An European importer recently asked me: how do they get such wonderful aroma in the leaves? Referring to an oolong he bought.
The chamber in which tealeaves are gently bruised on the edges for partial oxidation in oolong production processing is called the zao qing room. Usually it is quite cavernous — 20 or 30 foot ceiling, a few thousand sq feet in size for an average family run farm.
Sweet fragrance lily
The fragrance emitted from the leaves towards the end of the oxidative process is truly amazing. It is not an exaggeration to say they are more seductive than blooming flowers. Filling that kind of space with the little bit of biochemistry from leaves that are scantily spread on the bamboo sieves is still one of oolong’s most miraculous qualities that still enchants me to this day.
The oldest form of oolong, Shuixian, borrows its name from Chinese Sacred Lily, a special variety of Narcissus with an intense yet clean and sweet fragrance.
Our Snow Orchid is far from containing even half of that olfactory quality. Yet perhaps it is only second best to staying through the night in the oxidation room. Considering tea enjoyment has to include the dimension of taste and texture, this is a rare gem.
Tranquility amidst disturbances
At a time when happenings around us could disturb a season that used to be peaceful and feeling grateful, a cup of fine tea with an elegant bouquet may be your long needed calming consistency of a quality tradition. Who doesn’t need a bit of serenity to review the tears and sweats in the past 12 months, and contemplate the stretch of road in front?
Here’s to Peace and Prosperity.