I thought I'd get away from Beijing's sweltering heat and humidity by coming to Wu Yi Shan. I arrived at night and it was raining, so the temperature was relatively cool, around 26 degrees C. I checked into my nice hotel overlooking the river and settled in for the night. I was reminded of what a city boy I am by the frogs that serenaded all night long! I was awakened by Mrs. Jiang Feng a full hour earlier than expected. Country folks don't believe in sleeping in until 7:00 AM! Anyway, we had breakfast and drove over to their tea factory to cup ALL of their production and see to the teas I had ordered.
This is the kind of opportunity where you can check if you still have what it takes to be a tea man/girl. Mrs. Jiang's truck's airconditioning was not working and the factory has an ancient fan that was kind of working. The temperature was inching toward 38 degrees C with high humidity as we started to cup all 33 varieties of Wu Yi yan cha grown by her family. Sometimes I wish I would just keep my mouth shut! When she asked if I wanted to see all their selections I should have had enough intelligence to be a bit less enthusiastic when I said yes! After cupping everything, I only approved one purchase from the list of teas I was considering. This is a unique yan cha called Yan Ru, reputed to be one of the original ancient varieties that was virtually extinct but is now being brought back. I found that it has a distinctive kind of floral that I find interesting. I'll talk about it further after the tea arrives in California and I have a chance to finish firing it at our Oakland facilities.
After the humidity and the cuppings, even the beautiful Wu Yi Shan cannot keep me there another moment. I hopped the next plane to Fuzhou to see my jasmine tea partner, Mr. Chen Qin Di, to firm up my commitment to start growing our own jasmine flowers next year. I'll assure Mr. Chen that I will support him financially until the jasmine farm is up and running. I am excited and looking forward to producing the best jasmine tea known to mankind (ok, I am an optimist!).