Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Sweet Spring Teas | The Seasonality of Tea

Spring is a time of new beginnings and sweet spring teas. Similar to fruits and vegetables, tea has a specific season when it is prime for harvesting. The seasonality of tea is important because the weather has an effect on the delicacy, astringency, and sweetness of the tea. In general, you'll find summer teas to be more bitter, autumn teas more astringent, winter teas more aromatic, and spring teas to be sweeter.

Spring teas are known for their sweet aromas, mild flavors, and lingering aftertaste. Great spring teas include Chinese green, yellow and white teas that are harvested Mid-March when the leaves are packed with nutrients, sugar and provide a fresh aroma. Oolong tea leaves that are harvested during spring are robust and flowery in flavor. White tea comes from young spring leaves that are taken from the newly grown buds before they have fully opened. Harvesting begins during the month of March for Darjeeling and Assam teas from India, Black teas from Nepal, and Oolong teas from Taiwan.

Tea enthusiasts love the spring season. In China the spring tea harvest can be broken down into four categories, Pre-Qing Ming, Before the Rains, Spring, and Late Spring. Black and Green Tea leaves picked before the Chinese Qingming festival, between February and April 5th, are distinguished as Pre-Qing Ming. Leaves picked between April 5th and April 20th are categorized as Before the Rains, they provide a strong flavor and aroma because the rain water has not yet 'diluted' the plant. Tea picked after April 20th and before May 6ths are your Spring teas. Anything picked after May 6th is considered a Late Spring tea.

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