Ming Qian An Ji Bai Cha (明前安吉白茶) is an early spring version of our An Ji Bai Cha green tea. A famous Chinese tea, it originates in Anji County of Zhejiang Province in China. Made from fine, select buds that are picked pre-Qing Ming and carefully processed by hand, it produces a bright verdant liquor with fresh delicately sweet and savoury flavours. This particular batch was picked on 30 March 2023.
This tea is part of our Rare & Limited tea selection. Due to high demand, especially locally in China, there is an extremely limited quantity of this particular fine tea available every year. Once this batch is sold out, we will not be able to bring it back in stock until next spring’s harvest.
An Ji Bai Cha is sometimes mistakenly described as a white tea. While ‘Bai Cha (白茶)’ does translate as white tea, this only refers to the appearance of the leaf of the tea plant rather than the tea type. In reality, this is a delicate green tea.
The leaves of the cultivar that is utilised for An Ji Bai Cha do have a distinct white appearance when picked and when brewed. This quality has even earned these tea types an albino tea nickname. The cultivar known as Bai Ye No. 1 (白叶一号) has only been used in making this tea since 1982, when the white ‘mother bush’ was discovered in Anji County. While there are legends about white tea bushes going back about 1,000 years in Chinese tea folklore, An Ji Bai Cha is the first known albino tea that was actually produced.
The leaves of this Ming Qian An Ji Bai Cha are long, thin and very fine. They consist of buds plus 1-2 small, young thin leaves. When brewed it is possible to notice the almost white colour, especially on the younger leaves. The produced liquor is bright and clear with a vegetal, savoury and umami scent almost reminiscent of lighter version of a high end Gyokuro aroma. It has a supremely clean and smooth character with a verdant profile. The fresh herbaceous flavours have notes of green raw vegetables, asparagus and fresh leafy greens. These more savoury vegetal notes are nicely offset by the mouth-coating sweetness present throughout. An excellent tea and a fine representation of an early spring An Ji Bai Cha.
This An Ji Bai Cha green tea is best brewed at 80°C for about 2 minutes according to your taste and can be brewed multiple times. Due to its delicate nature we suggest using good quality filtered or spring water to get the best out of this tea. Also excellent when brewed gong fu style in a porcelain gaiwan.