Guzhu Zi Sun
A tea that will bring you back in time, when China was ruled by emperors and tea poems were first written.
Zi Sun Cha Bing is a truly unique tea, whose production dates back to the eight century. The taste is as unique as its history. Different from any other green tea, it is rather warm and savoury. Velvety notes of hay, grain, and stewed green vegetables play in the mouth, enriched by a distant earthiness.
Like Mary Poppins' magic tote, the tiny Zi Sun cakes are an endless source of tea. Pour boiling water on a cake, filling the pitcher halfway, and let it steep as long as you like; when ready, fill it completely and pour it straight into cups, without stirring. Refill the pitcher with hot water and repeat the procedure over and over again the whole day long.
A THOUSAND-YEAR-OLD TEA
Back in the Tang Dynasty (618–907), tea was unknown to the Western world and loose-leaf tea was yet to be invented. At that time, the leaves were ground and compressed into tiny discs (cha bing). Before preparing the tea, the discs were crumbled into pieces, which were then boiled in water together with salt and spices.
We know all this thanks to Lu Yu, the first writer in history to have dedicated an entire book to tea (Cha Jing, 'the Classic of Tea'), in which he elegises Guzhu Zi Sun as the best tea in China. It eventually became the favorite tea of the Tang Emperors.
More than a millennium has passed and the customs have changed; but in Guzhu we discovered a farmer lost in time, still producing the tiny cha bing according to the ancient Tang Dynasty recipe.
Historical re-enactment of the production of Zi Sun Cha Bing (Lu Yu Memorial site, April 2017, Guzhu).
- ORIGIN: Changxing, Huzhou, Zhejiang, China
- MEANING: Purple bamboo shoot from Guzhu (guzhu zi sun); tea cake (cha bing)
- CULTIVAR: Gu Zhu Qun Ti
- HARVEST TIME: April 3, 2018
- TASTE: Hay, grains, slightly earthy
- WEIGHT: approx. 7-8 grams (1 cha bing)