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China: Tips that will make for a memorable trip

29 July 2018

at 20:26 by Social

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With its many landscapes and cultural wonders, needless to say China is a unique destination. Since 2003, both Francois and Jasmin have been exploring China and its great tea gardens and have put together some suggestions for a memorable trip:

Let go and live it to the fullest

If it’s your first time in China, Francois Marchand strongly suggests to let go and be open minded. China is a huge country whose culture is very different from ours: thousands of years of history parallel to ours. So you can expect the unexpected: plans that don’t follow through but also some wonderful surprises. Truth be told, it’s by letting you that you can stumble on what’s wonderful about China. Often, it is by resisting the local culture that you can actually have a very negative experience. After all, travelling is about discovering new things, isn’t it?

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An authentic tea house experience

As you can imagine, there are many different tea houses in any major city and that’s why you should probably avoid the ones in touristic areas. They’re likely overpriced and less authentic. Jasmin suggests to rather look into visiting a tea store where you can discuss with the locals and probably try some of their favourite gems.

Tea garden visit

Tea gardens are quite accessible in China so you shouldn’t worry about visiting without an appointment. While Long Jing is a lovely village with great infrastructures and facilities it’s also very touristic. Its prices are a bit over the average and some of the teas may not be locally sourced but in terms of gardens, it’s definitely worth a look.

Other recommendations: Huang Shan (2h by train from Shanghai), Tangkou village or Junshan island in the Hunan province (where you can find find crops of the very famous and expensive Jun Shan Yin Zhen). Also it’s quite the boat ride.

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The price of tea in China can greatly vary. Obviously, if you buy from the producer it’ll be less expensive than the reseller. Oddly enough, the cost of tea in big cities such as Beijing or Shanghai is similar to the price we pay here. Unbelievable, but true! Thanks to our strong relations built over decades and the quantity that we buy, we can often resell the teas at less than what the locals can purchase themselves! Bottom line: if you like the taste of the tea and you enjoy the company of the person who’s selling it to you – if the price seems right to you, then those should be the only criterias.

India: Kevin gives us a great vintage of Jun Chiyabari

18 July 2018

at 18:06 by Social

Népal Jun Chiyabari Yabukita bio. édition spéciale

One of the industry’s most recognized Nepali gardens these days is Jun Chiyabari. They are hard to beat. The garden was planted with small plots of various cultivars, making each tea they make a unique blend. It comes as no surprise that this is currently one of Kevin’s favourite gardens, and he selected an exceptional batch from them during his 2018 spring travels.

A truly rare and unique tea

When Bachan Gwayali and his brother Lochan planted Jun Chiyabari, high on the valley slopes they chose to grow some curious tea plants. One was the well-known Japanese cultivar Yabukita. They dedicated a tiny plot to the Yabukita, it is very unusual for it to be growing at 1900m altitude. Instead of the traditional production of Yabukita, which uses steam, this tea is handcrafted with dry heat in Jun Chiyabari’s small machines.

Batch J-21 is a prime example of experimentation and originality. With its unique flavour profile, Kevin could not resist buying the full 400g of this grand cru for you to discover it!

The first infusion reveals a delicate attack, surprising for Jun Chiyabari teas, many of their teas explode on the mouth. The Yabukita makes a gentle entrance, without rushing through the taste buds, with a thicker and creamier liquor. As you continue to infuse the aromas expand in the centre of the mouth (fresh corn, spinach, muscatel, melon) building up to a an prolonged bold finish that seductively lingers for an unexpected time.

A truly rare tea that will be available online only for a very limited time.

Travels 2018: Central China with Francois

6 July 2018

at 18:15 by Social

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François travelled around China with a very special guest this year. From April 8th until the 26th, he had the special company of Leika, his 11-year-old daughter. If you haven’t had the chance to follow some of their wacky photos and videos on our social media yet, here is an overview of their trip.

Some travel updates

François and Leika visited Mr. Pan for the first time, in She Xian County, located in a small mountain village (2 hours drive from Huangshan). They were impressed to see Mr. Pan still performs his own manual transformation over a wood fire, alongside his wife who takes care of the harvesting. A small but dedicated team, producing a maximum of 1kg per day.

His Ding Gu Da Fang caught their attention, and will be added it to the catalogue this year. A tea that will appeal to all Long Jing fans both in both its form and taste.

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Playing Favourites

Wei Shan Mao Jian is back this year with its organic certification. Although Mr. Wang’s garden has technically been organic for many years now, he had to get it re-approved following certification changes in China – a process that took over 2 years. We are very happy to make it official. A lovely tea with notes of green vegetables, butter and wildflowers. Sublime!

As Francois was doing some comparative tasting with the Wei Shan Mao Jian, he fell for the Grade 1 and bought a micro-lot, just this year.

Objects and Accessories

Francois and Leika then spent time with one of our favorite potters, Mrs. Zhang who is currently working on a two new teapots to arrive this fall. One is a as well as on a larger format that we all loved.

Fun fact: Mrs. Zhang did not study porcelain- it was following her advertising studies that she headed to Jingdezhen and chose to settle down there. She specializes in overseeing the design of the objects while her partner takes care of the technical side. She draws her inspiration from the shapes and colours of the natural world.

Camellia Sinensis Award for Excellence

Mr. Ye, our Tai Ping Hou Kui producer, was the proud recipient of the ‘Camellia Sinensis Award for Excellence’ this year. François and Leika had the pleasure of presenting it to him in person. They also had the pleasure of seeing his 10-year-old son, whom François has seen growing up over the years, ever since the day he was born.

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Honorable Mentions

The Lu An Gua Pian and the Yong Xi Huo Qing are both exquisite this year!

 
 

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