This morning headed to Moganshan to watch some yellow tea being made. It is the rarest of Chinese yellow teas. It is virtually unknown outside of Dejing country, which is about 30 minutes north of Hangzhou. In 2010 the tea had a surprising spiciness and I am hoping that will be present in this year’s tea as well.
When we arrived at the top of the mountain the head of the local tea council came to meet us along with a newspaper reporter, the local TV station, and the whole picking staff. Our little tea tour is becoming a local news item. We had tea all around with a warm greeting, interviews, followed by some more great country cooking.
We spent the early afternoon watching Wang Xiangchen making Mogan Huang Ya, a rare yellow tea. First, after withering the freshly picked leaves, the tea is fried in very hot wok. The temperature is too hot for just one person to fry the tea: people take turns stirring the tea with each ‘turn’ lasting less than a minute, rotating between four or five people without missing beat, otherwise the tea would quickly burn. When the frying is over she kneads the tea while it is still warm to shape the leaves, after which she fries it again at a lower heat. She then wraps it in a cloth into the shape of a small square. She then slowly roasts the tea in a bamboo oven over bamboo charcoal. Periodically she will open the cloth and fluff the tea so that it roast evenly, and re-wraps it. After around two hours it will be put into an oven for the finishing.
After a hike around the gardens we were invited to see a rebuilt Buddhist temple that had almost been finished but had not yet opened. The road leading up to the Temple had not been completed either and the switch-backs were so narrow that we had to get out of our little bus to allow for enough clearance for us to make the steep turns. The mountain where the temple is situated is quite steep, so we had a good climb up the stairs. For the bus, coming down was even trickier than going up, and we ended up putting some scratches on our fender getting around the turns.
It put us a little bit late for our dinner hosted by the local government. It was another amazing banquet, done like only the government can do, which is no less grand than is way during the past.