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10/10: 2009 Fall Tea Trip, Part II

The first day saw us landing at Yiwu village with hope to get tons of great Yiwu Zhengshan materials.

What's Yiwu Zhengshan anyway.

There is no mountain called Zhengshan at or close to Yiwu village. Ask a native in Yiwu where Zhengshan is, he would properly say 'never heard of it' or laugh at you. So is this all hype people made it up?

When you ask some senior tea elites, the answer comes up. Zhengshan is loosely defined by a few tea mountains/villages within the boundary of Yiwu county, say Mahei, High Mountain, Guafongzhai, Loshuidong and etc.

In Yiwu, we met with a Guangdong tea merchant who said that he had bought every single leaf harvested from Mahei this Fall. We talked about this with disbelieve over a cup of his newly made autumn Mahei tea, unconvinced and not impressed.

The tour to Zhengshan we made was interesting. We drove the Yiwu-Loushuidong-Mahei trial, visiting a number of tea farmers along the route. This was the first time we discovered that the teas from the same village - presumably from the same tea field could taste differently if they were made by different tea farmers! The tea farmer A presented his autumn maocha just dried under the sun, it was light orange, sweet, mild flavor. Then we went to the tea farmer B, now the maocha might look alike, but it was tasted very different, more yellowish in soup color, slightly bitter. We went on like this for at least 5-6 tea farmers, and everyone got their own Zhangshan taste. Go figure.

The most interesting part is that each tea farmer got less than 30kg maocha in his possession at one time, say the production quantity is over 200kg, now the question is how you are supposed to make it 'Pure', 'Single Estate' ?

The conclusion is that you have to blend, blend from different harvest season, blend from different tea farmers, blend from different tea mountains/fields, and there is no 'Pure' stuff ever existed for a commercial product.

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