There are three main tea markets in China: Hankou, Hunan Province; Fuzhou, Fujian Province and Jiujiang, Jiangxi Province. Jiujiang is the second largest city in Jiangxi, and one of the most important ports along the Changjiang River.
Benefiting from the ideal environment and convenient transportation, the Jiangxi Province has been an important tea-growing district since the Song Dynasty. The climate there is humid with adequate rainfall. The fertile soil is suitable for agriculture, especially for the tea growing.
Lushan Yunwu Tea
Lushan Yunwu is a type of green tea, which was invented in the Han Dynasty, and became the tribute tea in the Song Dynasty.
Lushan has been listed as a World Cultural Heritage by the United Nations. It’s a poetic sentiment bonsai and is famous for its network of waterfalls. Yunwu means cloudly mist in Chinese. Lushan Yunwu tea grows around the mist all year round. Most waterfalls in Lushan originate from the deep forests, which are rich in mineral substances. Therefore, Yunwu tea has a higher level of mineral substances than other green teas.
Initially, Yunwu was grown in the forest or around the cliffs. Local residents plucked some leaves once for a while. The monk Huiyuan spared no effort collecting seedlings and planting them near the temple. His endeavor was to serve the local people.
Bathed in heavy mist all year round, the tea trees are short, the leaves being fleshy and juicy. When it comes to the Tomb-Sweeping Festival every year, the tea farmers will enter the deep mountains, where the tea farms are located. Leaves are carefully plucked and sent to the workshop in an extremely timely fashion. Yunwu can be workshop-made and factory-made. The former one is softer and preserves a better aroma. The latter one has a better color and shape. More importantly, the price of the latter is much lower than the workshop-made one.
Good Lushan Yunwu tea should be soft and fuzzy strips with a great fresh scent. The longer the tea is preserved, the darker the color will be.
Wuyuan Mingmei Tea
Wuyuan is a small county, producing the highest amount of tea in the Jiangxi Province. Most of the tea farms are built around the mountain ridges or river valleys. Wuyuan area is hot in the summer, and warm in the winter. The annual precipitation averages between 1700 mm to 1800 mm. Bathed in heavy mist, Wuyuan has the perfect conditions for growing tea.
Compared to Yunwu tea, Wuyuan Mingmei is “young.” It was invented in 1958 by some experienced tea experts. They followed the classic processing principles, introduced new technology to the workshops, and created a new set of procedures.
The dry Mingmei tea leaves are wrinkly dark green strips. When steeped, the leaves spread out and dye the water a light green color.
Some people say Mingmei is produced in the heat. They’re quite right. First, all leaves are plucked on sunny days. After that, they’re stirred in a hot wok to dehydrate and remove the unpleasant odor. After rolling the damp leaves, they are baked and fried on cotton cloth.
Wuyuan Mingmei tea is rich in mineral substances, which helps strengthen the bones and improve the immune system.
Jinggang Cuilu Tea
The Jinggang Mountains are located in the middle of Jiangxi. The replenishment of seasons in the Jinggang Mountain region attracts countless tourists and artists. In the spring, the entire ridge is covered with flowers and freshly grown grass. In the summer, the fleet of clouds is marvelous. In the autumn, all of the maple leaves turn the mountain into a sea of orange and red. In the winter, the entire mountain range is peacefully bathed in snow.
Thanks to the distinctive seasons, tea trees in Jinggang Mountains are tall with fewer branches. The abundant sunshine helps improve the amino acids and other beneficial substances within the leaves.
The higher quality Cuilu tea leaves are long and curly with heavy silver fuzz. Because of the abundant sunshine, Cuilu has a long-lasting aroma, and some experts call it the “scent from the mountain.” Local residents love Cuilu tea not only because of its amazing taste, but also because it represents their strong spirits.
Built on mountains, Cuilu tea factories take ten years to establish. People transported concrete and bricks from the bottom of the mountain using animals. Also, the experts traveled throughout the Jiangxi Province to study the best processing skills and techniques. Their endeavor was not in vain. The Cuilu tea won several awards from the moment it entered the market in the 1980’s.
Cuilu tea is famous for its aroma and shape. Normal teas leaves are straight, but Cuilu tea consists of curly strips, because the rolling step is repeated twice during processing. This method is as follows: first stirring, first rolling, second stirring, second rolling, and baking.
Shangyao Baimei Tea
The Shangyao City is another beautiful mountainous city in Jiangxi. It’s located by the biggest fresh lake in China – the Boyang Lake. The tea history in Shangyao dates back to the Tang Dynasty.
Baimei is a term used to describe old people’s eyebrows. Baimei tea leaves are long fuzzy strips, drawing comparison to older people’s eyebrows. Baimei tea has another name – special green, because the tea water is as green as emeralds.
Similar to other green teas, the processing of Baimei include stirring, rolling and baking, which is not unique.
Professor Shixin Wang is one of the inventors of Baimei. He employed asexual reproducing techniques, and successfully created a type of tea tree called Damianbai. This breed is 15% more productive than others. Also, the fresh leaves are extremely fuzzy, which gives Baimei tea an identical feature.
Baimei tea is a product specially designed to adjust to the technological development of the tea industry. Though Baimin is popular, there is a big gap between its quality and that of workshop-made teas, such as Yunwu tea.
Jiangxi is famous for its green tea. The ideal climate conditions are what make Jiangxi one of the most important tea producing and exporting region in China. Teas like Yunwu and Mengmei are not only loved domestic people, but also international tea fans.