Imagine walking into a sun-dappled clearing in a pine forest: that’s the feeling in this vibrant chartreuse-colored cup. The light but round body holds verdant flavors of summer greens (think stir-fried bok choy or creamed spinach) grounded by nutty, sunflower seed notes. A classic style of green tea from Anhua County in central Hunan Province, it’s produced only once a year; the name songzhen means pine needles, referring to the shape of the carefully crafted leaves, and nodding to this important tree in Chinese culture which signifies strength and resilience.
This lot is from a high-elevation organic garden (over 3,000 feet) with heavily wooded terrain, which provides natural shading for the tea plants. Hand-harvested in March—in the prized period before the Qing Ming festival in early April—the leaves were allowed to briefly wither indoors before undergoing a short pan-firing of about 5 minutes. The painstaking process of rolling by hand yields the characteristic long, twisted strips, which are finished with a final drying over a wood fire.
Steep with water below boiling (~180°F) to preserve the inherent sweetness, and watch as each needle shape unfurls into a tender spring leaf.
Region: Hunan Province
Tasting Notes: pine nut, spinach, sweet
Harvest Season: Spring 2023
Click here to order a small sample size of this tea.