Last Updated on 05/02/2021 by Desmond
Many people may know that Maojian typically refers to the green tea made from the leaves’ tip. Like Duyun Maojian, Xinyang Maojian, they are all famous. But you may not know, there is a freak among them – Weishan Maojian. It got identities of green, black and yellow tea at the same time. Are you confused? Keep reading.
What Is Weishan Maojian
Weishan Maojian originated in Ningxiang, Hunan. There is a region called Weishan Mountain, which produced green tea since the Tang Dynasty and sold to Gansu and Xinjiang far away. And the quality compares with Longjing.
Weishan is one of the birthplaces of Zen Buddhism in China. A Tang chancellor built the Miyin Temple here, the serving last 1000 years and never been interrupted, now it becomes a tourist attraction. The most famous view here is a huge Thousand-Hand Guanyin statue, majestic and solemn. Tea plantations are around it. Local tea masters often say that Weishan Maojian is growing under the Guanyin’s blessing and hearing the chant sutras every day, so it is full of aura.
The natural environment is great here. Although the altitude is low, the Weishan region is round by rivers. The air humidity is high, and the mean annual precipitation is about 1500mm; the average temperature is about 15℃. The moist air and a short sunshine time make the quality as excellent as high-mountain tea. For a long time in history, Weishan Maojian always took as a royal tribute.
A disadvantage of green tea is the high demand on seasonal. Except for the spring tea, leaves after a long time store are hard to sell. And the tea plantations in Weishan are small, low yield. There are many famous teas in Hunan, like Anhua Dark tea and Junshan Yinzhen; they are all fermented teas, which can be stored for a longer time.
So the local tea masters thought, why not process the Maojian into a slight fermentation yellow tea? That may gain an advantage in the market competition. Time after the Ming Dynasty, Weishan Maojian always existed as the identity of Yellow Small Tea.
However, nowadays, the developed and convenient logistics make up for the green tea disadvantage, and people also prefer green tea. In this case, yellow tea lost the market competitiveness again because of the low yield and complex processing. So the tea masters choose to process Maojian into green tea again; only a few are process into yellow tea for sale each year. Therefore, most Weishan Maojian on sale belongs to green tea. You should take a look at the specifications carefully when buying.
The Unique Processing
Actually, to distinguish what Weishan Maojian belongs to, primary depending on how it has been processing. Traditionally, Weishan Maojian is defined as Yellow Tea, 8 main steps on its processing:
Picking. Weishan Maojian has a high requirement for the source leaves, which only choose the spring picking. Harvest typically starts 6-7 days before Guyu(a Chinese solar term.) The picking standard is one bud and the first leaf. Leaves after picking will be sent to the processing at once in order to keep it fresh.
Fixation. Typically, Weishan Maojian will take fixation in a steaming way. Tea masters will place the leaves on a bamboo sieve, steaming for about 90 mins, make them turn yellow from green. Steaming is a challenge; it not only needs to stop the leaves from natural fermenting but also avoid excessive heating and break the leaves. Some tea masters also choose the frying way, which it’s easier.
First Roasting. After fixation, leaves still contain much water. They need to be slightly roasted, make the surface dry enough.
Sealing Yellow. This is a particular step in yellow tea processing. Leaves after first roasting will be pile on a bamboo sieve and cover with a wet cloth. During this process, leaves will ferment again and become much yellow. The internal substances transform and develop a unique flavor. The sealing yellow time-cost is depending on the leaves’ status, typically 1-5 hours.
Rolling. To rolling Weishan Maojian is simple; just to roll the leaves’ rim until it a little curly is fine. In some cases, this step even can be skipped.
Roasting. Tea masters will take the pine and maple as fuel to dry the leaves and make them got a preliminary roasted flavor.
Sieving. The rough tea needs to be sieving. Some low-quality and broken leaves need to be removed to make them look more uniform.
Fumigating. The tea masters at that time are geniuses and got ideas. They were audaciously imitating the Lapsang Souchong processing method and fumigating Weishan Maojian for flavoring. Put the leaves in a basket, spray some water to make them wet again. Then, take the fresh maple balls and Calamus jenkinsianus as fuel to fumigate the leaves, making them a charming and full smoky flavor. It usually cost 16-20 hours, until the leave dry again. Tea masters also fumigating when processing Weishan Maojian green tea.
How’s Weishan Maojian Flavor
A mild smoky aroma will come soon after you unwrap the Weishan Maojian tea. Its leaves are not as flat as Meng Ding Huang Ya; two leaves extend from a bud, a little curly, few fuzzes still retain on the surface. Due to the low fermentation, it shows a fresh olive color.
Simply brewing Weishan Maojian with a glass cup. You will see the leaves will extend wings like birds and dancing in the water; the fuzz also reflects brilliant silver light. The infusion turns yellow slowly, and the maple and smoky fragrance become more obvious.
Weishan Maojian got a slight fermentation degree, and it has been sealing yellow(braise), so it tastes more mellow. Along with the tea coming into your mouth is a mature grain aroma, and the fresh feeling and sweet by the fuzz. The smoky aroma is robust but milder than Lapsang Souchong, and the astringency is also lighter. It can say that the Weishan Maojian flavor got all the advantages of green, black, and yellow tea.
Several points should be paid attention to during storing Weishan Maojian:
- Low temperature
Although there are fewer cases of Weishan Maojian aging, it still can store many years if in a proper way. Due to it has been fumigated, the smoky flavor is very easy to lose. So to maintain the completeness of the original package will be best. Once unwrap the package, you’d better store the leaves in a container with excellent airtightness and non-smell. An iron can seem to be a good choice, and it’s better to wrap the surface with paper.
Besides, a dry environment is also essential. Weishan Maojian dry leaves are easy to absorb the water in the air. The damp leaves mix the smoky smell will turn to a disastrous flavor.
How To Make Weishan Maojian
To brew Weishan Mao is simple.
- Prepare and preheat a 300ml glass cup;
- Add 90℃ water in till to the 1/2;
- Put 8-10g Weishan Maojian in, steep about 10 seconds;
- Continue filling water till to the 8/10, steep for about 1 minute;
Please pay attention. The second time you fill in water, you need to add along the inner wall and be gentle. It can make the water a vortex and extract the tea flavor better. Weishan Maojian is not resistant to brew; typically, the taste will all gone after the third brewed.