Tuesday, May 31, 2016
2016 Spring Tea Trip: Muzha - Outdoor Oxidation
We were very lucky to catch Farmer Zhang doing outdoor oxidation/outdoor withering. That day's temperature was between 20C to 26C.
He told us it was a good day for outdoor oxidation because it was cloudy with sun coming out from time to time. He said tea made during this kind of weather is better than from during a bright, sunny day. "Tea leaves won't get 'hurt' by bright light and they don't soften rapidly. Moisture in the leaves will evaporate evenly."
He picked up a set of leaves for me to smell. "Leaves with proper outdoor withering will produce a very nice fragrance and one can smell that from the back of the leaves. With good outdoor withering, tea will taste more interesting and have more flavor, too."
I am a big fan of Farmer Zhang's traditional style Tieguanyin, very rich, and full of goodness. To be there and to watch him process tea means a lot to me. It helps me to understand the tea, and to appreciate the tea more.
He procceeded to stir the leaves. "The main purpose is to help the evaporation from every leaf happen at the same speed. When this happens, there will be no odd odor or taste in the tea."
He also talked about the moisture, air currents, and sunlight, and how they would help to make a good tea. Making a good tea is art and science!
When I drink a cup of his Tieguanyin, I get to relive these wonderful experiences. I hope that through these stories and pictures, you can also feel Farmer's Zhan's dedication and love for making excellent tea.
*Content is from a recording by David Galli. Photos are by Jake Knapp.