While it may not feel like Spring, luckily we have small subtle clues to give us hope for the warmer weather. Perhaps you saw crocuses peeking out of a garden (or lawn) or just counting your blessings for no more snow. Noticing these small things can make a HUGE difference in your day by just noticing them however small. It is time to start thinking about what teas you will drink this season and which ones to stock up on. Fresh Spring crops are on the way, let’s take a look at some main tea growing areas and what is going on over the next few months for Spring.
In all the various tea growing regions are gearing up for the first harvest of the year as their plants slowly wake up form their winter hibernation. From now to May we can expect all the first flushes to begin to become available, while others there is a little wait on.
Currently, the Japanese Cherry Blossoms are beginning to bloom. Many are waiting eagerly as we wait for the best time to view the blossoms in Japan (and across the world). In Japanese this time is called Hanami. The word means Flower viewing, “hana” meaning flower and “mi” meaning to watch or see. Of course this is exactly what brings people together to admire the blossoms at all times of the day with a packed meal (bento) and sake, or tea.
Leading up to the Qingming Festival (Typically April 4 or 5) is when all those extra fresh young leaves are plucked for teas ranging from white to green. During this time, before the festival, the most sought after teas are processed.
The festival is a time for families to clean out their family tombs and grave sites. Together as a family the cleaning is done which ends with a family tea and , of course, some tea.
The big difference between the mainland and Taiwan is that delicious Oolongs are being processed (#yumm)! Most of the greener Oolongs are on their way, such as Four Springs, Ali shan and Bao Zhong. The first flushes are all processed from March to April, with time for family in between. Being so close to China it is no surprise that Taiwan also observed “Tomb Sweeping Day” which is known as Qingming Festival.
The Holi Festival is long over and first flushes are almost finished. These teas were picked from around mid-March until about the second week of May. These leaves are typically used for Darjeeling, which is known for its light body that is often compared to champagne and Taiwanese Oolongs.
With so many teas to choose from pick out an old favorite from your stash to celebrate the spring season (and fresh teas to come). In the comments below share which Spring harvested tea your are eager for.