Newsletter Archive May 6, 2022
The fresh crop has arrived for 2022 Guzhu Zi Sun (Purple Bamboo Shoot), one of our most unique and small-scale green teas.
With the release of this new tea, we’re proud to uphold our years-running Mother’s Day tradition of featuring Purple Bamboo Shoot as tea made by a small-but-mighty team of mothers, grandmothers, great grandmothers and a patch of tea plants growing in a bamboo grove.
Chief tea maker and great grandmother, Ms. Pei Hongfeng, organizes the team to make tea once a year. They make enough leaves to fill our modest order and enough extra to share with the guests at her house-turned-mountain-inn.
This is not the type of tea that’s produced with export in mind. It’s made to suit the taste of the neighborhood or those lucky enough to be passing through.
A tea this small-scale does not have the handsome uniformity of, say, Anji Baicha. Rather, the shape and color of Ms. Pei’s tea’s gnarly leaves speak of their origin beyond the hedge. Leaves are full of dark and light greens from the genetic variety of their old seed-grown bushes. This is preindustrial tea, one purely the product of the skilled people and nativized tea bushes of the Guzhu.
Guzhu, of course, is a tea origin that goes way back. Purple Bamboo Shoot itself has been renowned since the Tang Dynasty, when it became one of the earliest recorded teas delivered to the imperial court as an annual tribute. While a lot has changed about tea in the 1,200 years since Lu Yu first wrote about Guzhu tea in his Classic of Tea, there’s no question that the old spirit of this historic tea is preserved in Ms. Pei’s skill and tea bushes.
For our part, we’re proud to offer this tea as part of our own small annual tribute, although not to emperors, but to the mother-figures in our lives.
Steep this tea long and cool in a pint glass, resist the urge to fuss over it, and sip it casually. You’ll get aromas as sweet as the air during the Acacia bloom.