Writer) 2 years ago 16810 Views 1 comment

When it comes to wellness, you can't go wrong with a cup of green tea. Year after year, studies emerge suggesting that this drink, along with a healthy diet and lifestyle, have some serious superpowers. Drinking green tea has been clinically shown to help with everything from cholesterol and weight management to bone health and even free radical delay. (It is thought that free radical proteins in the brain are what lead to diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.)

Wellbeing of the mind and body starts with daily habits. Incorporating a couple of servings of green tea in your everyday regimen can make you start feeling healthier and more vibrant almost immediately. If you're already a heavy coffee drinker and concerned about your caffeine intake, try replacing one of your coffees with green tea. This is a clean alternative at a comparable price and with an awakening result. Why not experiment?

The benefits of green tea seem endless; studies have been conducted for years and scientists continue to examine its role in supporting a balanced lifestyle. A recent Today Show segment dubbed green tea a superfood, rating it an amazing 4 on a 1-5 scale. The hosts pointed out that catechins (EGCG), a type of antioxidant found in green tea, have been shown to 'relax blood vessels' and therefore ease blood pressure. Plus, increased blood flow to the brain means improved overall brain and body function. This is based on just two cups a day!

And then there's the taste. Green tea differs from other teas in its grassy, herbal, earthy flavor profile. It is also unique in that, when mixed with other flavors, it yields a whole new, complex profile that is very different from, say, a black or white–plus herbal concoction. Green tea is far from muted or neutral. Though calming, its taste is distinct and bold. It's a beverage that will make you pause to enjoy each sip. When combined with a drop of honey, it's simply divine.

What most people are surprised to learn is that all green teas come from the same plant, Camellia Sinensis. The processing will make each of these nine distinct types of green tea from Japan different from one another. Elements such as what part of the plant is used, whether the plant is mostly exposed to shade or sun, when the leaf is picked, and how the tea is exposed to heat will affect the taste and characteristic of the tea. Japanese green teas including Gyokuro are very well know for having a mild, sweet, vegetal flavor.

The other famous tea nation – China – has been cultivating tea trees for more than 2,000 years, incorporating it into medicine and cultural practices that remain engrained in the society today. While China grows all types of tea, some of the most famous green teas are Dragonwell, Bi Luo Chun, Chun Mee, Mao Jian.

Of all the green tea varieties and blends to choose from, each has a new character, but all contain the same essential benefits.

To focus the spotlight on green tea's calming properties and richness of flavor, try out Zen Super Green from Kagoshima, Japan. This is a mixture of high-grade sencha tea with its powdered, concentrated cousin, matcha. The combination results in a velvety, umami taste as a result of farming methods that delay the matcha plant growth.

Finally, we suggest another premium grade green tea that provides the energy boost that the beverage is famous for. Mao Feng is a single bud variety grown at high altitudes in the tea-specializing region of Hunan, China. With a well-rounded, straightforward flavor, you can drink this tea with breakfast to cleanse your palette and perk you up for the day!

Once you choose the green tea of your liking, you can bask in some more of its unexpected upsides, like its anti-aging and anti-inflammatory properties. Jazz up your cup with other superfoods like fresh ginger, or add a natural sweetener like agave to mitigate a strong herbaceous flavor.

Which green tea adventure awaits you?