Spring still sings: Anji Baicha and Anji Hong

Newsletter Archive Jun. 17, 2022

 tall pint glass and a short glass pitcher full of brewing pale green tea leaves in bright sunlight, set on a wooden stool in front of vegetation. An arm reaches into frame to stir the leaves in the pint glass into a swirl with a pair of small wooden tea tongs.
Brew up some of these brilliant Baicha leaves in a pint glass or in one of our Glass Half-Moon Pitchers.

The pale jade leaves of 2022 Anji Baicha green teas are here. It took longer than usual, but this year’s harvest showed up as sweet and fragrant as a meadow after a rain shower.

It’s been a wild season for Anji County. The spring harvest saw high price swings for green tea leaves in the earliest part of the season. The threat of quarantine led to nail biting decisions on the part of some growers to send pluckers home early. The producers of your teas, Mr. Yu Shunhu and his family, bravely navigated the volatility of the early spring and managed to steadily move ahead with their plucking and processing on schedule.

We’re proud to be working again with Mr. Yu this year. It seems appropriate to be debuting his teas in time for Father’s Day, because it’s obvious to us that Mr. Yu sees his work as a tea maker as a central part of providing a happy life to his daughter and now grandson.

Next to a large basket full of tea on the floor, a crouching man and a toddler pick up handfuls of leaves to smell. 
Tea maker Yu Shunhu showing his grandson how to smell the tea. He’s doing great!

As a tea maker, Mr. Yu is outward-looking and innovative. While his skills are grounded in a long career in his native Anji County, he is quick to experiment with new tea bush varieties and processing techniques. For example, in order to perfect his Anji Hong, he studied from makers of Qimen County’s famous black tea. The result is the most aromatic and full flavored Anji Hong we’ve ever tasted. (Did we mention it’s now back in stock too?)

Mr. Yu’s Anji Baicha productions are sold in discrete lots. Each lot is divided between different periods in the harvest season and also between specific parts of his garden or the gardens of other small growers in Anji County. Each bears the subtle but distinct flavor of its micro-origin as well as the weather conditions on the day of harvest and processing. With an array of lots from each spring, we work to select the ones with the most striking aroma and flavor and then rush to put in our order before his tea sells out.

This year’s Ming Qian Anji Baicha carries a complex sweetness, delicate like pastry, bright and enduring. The later-harvested Yu Qian Anji Baicha carries a slightly gentler sweetness along with a greener quality, like the mellow aroma of fresh straw.

A cup of either tea feels like you’ve opened a bottle of spring air – exactly what we want as we head into the official start of summer next week.


Close-up of pale-colored fresh buds and leaves of Anji Baicha growing on the tip of a tea branch, surrounded by the larger dark green mature leaves.
The brilliant pale golden-green leaves of Baicha on the bush.