No more do I descend the stairs of time The sun no longer sets upon the horizon The jade green tea and I become as one Embraced into a dance of mental rhyme
What are these thoughts that circle in my mind? Are those birds that sing beside my ears? What vision before me boldly appears? Is it the tea or just my body trying to unwind?
The thoughts I have come from the jade-like brew And the birds are singing of this green tea I hold The vision is one of calm and gentle, not so bold As the tea teases me by telling me it is all true (Cecil Hill, September 2008)
Emei Mountain famous Zhu Ye Qing green tea
I can think of no better way to continue this tea travel blog than to write about the locally produced bamboo-leaf green tea or Zhu Ye Qing in Chinese. From what I have read on the internet and the information provided by the tea museum (a topic of a later post), Emei Mountain has been producing a fine green tea for thousands of years. It was always known for its pure and mellow light taste. In April 1964, when the government sent its team inspectors to check out the local tea production, the Foreign Minister, Chen Yi, was among the group. As he sat and played chess while drinking tea with the old monk in Wannian Temple, he wondered what kind of tea he was drinking. The old monk told him that it was a product of Emei Mountain but had not been given a name yet. The old guy requested that the Foreign Minister give it a name. The minister thought the tea leaves looked like young bamboo leaves so he called it zhu ye qing or bamboo leaf tea.
This tea can be found all over the place here at the foot of Emei Mountain and in Chengdu. In fact, we found a store specializing in it in Chongqing next to the Great Hall of the People and Three Gorges Museum. Every tea shop has it for sales and occasionally one can buy it from a local producer as we did this week.
A local grower selling her tea on the street in downtown Emei City
The tea leaves float on the top until they are saturated with the hot water, become heavier than the water and then slowly float to the bottom. The leaves look just like the bamboo leaves of Emei Shan. The experience of the tea involves the watching of the floating tea leaves gradually "float" down to the bottom as well as drinking the green tea. The taste is sweet and slightly bitter, unique aroma and has a sweet after taste depending on how strong the tea is. It is a very relaxing tea and, thus, I penned the above poem while drinking the very glass you see in the above photograph. The tea pictured above was very strong as the tea leaves were very light and took a while to start their journey to the bottom.
The Zhu Ye Qing we bought from the local grower above
Our new tea pot set from the local department store. Soon we will be on the road again looking for tea and teapots from their sources
Retired military officer and wife. Taught at Assumption University of Thailand from 2002 -2007 and at Southwest Jiaotong University - Emei Branch 2007 -2010. Currently retired and living at home in Bangkok, Thailand. More formal education than common sense dictates. Career language and cultural enthusiasts. Combined knowledge of more languages than is practical. Both realized early on that material never out weighs spiritual. Pursuing the spiritual as a lifelong endeavor.