Here we describe the characteristics of each tea season. We also cover when each type of tea is harvested.
Spring Tea: Nature’s Reawakening
In the wake of winter, spring breathes life back into the tea trees. During the winter months, the tea’s vitality resides in the roots. Amino acids are synthesized here and later transported to the upper reaches of the tree. This period of dormancy imbues the tea with a wealth of nutrients. The mild sunlight in winter results in slow tree growth, facilitating the formation of aromatic compounds. Spring tea boasts a rich and vibrant character, characterized by its glossy appearance, robust aroma, bold flavor, sweet aftertaste, and tender yet substantial leaves. These leaves are often plump and covered in fine hairs, with prominent leaf veins and slightly indistinct serrated edges. Such characteristics set spring tea apart from its summer and autumn counterparts.
Among spring teas, the first flush, known as “Mingqian Tea,” reigns supreme. It showcases the pinnacle of quality, boasting potent aroma and abundant nutrients. Teas crafted from this early harvest offer a deep and satisfying experience, making them highly sought-after collectibles.
Summer Tea: The Intensity of the Sun
Summer tea, plucked during the sweltering months, encounters a unique set of challenges. Tea trees experience rapid growth, akin to thickening overnight. However, this accelerated growth comes at a price—the aging of the trees. As a result, summer tea must be harvested promptly. Despite the robust outward appearance, the growth rate outpaces the tree’s ability to absorb nutrients adequately. Consequently, the content inside may not match the tea’s lush exterior. The amino acid and vitamin levels dip, while tea anthocyanins, caffeine, and tea polyphenols surge. These shifts manifest in a more bitter taste.
The flavor of summer tea tends to be less robust, and the rapid growth contributes to weaker roots, limiting nutrient uptake. This results in thinner, more bitter tea, challenging the palate. Typically, summer tea finds utility as a supplement for large-scale production, where sheer volume may take precedence over quality.
Autumn Tea: A Season of Aroma and Nuance
Autumn tea occupies a unique position, straddling the qualities of spring and summer varieties. In the early stages of autumn, as temperatures moderate, the tea resembles spring harvests. However, as the season progresses, limited rainfall poses challenges. Leaves may appear dry and aged, bearing the effects of previous spring and summer collections. Nutritional deficiencies become apparent, reflecting in the tea’s overall content.
Autumn tea exhibits a slender, delicate appearance with noticeably thinner leaves. Its flavor is milder, with reduced bitterness. However, its standout feature is its captivating aroma. The robust fragrance, coupled with a restrained bitterness, yields a distinctive tea experience, enticing those seeking a different dimension of taste.
When are Teas Harvested?
- Purple Tea is harvested in the Spring between March and May.
- Black Tea is harvested in the late Summer.
- Lower elevation, smaller leaf black tea is harvested in early summer around June.
- Oolong are harvested in the Spring and Autumn.
- Some premium Oolongs, such as our Signature Oolong Tea, is harvested right at the end of winter entering spring just as the temperature permits.
- Puerh tea is harvested throughout the Spring and Autumn.
- White tea is harvested in the Spring.