I finally managed to visit Chái Lín Jūn's tea-farm just 2 days in this years harvest.
Here an impression of, no, not the high quality tea they produce there, but of the rubbish that was deemed unfit and discarded during the sorting.
Although the tea trees have of course been planted and are cultivated there on the farm, they are allowed to grow almost as they would in the wild. No cutting for accelerated growth nor shaping for machine harvesting. It makes it a bit harder to pick the tea but that’s well worth it.
(For larger versions of all images check my blog)
Chái Lín Jūn does not machine harvest nor does he produce autumn tea. The reason for that is quality. Farmers who do produce and offer autumn teas here in China almost all use pesticides, even the so called organic ones. International tea importers are well aware of that and do test samples, but please don’t let me spoil your autumn greens should you like them, as at least on the international market they are fairly save to consume. Anyways, I personally tend to avoid them here.
Once the picking is done, usually in the early afternoon hours, the sorting starts immediately followed by shāqīng also known as kill-green. For kill green and the first pre-shaping 2 machines are used, the rest of the process is done by hand. A wood fired air-oven is preheated.
From there it goes onto the heated air to be hand-rolled with distinct movements.
...more in the followup post.
The full story with high-res pics is available in my blog.
The blogger link underneath my avatar will get you there, I'm sure you'll find it.