Notes of marigold, pineapple, and fresh peppercorn.
Green tea from Fujian, China・April 2020・黃牡丹・Organic
Huang Mudan is a return to our roots, and a reminder of what drives us to continue sourcing tea year after year.
The Huang Mudan or Yellow Peony cultivar was developed and released by the Wuyi Tea Research Institute just ten years ago. On average, a new planting takes a minimum of 4-5 years before the tea leaves mature enough to be picked. 2013 marked not only our first collection at Song, but coincided with the first year of full commercial production in this tea garden.
From our 2013 description of this tea, “It takes a visionary producer to build a wholly organic tea garden around a new cultivar, and to continue investing in that garden through the five years it takes for the tea plant to mature. We like working with visionaries.” Little has changed.
When we arrived at the garden in early April, the fields were washed in beautiful shades of gold and green. Harvesting had commenced, and the hand-picked chartreuse colored leaf buds were spread on woven bamboo mats withering in the shade. After withering, the leaf buds were pan-roasted: briefly at a high temperature to arrest enzymatic breakdown and set the green, and then a longer lower temperature roasting to shape and dry the leaves.
The finished tea buds have the appearance of golden spears. Rehydrated, these spears unfurl into strikingly beautiful tender leaf buds with a tea liquor the color of pale corn silk. The mouth feel is clean, but there is complexity in its simplicity and the length of its finish.
Located an hour's drive south of Fuding, this remote garden grows from mineral rich soil, and its proximity to the coast ensured a high degree of moisture. While the elevation, at 600-700 meters above sea level is not high for a tea garden, the climate in the area mimics the cooler, higher elevation areas around Fuding County.
This is one of the most experimental gardens we’ve visited in Fujian in terms of new cultivars and organic stewardship methods. The garden uses a mix of mechanical, and electronic methods for pest control – although the most important, and one that Huang Mudan benefits from the most – is early leaf bud harvesting.
Brew: 4 grams・150 ml・180° F・1 min
Huang Mudan does allow for range in brewing. A short brew produces sweet clean flavors, but we suggest a longer brew of a minute and a half, which produces a richness and complexity. Alternatively, brew in a pre-warmed glass with a small amount of leaves. For this method, reduce the dose to 3 grams of tea leaves per 180ml ounces of 180F water. Allow the leaves to slowly settle as they rehydrate and simply sip directly from the cup.
More familiar with our old quantities? Here’s the conversion:
|Metric quantities||Ounce equivalent||Servings|
|30 grams (new size!)||1.05 oz.||5-8|
|60 grams||2.10 oz.||10-15|
|120 grams||4.20 oz.||20-30|
|240 grams||8.46 oz.||40-60|