In the high elevation tea gardens on Mengding Mountain in Sichuan Province, the sweet and tender early spring tea buds are covered with soft, fluffy down. The most coveted batches of Gan Lu are from the Pre-Qing Ming, 1st Spring Harvesting Season, which begins on Mengding Mountain in the middle of March and ends on April 5th (Qing Ming).
These tiny buds yield a refreshing tea that possesses a soft, full-bodied taste punctuated with a beguiling, delicate sweetness reminiscent of fresh bamboo shoot or sugar cane, with an ever-so-slightly-astringent aftertaste. Its lovely aroma brings to mind both bamboo and wet grass (the aroma also sometimes known as ‘rain‘.) Despite the small size of the leaves, this tea delivers a satisfying cup. This very appealing quality has earned this tea the name, Gan Lu, or Sweet Dew. The steeped liquor is extremely pale, so do not steep by intensity of color, because this leaf has none!
Mengding Mountain Gan Lu is cultivated in the vicinity of the original tea gardens at Gan Lu Si Temple, where Wu LiZhen is reported to have planted the first cultivated tea bushes in China around 53 BC. This tea was enjoyed by Song dynasty Emperor Xiaozong ( r. 1162-1189), who gave Wu Li Zhen the title Master of Sweet Dew.
While many of China’s teas have been in production for centuries, Gan Lu is considered to be one of the oldest green teas in continuous production. It is an important early spring tea since it became an Imperial favorite during the Tang Dynasty (960-1279). The harvest of Gan Lu is small and most of the production is consumed domestically or, broadly, within East Asia. We are thrilled that again in 2021 we have obtained this excellent Pre-Qing Ming tea for our customers. Many of you have become loyal fans of this tea over the years.
This season we will again have the 250 gram, paper-wrapped option. And we will have several other spring teas in this traditional packaging for 2021.
This is a very special tea for lovers of sweet, distinctive, regional and seasonal China green teas. Do not wait too long to order this tea, as it sells out every year, even though we receive several shipments of it each year!
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