Anji Bai Cha – Famous Since the Tang dynasty

What’s in This Video

In this video, Zhuping discusses the famous tea Anji Bai Cha. This has some history that spans several dynasties, although it is also rumored that some of its history can be attributed to marketing. The video introduces the portion of the tour done in 2009 where Seven Cups is given the opportunity to visit the mother bush for Anji Bai Cha. At the time that the tour visited the area, it was quite cool (below 10 degrees Celsius) and rainy. These are not ideal growing conditions for this bush. Skip ahead to 3:15 if you want to see the tour visit of the bush and the region surrounding it.

The Anji Bai Cha Mother Bush

The mother bush is attended to by the Gui family which, as Zhuping describes, has been living in the farming community area (known as Heng Keng Wu) for about 13 generations. Locally, this family has been known for being the caretakers of old tea bushes. There is some confusion surround the lore for this particular bush. Some believe that this is the same bush identified in the emperor Song Hui Zhong’s book loosely translated as Treatise on Tea -大觀茶論, or dà guān chá lùn. In this 900 year old book, the emperor famously devotes a chapter to bai cha, which translates to “white tea”. This is not to be confused with the category of white tea, however, that resembles the color of white jade. After all, this category of tea had not yet been established during the time this book would have been written. It more likely refers to tea with albescent qualities, a mutation, that during this time would not have had a precise lineage. This description was a call out to bushes with lighter colored leaves. 

Zhuping points out the bush in the video which is marked by a red enclosure. There were formally two bushes, as Zhuping describes, but one was lost when there was an attempt that had been made to transport to a park nearby that would have made it easier to reach and visit. The stone behind the bush reads bai cha zu, meaning “white tea bush ancestor”.

Last Remarks on Anji Bai Cha

There are two different types of Anji Bai Cha tea. Ming Qian Anji Bai Cha is picked slightly earlier than Yu Qian Anji Bai Cha.