Green Tea "Yun Wu Tea" or "Yunwu / Cloud & Frog Tea" (from China Tea Book)

Yunwu tea is produced in Lianyungang City, Jiangsu Province, and is a historically renowned tea. This tea has been well-known for over eight hundred years, but production ceased after the Qing Dynasty and was resumed in the 1970s.

Lianyungang City is located on the coast of the Yellow Sea, with dense forests and thick fog, creating an environment conducive to the growth of tea trees. Historical records show that tea was produced in the Huaguoshan area over eight hundred years ago.

The main production area of Yunwu tea is at the Faqisi in Sucheng. According to Wuzheng'an's "Gu Zhi": "On the top of Sucheng Mountain, there are many tea trees, and the tea from Donghai is the best here. Its taste is no less than that of Wuyi tea, and it is called Yunwu tea." (From "Haizhou Zhitizhou Zhi," by Tang Shenmian and Jiang Meiding, 1811). During the late Ming and early Qing dynasties, due to cold currents and the "reclamation of the sea" policy of the Qing Dynasty, tea trees on Yuntai Mountain almost disappeared. It was not until 1899 that Xu Shaoyuan, the Salt Transport Commissioner of Haizhou, invested eighty thousand taels of silver to establish the "Donghai Shuyi Company," developed Yuntai Mountain, planted large areas of tea trees, and in 1924, Yunwu tea won the Nanyang Industrial Exposition award for its characteristic green color and sweet taste. Soon after, the tea gardens fell into disuse again. In 1966, tea production resumed.

Yunwu tea is generally harvested around the Grain Rain period, mainly using tender buds with one leaf as the main raw material, avoiding purple buds, diseased leaves, and fishy leaves.

The processing of Yunwu tea includes spreading, fixation, rolling, and shaping and drying. Spreading: Freshly harvested leaves should be spread in a cool and ventilated place with a thickness of about 3 centimeters for about 3 hours. If it rains, the cooling time should be appropriately extended. Fixation: The pan temperature should be controlled at around 160°C to 180°C, with about 500 grams of leaves added, and fixation should last for 4 to 5 minutes. It is required to thoroughly and evenly fix the leaves, "tender but not raw, old but not burnt." After fixing, the leaves should be spread and cooled for about 5 minutes before manual rolling. Rolling: The fixed leaves are placed on a bamboo flat surface, and both hands hold the tea, following the principle of light, heavy, light, rolling clockwise. Every 2 minutes or so, the tea should be loosened and shaken, repeating this process until the tea leaves are rolled into strips and the tea juice oozes out, which usually takes 8 to 10 minutes. Shaping and drying: Shaping and drying is a key step in determining the external characteristics of Yunwu tea, divided into three parts: arranging, rolling, and fixing. The temperature for arranging is around 80°C to 100°C. The rolled leaves are put into the pan for flipping and loosening to evenly distribute them and quickly evaporate the moisture. The flipping action should be quick and vigorous. The time for arranging is 4 to 5 minutes. When the tea leaves are slightly dry and not sticky, and the pan temperature gradually decreases to around 70°C, they can be rolled. The rolling technique involves holding the tea strips with both hands, fingers spread out, palms pressing firmly, and rolling the tea strips between the palms, stretching them into straight strips, and squeezing them out from the tiger's mouth. This process should be repeated until the tea strips are evenly distributed. The rolling time is about 10 minutes. When the tea strips break when pinched or crumble when rubbed, slightly increase the temperature for flipping to release fragrance and enhance the color and luster of the tea.

The quality characteristics of Yunwu tea are tight and round strips, resembling eyebrows, with upright and delicate tips, a shiny green color with visible hairs, a long-lasting fragrance, a rich and fresh taste, a clear soup color, and uniform leaves.

(Source: China Tea Book. Author:  Tang Suohai, Jiang Yongwen )