In Qian Jia Zhai, they call the red tea “Daughter of the Forest.” We didn’t have time to pick the tea ourselves, but we got to see the trees. The tea all came from trees that are two to seven hundred years old. Red tea is very oxidized. It is picked and withered for a long time. Our tea this month was naturally withered, spread out on bamboo mats. Making red tea is a simple process, and even though Yunnan is more famous nowadays for puerh tea, it has always been a region of red tea as well, producing as much or more red tea as other regions for some decades. In fact, puerh’s rise to fame is rather recent, and in Yunnan there was more red tea by volume fifteen years ago. But our red tea isn’t a plantation tea, since it was grown semi-wild in the forest. The tea was picked early in the morning and withered for a few hours to remove moisture and start oxidation. When we arrived, the tea was all ready to be rolled. We divided it up into twenty-some trays and began rolling. Many red teas are rolled for a long time—up to ninety minutes, in fact—but we rolled our tea much less. Auntie Ai came around and inspected each person’s tea, smelling it to see if it was done. No one rolled for more than thirty minutes. Early the next morning, we spread the tea out on large mats to dry in the sun. As we were processing this month’s tea, we made several announcements that all the participants should think of others who were not present and put their good wishes and prayers into the tea, as it would eventually be sent to all of you. We hope you can feel all the love and good intentions that were put into this month’s tea, from all of us and from Auntie Ai, who expressed a heartfelt desire to meet you all some day.
Daughter of the Forest is one of our all-time favorite red teas. It is strong and juicy, and very patient. The protected ecosystem of Qing Jia Zhai thrums through the leaves, the liquor, the bowl and even your hands before you take the first sip. Try holding the bowl for a second before taking a drink and see if you can feel the forest by touch. Daughter of the Forest has a deep yang Qi that enlivens you and changes the rest of the day. It is, of course, best drunk in the morning or early afternoon. Share it with as many loved ones as possible and watch how it opens hearts and eyes to the moment!
Subscribe now and start reading with all of us!
One of the many benefits of being in this global community is the amazing guided trips we take each year to tea-rich lands. We are working on more such trips and scholarships to help many of you come along. We do our best to bring the whole community with us in spirit, both in the crafting of the tea and in this issue’s special coverage of the trip.
The largest difference you will notice for this New Year, starting with this issue, is that Global Tea Hut will now be much more of a multi-media experience. Several key places in the magazine now have QR-codes that link to our brand new video page!
and start reading with all of us!