Zisun Tea (紫笋茶) made Changxing famous since the Tang Dynasty, when Lu Yu (the 'Tea Saint') lived and worked in these hills. He used these local cultivars in the production of 'tribute tea coins'.
Zhang Wen Hua is a farmer and a scholar, devoted to preserving old tea traditions. Her tea trees, many of which are over 80 years old, are located in a valley surrounded by mountains, covered by protected national forest. She is very happy to share tea and the culture around it.
This year, she chose to share two styles of Zisun, handcrafted with very distinct sub-cultivars.
Zisun | Jiu Keng Zao
Jiu Ken Zao (鸠坑早 - very coarsely translated as 'dove cave early') is what most growers today use for competitions, given its particular sweetness and aroma, often described as incense-like. Zhang's 2021 Jiu Keng Zao was harvested on March 2, and features tasting notes of pine nuts and wind among the pines.
Zisun | Ying Shuang
Yin Shuang (迎霜 - coarsely translated as 'welcome the frost') is brighter and greener that its Jiu Keng Zao counterpart, with mild yet very pleasant astringency. Zhang's 2021 Yin Huang was harvested on March 23, and features tasting notes of sunflowers seeds and hints of lime peel.
We recommend using a glass beaker; this method requires awareness throughout a few minutes, but allows you to enjoy the beautiful tea leaves in many ways.
In a beaker with 3g of tea, add enough water at 85ºC to cover the leaves completely and swirl lightly. This is a very good moment to appreciate the aroma of the leaves. After perhaps 45 seconds, when the leaves are hydrated, add another 180 ml of hot water (also ~85ºC). Allow the tea to brew for another 3 minutes.
Decant slowly into your cup, leaving perhaps 25% of the liquid in your beaker; you may get a leaf or two in your cup; eat them.
Please refill your beaker, this time with boiling water, to enjoy another steep. You may repeat this process 3-4 times.