François Marchand - Central China 2010

2010
Central China 2010

First stop on this year’s tour was the town of Xin Yang home of the Xin Yang Mao Jian.  Here I met Mr.Huang and Mrs.Li, two producers that I had met last year. Just a few minutes after my arrival I was tasting Spring tea!  I had two styles to chose from, both very interesting.  I decided to go with a similar quality to the 2009, a little more expensive this year due to a loss in production as we have seen all over China this year.  Once the tasting was finished we left the office for a garden visit.

The next day I met Mr.Cheng, producer of the Huo Shan Huang Ya.  Before visiting the garden and tasting the teas he took me to a 3-hour outdoor show, in the rain!  Later I warmed up while selecting the teas and had a nice warm supper with the family.

From Hefei, capital of Anhui I headed for the village of Jing Xian.  Here I was going to meet a producer I had met 3 years previously to check out his Yong Xi Huo Qing, a tea I was happy to re-integrate into the catalogue.  The same producer manufactures the Lan Xiang using completely different transformation techniques.

After a brief visit to the village of Jin Xian I arrived in my favourite region: Huang Shan where I tasted some excellent Mao Fengs.  The following morning I had arranged to meet up with Jasmin and Alexis We were to take the magical trip to the beautiful, elusive gardens of Taiping Hou Kui.  These producers are in a hidden valley that is only accessible by boat.  Aside from the picturesque setting the teas are delicious.  This year I managed to pick up a better grade of Hou Kui than last year for a very reasonable price.

My next stop was the small village of Wuyuan where I bought the Zi Mei then on to another favourite place, the mountain of Lushan.  Having selected the Lushan Yun Wu I headed for the capital of Hunan; Changsha to explore the region in more depth and to visit the producers of the famous yellow tea- Junshuan Yin Zhen.  I finally managed to get some photos of the unusual process of manufacturing yellow tea.  Before leaving Changsha I visited the Hunan Tea Research Institute.  Here they were developing several very interesting teas such as the Gao Qiao Yun Feng, to be found in our selection this year.  I had the chance to visit the labs where the Institute carries out much of its experimental research and the nurseries where they are experimenting with various styles of garden practice and different cultivars.  Among the young plants they were studying were some Japanese Yabukita and a large amount of the Bai Ye, the plant from Anji that is taking the Chinese market by storm.  I look forward to future research visits to the Institute.

Before leaving Changsha I visited the Hunan Tea Research Institute.  Here they were developing several teas such as the Gao Qiao Yun Feng, to be found in our selection this year.
I had the chance to visit the factory where the Institute carries out much of its experimental research and the nurseries where they are experimenting with various styles of garden practice and different cultivars.  Among the young plants they were studying were some Japanese Yabukita and a large amount of the Bai Ye, the plant from Anji that is taking the Chinese market by storm.  I look forward to future research visits to the Institute.