Bu Zhi Chun Tea: A Delicate Wuyi Oolong Tea

Bu Zhi Chun is a delicate Wuyi oolong tea known for its subtle flavor, and its name in Chinese, “不知春” (bù zhī chūn), literally means “knows not of spring” or “i don’t know spring”.

Compared to other types of Wuyi tea, Bu Zhi Chun tea trees and leaves are smaller, leading to a relatively lower yield, resulting in a higher market price for this unique and rare variety. The dry tea of Bu Zhi Chun has tightly knotted cords, a dark brown color, oily and frosty texture, and a light chestnut aroma.

This tea is characterized by three fragrances, including the cover fragrance, water fragrance, and base fragrance. Upon tasting, a faint fragrance of thatched grass can be detected while the tea soup is orange-yellow, translucent, clear, and flawless. The taste is soft and full with a clear floral fragrance, and the taste is mellow and long-lasting. The leaves of Bu Zhi Chun tea are evenly toothed and dense, and the green leaves are red and bright.

This tea needs to be roasted within a month, and only 20 to 30 catties of finished products can be produced each year. Bu Zhi Chun tea is picked for one season and roasted with charcoal on low fire. The raw tea is extremely difficult to detect and pick. To produce half a catty of fine tea, five catties of green tea are required.

Several tea companies in Hong Kong monopolize most of the pure Bu Zhi Chun tea species for export, making it difficult to find high-quality Bu Zhi Chun tea in China.

Bu Zhi Chun Tea: Its Name, Production, and Characteristics

Bu Zhi Chun tea can be discussed in two parts: the origin of its name and its production process and characteristics. The name “Bu Zhi Chun” is based on the Chinese solar term “Lichun,” which marks the beginning of spring. The growth of tea buds during this period is neither winter nor spring, so it is called “Bu Zhi Chun” means “I Don’t Know Spring”.

To produce Bu Zhi Chun tea, tea farmers must protect the tea trees from frost during the winter. They also need to carefully harvest the buds and handle them with special care during production to produce an under-fermented green tea with a rich aroma and a full texture. The lower temperature and large temperature difference between day and night during this season result in less sunshine, less tannin content, lower bitterness, and higher pectin and amino acid content. The tea soup is higher, and the number of brewing times can be increased by three or four times.

Some tea farmers believe that the growth period of Bu Zhi Chun tea should be the dormant period of the tea tree, allowing it to rest and store nutrients. Others argue that tea trees need sunlight for photosynthesis to produce nutrients and maintain strength to grow during the winter. The author suggests leaving summer and autumn tea on the tree for photosynthesis and nutrient storage, which will lead to high-quality winter tea and Bu Zhi Chun tea.

Overall, Bu Zhi Chun tea is a unique and rare variety known for its smaller tea trees and leaves, resulting in a lower yield and higher market price. Its tightly knotted cords, dark brown color, oily and frosty texture, and light chestnut aroma make it distinct. When brewed, it has three fragrances and a clear floral taste, and the leaves are evenly toothed and dense. Bu Zhi Chun tea is a delicate tea that requires special care during production and storage, but tea lovers can enjoy its high-quality taste and reasonable prices.

Image: Wuyi mountain

Legend of the Famous “Bu Zhi Chun” Tea Tree in Wuyi Mountain

In the Wuyi Mountain region of Fujian Province, there is a well-known tea tree called “Bu Zhi Chun” that produces high-quality tea. The tree is named after a legend involving a scholar named Han Xiutang, who was a tea enthusiast. Han Xiutang had read “The Classic of Tea,” recited tea poems, written tea poems, and drank camellia all his life. One day, he heard people talking about Wuyi Mountain’s beauty, sweet water, and fragrant tea, so he decided to go there and try it. However, when he arrived in Wuyi Mountain, he found that he had missed the tea-picking season, which was a big disappointment. Despite this, he was drawn to the natural beauty of the area and explored it further. He came across various famous tea tree species, but none of them had the tender shoots and leaves he was looking for.

As he was wandering, he suddenly smelled a sweet and rich fragrance that reminded him of orchids and osmanthus. He followed the scent to a dark, cold cave and discovered a large tea tree growing among the stones. The leaves were big and thick, and the tree swayed beautifully in the wind. Han Xiutang couldn’t help but exclaim, “The sprouts begin to sprout after spring, I really don’t know spring!” Suddenly, he heard laughter from outside the cave. When he turned around, he saw a girl in red standing at the entrance of the cave with a tea basket. The girl was a tea picker from Wuyi Mountain who had come to pick fragrant tea. She thanked Han Xiutang for giving the tea tree such a wonderful name, “Bu Zhi Chun.” Han Xiutang was embarrassed but agreed to call the tree by that name. The tea from this tree became famous and is now sold domestically and internationally.

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