MARIMO tea - Manufacture, Import & Wholesale
CHINA: ENSHI TEA PROJECT IN THE SOUTHWEST OF HUBEI PROVINCE
The autonomous prefecture Enshi is located in the southwest of the central Chinese province Hubei. The whole prefecture is characterized by a mountainous landscape. In the valleys there are many farm villages close to various rivers. The hilltops are lined with beautiful tea gardens. Thanks to the long distance to overcrowded and industrial areas of China the air in Enshi is clear and fresh. The frequent rainfalls in early spring cause mist from morning till noon. The humid climate is the ideal condition for the production of exceptionally fresh and sweet spring green teas.
Since the Song Dynasty (916-1279), Enshi is famous as a region where tea for the emperor is produced.
In China companies are usually not allowed to own agricultural land. That is why small holders are organized in cooperatives to process the tea, which they harvest together, or they deliver the raw leaves to a tea factory nearby.
The MARIMO tea project in Enshi is located in the countryside of Enshi, far away from bigger cities, around 15km away from the next village. One hilltop of about 46ha is entirely covered by tea bushes. Hedges and small forests have been planted in between the tea gardens by the organizers of the organic tea project. This is good for biodiversity in the agricultural land. Between the new planted tea bushe,s there are higher trees to protect the soil from erosion. Furthermore, the trees are slightly shading the tea bushes.
In 1999 some tea farmers started to produce organic tea, with the help of a very dedicated tea-scientist. Together they developed agricultural methods to make the plantation suitable for organic production. Since they came to an internal agreement between the small holder farmers about the preferred production method, they also applied for the organic certification by an external certification body. Since 2004 the project is certified for organic tea production.
ORGANIC TEAS FROM ENSHI
EN SHI CUI LÜ (organic)
Starting mid-April fine leaves and leaf buds are harvested for this especially sweet green tea. After letting them wilt under air circulation they are dry heated. This process was used in China since the beginning of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and prevents oxidation of polyphenols in the plant cells. Following this, the vibrant green leaves are rolled and dried in several steps. Through this gentle processing, one is able to obtain intact leaves. (fair cultivation)