Jiu Yi Shan Yun Wu (九嶷山云雾) is a Cloud and Mist green tea from the famous Jiuyi Mountain area in Hunan Province of China. This tea is grown at an organic garden at an altitude of around 850m. The garden was planted in the 60’s with local cultivar plants grown from seed. This early spring harvest produces a verdant liquor with classic green tea flavours and a pleasant, slightly smoky note. This particular lot is from the 24 March 2022 harvest.
In China the name Yun Wu (云雾) is somewhat common and is often used in many regions throughout the country to describe a green tea that is produced locally but that does not fall under any of the ‘famous’ tea types or has any other modern branding attached to it. Generally, it is a good quality local green tea that has been hand plucked but then machine processed in order to keep the costs reasonable. You can see the specific photos of Jiu Yi Shan Yun Wu processing stages on this page. These teas do vary in quality and taste depending on the growing region and processing but tend to be somewhere in the middle.
This Jiu Yi Shan Yun Wu comes from an organic garden (certified since 2012) that was originally planted in the 60’s. The custom at the time was to plant with local tea plants, through seed planting rather than cuttings. The fancy new cultivars (propagated through cuttings, or cloning) that feature big fluffy buds and very early harvests is a much more recent development! These native plants are normally referred to by a few different names, but the Qun Ti Zhong (群体种) is one commonly used, usually prefixed with the origin location or some descriptive qualities of the plant. These can be also compared to various native tea plants in Korea or ‘Zairai‘ plants in Japan.
The seed planting leads to a much more varied tea garden, with a diverse gene pool of the plants, resulting in a richer flavour. This also provides some additional natural protection from pests and diseases. If you look at the photos of the tea garden and the tea plants, the variety of not only the leaf colours but also shapes is immediately evident. This can only happen in a seed planted garden, especially one that has been going for a longer period of time.
The non-uniform nature of the tea means that it is harder to pick, requiring more skill. The picking standard is of 3/4 one bud and one leaf and 1/4 one bud and two leaves. After picking the tea is lightly withered and fired in a drum. The energy comes from burning wood, thus imparting a more rustic nature to this tea. After firing, the tea is sorted by hand and allowed to cool. It is rolled by a machine and finally completely dried, again using wood fire for heat. So the processing, while utilising some machinery, is a bit more old fashioned, leading to a charming final product.
This Jiu Yi Shan Yun Wu Cloud Mist has smaller, younger leaves with a verdant aroma and a hint of smoke. It produces a green, lightly opaque liquor. The flavours are predominately verdant, with creamy, savoury and vegetal notes. It has a touch of astringency that is very pleasant. The aftertaste delivers more fresh verdant flavours that become a bit more tangy. There is a hint of smoke also present in the aftertaste.
It is best brewed with at 80°C for 2-3 minutes and can be brewed multiple times.