Emerald Sprouting Yun Wu (Rolled Style) tea is from the heart of green tea production in China’s Guizhou Province. We tasted this in its tea garden on our second trip to China and it was one of the green teas that we became the most excited about from that trip. We have not been able to offer it for several years due to ‘garden failure’, but find it to be an old friend that happily re-joins our repertoire periodically. When we first offered a tea in this style (in the early 1990’s) that tea was known as ‘Bubbling Spring Rolled Green‘, (anyone remember that?!) which certainly brings to mind the imagery of tea plants thriving alongside a clear stream in a casual-looking, wild tea garden delineated by towering native bamboo, deep in the mountains of eastern China. When we saw it growing in its garden it was showcasing some of the earliest tea garden companion planting; and the bamboo used to mark out the organic gardens was a novel concept (that has now become somewhat common).
This is an unusual tea; it is a green tea, but has much of the character of a floral oolong. Emerald Sprouting Yun Wu tea is soft, lush and round, with an aroma that is also reminiscent of a buttery, modern, green-style oolong such as our wonderful BaoZhong.
As with oolong preparation, the leaf used for this green tea must be of a certain size in order to be rolled and folded in the manner that it is. So one of the major challenges for the tea maker is to find leaf that will grow to this optimal size while not becoming bitter or harsh from requiring such a long growing season. This set of particulars is quite possible, and by using the correct sub-variety in the appropriate terroir, our tea maker has manufactured another delicious harvest of this tea. The sub-variety used must grow quickly, but only to a modest ultimate size. The leaf must also be elastic enough to roll and fold, and the ‘bundle’ must hold its shape after forming. While technically a mao feng pluck, this is not the most important aspect of it cultivation or harvest.
The leaf will unfurl slowly at first and then more quickly as the leaf re-hydrates. The bundles require attention during steeping until we become familiar with their absorption of water and release of aromatics and flavor components. The flavor release has a tendency to want to ‘bolt’ towards the beginning, and then the steeping time must be shortened once the leaves have unfurled so as to not release flavor too quickly. These bundles should be able to be re-steeped seven or eight times, if the individual steeps are in the range of two minutes per.
One of the benefits of this type of manufacture is the long life of the finished tea. In fact, often this style of tea improves with age as it fixes and rests, similar to the maturation from the intentional ‘resting’ of some semiball-rolled oolongs or ball-rolled black teas.
It has a subtle briskness, almost celery-like in aroma, that easily identifies it as a proud member of the spring-harvested green tea family. Beautiful in both its dry and wet form, be sure to admire the changes in the leaf during preparation In the cup, the liquor has a beautiful deep coloration in the celery/avocado family of pale, but deep vegetal green. Emerald Sprouting Yun Wu green tea is one of those green teas that just satisfies completely, on every aesthetic and taste level. It is especially delicious in the cooler weather months or combined with fruit juice or lemonade in the style of an ‘Arnold Palmer’ (which is, of course, traditionally made with black tea).
A true beauty and a customer favorite.
Please Note: This tea is not what is known as ‘Emerald Green Sprouting‘ (and has several other poetic names). That tea is a much earlier, bird-beak style pluck from Anhui Province and is a fine pluck green tea with a milder, sweet tea flavor distinct to the Spring Green Teas of Anhui Province.