Chaoqing is one of those aqueous terms thrown around a lot within the world of green tea, especially in China. When asking farmers about what exactly makes a tea Chaoqing, the answer one usually arrives at is ‘Chaoqing is just green tea.’ Usually when a farmer calls a tea Chaoqing, what they mean is that it isn’t a special type of green tea. Thus, if a farm produces a Maofeng tea and a Chaoqing tea, the Chaoqing is the tea made without the special attention given to leaf pick and leaf shape that has been given to the Maofeng.
This aqueous genre is slightly reminiscent of farmhouse ales in old Europe; traditionally a farmhouse ale was any beer brewed on the farm for the family or field hands without attempting to fit into any style-specific parameters. Although you can buy beers advertised as farmhouse ales from the liquor store these days, there were initially no set standards for this style.
Chaoqing teas are much the same, and thus there is a lot of variation within the category. As these teas have no uniformity, Chaoqing green teas can vary vastly due to differences between households in machinery, brewing temperatures, and so on. Even two types of Chaoqing green teas within the same city or province can turn out vastly different. In fact, all the Chaoqing teas we offer are distinct from the other, and have been influenced by their parent farm, by the region of origin, and of course, by their producer. Similar to farmhouse ales of old, Chaoqing teas are not the teas expected to fetch a pretty penny at a market, but they are good enough to drink at home, on the farm, between workers and friends. Thus, by offering Chaoqing (and being honest about its origin and meaning) we are offering a chance to try a humble tea most commonly enjoyed by those who make your favorite teas.