In the Gu Zhu Valley rests the origins of documented Chinese Tea Culture, for it is the place where Lu Yu managed the Emperor’s tea factory during the Tang Dynasty. He did so for twenty years while he wrote the first book about tea and tea culture. Even today the Cha Jing has relevance in the study of tea. The tea that was grown and processed in Lu Yu’s factory, which employed 10,000 workers, was Gu Zhi Zi Sun. This tea is still produced in the Gu Zhu Valley. This tea has become very sought after since the Changxing government built a replica of the Lu Yu factory and awareness about the tea benefited.
Gu Zhu Valley is a small place and does not produce great quantities of tea. When I first started visiting there, the was a lot of wild tea that was getting harvested in the forests up in the hills and was sold locally. This year in Changxing there was a fake 2010 Zi Sun being sold even before the harvest had started, fresh from Sichuan. It is amazing how that works. We are buying ours from one of the traditional tea makers that still is havesting from wild bushes in the forest and making tea in the traditional way, all by hand. Notice that it takes two people, one to control the fire and one to fry. In the beginning the wok is very hot and is kept at lower temperatures as the process unfolds. The only thermostat is the tea maker who instructs the person tending the fire. Here are some photos that were taken in early April. There are also some pictures of the Lu Yu Factory Museum that I took a couple of years ago before it opened.