Even though I’m a tea lover, I hadn’t really thought about the implication of weather and natural disasters on my favorite beverage. A month or so back, I got a lovely letter from Silk Road Teas about this year’s trip to buy teas in China, and it expressed some concern about the effect of the hard winter on the tea crop. This was, of course, all before the earthquake. Worrying about the effect of the snow on the tea bushes now seems like such a small thing! Here’s the letter, which I still find quite interesting as I’d been previously unaware of a seasonal harvest aspect to Chinese teas.
“With the earliest hints of spring, tea lovers and commercial tea buyers alike begin to inquire as to when our new harvest teas will be available. Classic spring teas — Green Snail Spring (Bi Luo Chen), Silver Needle (Yinzhen), Dragon Well (Lung Ching), Bai Mu Dan (White Peony) and Mei Zhan (Drum Mountain Clouds and Mists) come to mind.
“Like so many places in the world, China is experiencing its share of changing and often severe weather patterns. In February, as China celebrated the Lunar New Year (Year of the Rat), snow blanketed much of southeastern China. These provinces, of course, are the most productive of the country’s tea growing regions. With the tea bushes blanketed in white, tea buyers feared the worst – the harvest of competition grade teas was delayed; or worse, have the bushes been damaged?
“We made inquiries to our friends and suppliers in China. Could they inform us a to the condition and timing of the harvest? Word came back quickly that while it had been quite cold, our sources believed that winter’s cold weather, now followed by a consistent spring warming trend, would serve to create a rich-tasting leaf. The contrasting temperatures would impart nuance and character to the leaf. Now, as you receive this letter, we are on our way to China to see exactly what has transpired and bring home new teas. More information will be forthcoming about our travels and new teas in the coming months.”
I do look forward to trying the new teas! With that, a pot of nice green seems to wait for me on this Sunday afternoon.
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In 1983, the family-run tea company Harney & Sons was born. At the time, John Harney started production out of his basement in Salisbury, Connecticut.Today they are headquartered in Millerton, New York where they also run the Millerton Shop. In 2010, Emeric Harney, the grandson of John Harney and 3rd generation Master Tea Blender, opened up the popular Harney & Sons SoHo Shop. While supervising that location, Emeric is also the Marketing Director for his family‘s tea business. At the tea table Emeric shared how his tea journey began at just 3 years old, what his personal tea sessions look like, a tea advice his grandfather passed down to him, and much more.
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