Thursday, July 8, 2010

King of the Mountain: More on My Visit with the Eccentric Mr. Wang

Bai yun cha can be made into green, yellow, or black tea. Mr. Wang made it very light in a glass teapot and he recommends cold brewing (using room temperature water and infusing the tea for a long time) or brewing it with only a few leaves and serving it after it cools. He feels that hot tea is not good for the esophagus. He said that people of Chao Zhou who drink a lot of hot gong fu tea tend to have esophageal damage or cancer, so he wants everyone to throw away their yi xing pots! Obviously, some of his views are rather ridiculous. If his statistics are even correct, those problems might easily have other causes, such as smoking.

In any case, I made the tea for him and his employees using lower temperature water, but stronger than his preference. I thought it tasted fine, but he is entrenched in his own ideas. He didn't say anything, but obviously he didn't agree with me, so both of us wisely left it there. The tea brewed by my method tasted good, with nice flavor and texture, however, it isn't very refined. Mr. Wang could improve it with better production techniques, but he isn't someone you can persuade. After having built one of the largest construction companies in his area he feels like a king, and perhaps rightly so since everyone around agrees with whatever he says and does.

No matter, his efforts are admirable. According to Mr. Wang, Gu Dou Shan means Old Mountain and bai yun cha only grows here. Similar to dan cong and Yunnan tea, bai yun cha can grow into a big tree. He is also growing some Yunnan varietals. All of his tea trees are thriving.

Now I've moved on to Ning Qiang, in Shaanxi Province. Yesterday I visited the tea farm here and fell and almost broke my back. I also visited the site of our future tea factory. It is very exciting. The site is being developed as a "green food production campus" only a kilometer from the future high-speed train station targeted for completion in 1-2 years. On the campus, four people have already built processing factories and two have started production. One facility belongs to the biggest tea producer in the area, who has a 200-acre tea farm and 25,000-square-foot factory and brand new production line.

Our future tea farm looks more awesome each time I visit, although it isn't being maintained because the farmers there know the farm is going to us, so they are not doing any upkeep. The opportunity is amazing. At around 1,000 meters elevation with fresh running spring water, I think we can grow some great teas! I'll post pictures and more details soon.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

While I wouldn't go as far as drinking my tea cold, it is true that drinking very hot beverages substantially increases the risk of Oesophageal cancer - it is one of the causes listed on the wikipedia page here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Esophageal_cancer#Increased_risk.
A friend of mine knew a family where most of them died of this cancer - which is not usually linked to hereditary causes - and all of them used to drink their tea scaldingly hot. Be careful!

Marlena said...

I have read this in many places also, including medical journals.