Hubei province, located in essentially in the middle of China, is home to some of the oldest tea growing areas. Many different innovative styles of tea were invented there. For example it is where the steaming techniques for green tea were invented. These were the same techniques that traveled from China to Japan hundreds of years ago. Nowadays pan-firing is commonplace for green tea, but time-tested steamed tea is still produced in Hubei.
Tax records in Hubei, China dating back hundreds of years list a tea called yulu which translates to “jade dew.” This particular tea is believed to be one of the first steamed green teas, and the inspiration for the style of Japanese tea called gyokuro, which also translates to “jade dew.” Our Early Spring Jade Dew is a descendent of the steamed green tea mentioned in that tax record. It is also the tea style that evolved and became the precursor to the tea style that we call Emerald Spring.
Centuries old steaming techniques lend our Early Spring Jade Dew a fresh flavor pan-fired teas do not have. Like most Hubei green teas there are notes of pine intermingled with the fresh, green notes. The mouth-feel is soft and lush while the early spring harvest kept the leaves from acquiring too much astringency.
In a 400 ml teapot, steep 7-9 grams of tea for 4-5 minutes in 180°F water. Alternately, steep 4 grams of tea in a gaiwan for 2 minutes in 180°F water. Steep a second infusion for 1.5 minutes, and a third for 3 minutes. Early Spring Jade Dew is not well suited for iced tea.