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Premium Tie Guan Yin oolong tea from Fujian.

Comparing 2013's and 2014's loose leaf teas

Introduction - Delving into the expertise of tea farmers

If you are looking to find out what this year’s newest Yezi teas have in store, you have come to the right place. With the new season of teas in full swing, we thought that it would be fun to ask our farmers about the differences between this year’s teas and last’s. From changes in harvest sizes to changes in tea leaf sizes, and everything in between, we will be surveying the lay of the land and giving you an exclusive delve into the expertise of tea farmers. Let’s find out what was discovered!

Weather - The Master of Tea Harvests

Long Jing Green Tea Farmer

Weather dictates many important aspects of tea farming. The rains help the soil and aid the plants in gathering nutrients. And along with that, the amount of sunlight received daily helps determine plant growth – resulting in an earlier or later harvest. Although not pleasant for the tea farmers themselves, the colder and longer winter this year affected the teas quite positively.

Since each farmer we spoke to works and harvests in a different region, there were unique weather situations that each farmer spoke to us about. In Fuding, where our white tea is grown, the season was very rainy. This, of course, is very good for teas. In the land of our Long Jing teas, Hangzhou, the winter was drier than last year’s. Although, a dry spell would typically be detrimental to tea plants, this dryness did not have a noticeable negative effect. And finally, way up in the Nan Hu mountain range, where all of our black teas (sans Lapsang Souchong) and our Tie Guan Yin teas are grown, the weather was foggier than last year. Fog not only reduces dryness in plants, it also reduces heat - both reductions are beneficial to tea plant growth. The only meteorological factor that negatively affected teas this year was a hail storm in the mountains of Nan Hou which caused the delay of Tie Guan Yin harvesting for thirty days.

Harvest Times - What does a Longer Winter mean for the Harvests?

Long Jing Green Tea

In general, because of the longer winter, most teas will be harvested later than last year. For Long Jing teas and black teas, the harvests will be 5 to 7 days later. For Tie Guan Yin, as mentioned above, the harvest will be thirty days later due to the hail storm. The exception to this is white tea, which will be harvested 10 days earlier than last year. This means that there will be a higher yield of Bai Hao Yin Zhen and Master Grade Bai Mu Dan – the two highest quality white teas and the two white teas that must be picked earliest in Spring.

Tea Performance - What do we have in store for the quality of these teas?

You may be asking: “Just what does all of this mean exactly for the tea itself?”

The short answer? Better Tea!

All farmers say that, largely due to the weather, this year’s harvest is better than last year’s. Weather helps dictate harvest times and together they both have a tremendous effect on the quality and quantity of teas. With that said, there will not only be an increase of quality, but also, an increase of quantity of Master Grade Bai Mu Dan, Bai Hao Yin Zhen, and Long Jing. Long Jing, both Master Grade and High Grade will have thinner and more delicate leaves. For Bai Hao Yin Zhen, due to its earlier harvest, its all-around quality will increase quite noticeably, this year.

Final Words - Springing Forward into Greatness

Spring is always the most joyous season for tea farmers and tea lovers alike. It is the season for new teas, new harvests, and new nuances. And with the promise of even more astounding teas soon to be in our cups, we here at Yezi believe that this year’s spring will be a particularly auspicious one.

If you would like to learn more about our wonderful tea farmers, please be sure to follow our tea farmer link.

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