Our recent travels in Zhejiang Province 浙 江 also included a trip to the land of bamboo forests (where Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon was filmed) and tea gardens amongst the hills.
Before touring the tea garden, we of course sampled the tea processed the day before. This is a small family operation, where the tea is processed by hand next door to their home.
After withering, the leaf is shuffled back and forth in this machine, rounding the edges of the bud, and shaping the leaf into a needle-like appearance.
Anji Bai Cha安吉白茶 is a fairly new cultivar discovered in Huzhou prefecture 湖州, the home of Lu Yu, the Sage of Tea. Tea from this cultivar produces a unique white bud with dark veins when infused.
The tea gardens of Anji are relatively young, only twenty years old. Harvests are made in the early spring with utmost care to pick only the top bud and young leaf, producing a delicate and smooth liquor.
Tea from these gardens, harvested by this family, are now being served in Middlebury, Vermont!