29 January 2010

How many times does that Bush get picked?

“How many seasons are there for oolong?”

I came across this question a while back in an article that was intended to help tea buyers better understand the products for purchase.  My guess is that the author has a specific number in mind.  The honest answer is that it depends.

Dong Ding, for example, has two prime seasons – spring and winter.  However, there are often 5 harvests – 1 for each season, twice in the summer.  Further, there may be an additional picking after the main winter picking, called Dong Pian, for a total of 6.  Why might one not know about the non-main harvests?  It’s often mixed in with main harvest teas, or can be used to produce other types of teas as well.

Oriental Beauty, on the other hand, has only 1 official harvest that is used for production of that tea, around late May – June.  There may be multiple pickings during the main harvest, though.

However, each farmer works differently.  Some may harvest year round, and some may only harvest twice a year for production (and either leave tea to grow on the bush or pick and discard the other seasons…).

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