It is the second day of our tea tour and we are in Anji County. It is a lovely spring day but it was a little chilly when we left this morning from Changxing. I hope that if you are following our posts you check out the Google links at the top of the posts.
Today we hiked a mountain to do a pilgrimage to the Anji Bai Cha mother bush. This cultivator was lost for 800 years and was rediscovered in 1980. The drive took us high into the mountains and the view is colored by the brush strokes of bamboo moving in the wind. The grey cliffs peaking out from the green of the bamboo are particularly striking.
Anji Bai Cha, which means white tea, is really a green tea. White tea is only been around for a couple of hundred years, but because of the name, this ancient tea has been the basis of erroneous statements to be made by people writing tea books in English, that white tea is ancient and rare, neither of which is true. Bai Cha from Anji county is however. All of the current crop comes from cuttings that come from this one bush, that is the only surviving bush from that ancient cultivar.
We stopped in a small village high in the mountains and hiked up a steep path for about 45 minutes. Higher up in the mountain valley, we could see a stream running down the middle with crystal clear water. The family that cares for the bush has a small tea house out on an overlooking patio. We all had a glass of tea that was harvested a couple of days before. As I’m writing this I’m trying to think of a metaphor to sufficiently capture this moment but am coming up empty (If Josh were here, he might write a poem or so he claims). It is such a pleasure for me to be able to share this experience with the rest of the group. It is impossible not to be deeply moved by the sense of culture and history that is manifested in this sweet leaf.
After making it down the mountain we visited and Anji Bai Cha garden, factory, and were hosted by the producers to a grand dinner experience, which included deep fried cicada larve. Yum. All in all we all agreed it was a great day.
Here are some of the many photos that were taken and a short video introduction of our group. (John and Lyn are missing, but they are still with us if any family or friends are reading.)