This tea is an early season pick processed using conventional baked green (hongqing) machinery. It has both the strengths and weaknesses of similar bud-dominant green teas: it is gorgeous when brewed in glassware, with many long slender buds suspended just below the surface of the liquor; it can also easily become astringent if overbrewed. This is not a green tea that is as mug-friendly as our Golden Green.
It is nonetheless a green tea that deserves appreciation. The subtle watercress, almost peppery aroma of the dry leaves is rarely found in green teas. Even if brewed grandpstyle with 100 degree boiling water, the astrigency hardly denies the tea's thick mouthfeel and hard-hitting chaqi that are not surpassed by any of the other green teas we have sold on this site. It is also an excellent example of the sometimes over-hyped "bud tea" that has built a significant niche in the Chinese market, but has generally failed to break out internationally.
Mapo tea (马坡茶）is one of the lesser known Hubei Greens that have become officially recognized as a production style. It is the green tea of Enshi's Jianshi County and comes with its own pedigree as a Qing Dynasty tribute tea. It is a great example of the move away from "generic" green tea towards special localized products registered and protected under the "geo-label" system.
When we first visited Jianshi in 2019, there was still very little Mapo tea to be found in the county seat. Only a handful of street vendors and a single hole-in-the-wall shop. In this shop, Wei Dengquan a local retired air force pilot turned tea farmer, served us the Mapo tea produced in the workshop he has set up with government loans and subsidized machinery. The quality of the pick was apparent, but we nonetheless did not find a place for Mapo Tea on our site until now.