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From The Archives | Terroir Matters
If processing is relatively standard and the producers are expert, then what differentiates one tea from another will be varietal and terroir. Those two go hand in hand. Take Anji Baicha for example. It is a local varietal they call ‘White Tea “ or Baicha, and apparently, grows best in this local region. It has a characteristic fragrance that is instantly recognizable and not to be found anywhere else. Why, if this tea was available during the ancient Kingdoms, it would have been a tribute tea for sure, as it was more nuanced than Biluochun, has a longer sweetness than Dragonwell, and ability to withstand boiling water better than Taiping Houkui. All in pretty little straight leaves. But it’s a relative new comer. They found the mother bush wild sometime around 20 or more years ago, and started planting the cuttings. Still not a huge volume tea by any means, it is nonetheless, starting to be quite sought after. The terroir is pristine; light breeze coming from the River, small bodies of jade green water collecting in basins at foothills, vertical scary hills, and surrounded by the famous Anji bamboo.
Mr. Chen, our producer, confides that Anji Baicha must have made the map, since there are copycats now in the other areas, a sure sign of prestige. However, they taste nothing like the Anji; just similar shape and look. Here is where one must be a discerning connoisseur of both handwork AND terroir!