Wednesday, July 01, 2009
4 seasons and tea - Summer
Summer, after the stored away energy of Winter sprang life out in Spring, it's time to grow, fully utilizing the stored away energy. Hot summer temperature and long day light accelerates the growth of leaves, branches, flowers and fruits/grains/seeds. At this rapid rate of growth, nutrients can not keep up, especially after harvests in the Spring which is where most of the nutrients are captured. Summer teas are in general more fibery, astringent and bitter, hence require higher oxidation to break down the contents. Black tea and dark oolongs are mostly made with summer harvest tea leaves.
Human body in the Summer are also in the Yang Qi growth period. Yang Qi grows so that Yin Qi can accumulate in Fall. Therefore, many of us have craving for Spring teas or young current year teas during summer. The nutrient and energy of Spring and new crop fuels the Yang Qi growth.
Yang in Chinese medicine term is energy that comes from outside of our body, certain food, sun ray, and heat that enter our body. Yin on the other hand is energy reserve, excess Yang put away for later use. When we use more Yang energy than we can generate in a day, our body will release Yin energy as reserve to keep our body going.
Winter stored energy is a Yin energy, Spring energy is the initiation of of Yang energy funded by Yin Winter energy. Summer energy is the growing Yang energy for conversion of Yin energy collected in Fall. That collection of Yin energy is frozen/rested and stored away during Winter, preparing for Spring sprouting. The cycle repeats itself over and over for billions years and will not change unless stopped as the earth disappeared. As cocky as modern scientists think they can do anything they want to the universe, this is one fact that no human can ever interrupt/change eternally.
If a plant does not grow well in Summer, there will not be fruit and fruitful yin energy to collect in Fall, then there will not be energy to store in Winter, in turn, there will not be energy to sprout in the Spring.
Summer hot temperature and long day sun light are Yang energy being absorbed by leaves, since they are external heated energy. We human behave similar ways as plants as we are just a small part of this nature.
High mountain grown ancient Phoenix Dan Cong trees produce only 1 harvest each year, Spring harvest. The rest of the year is for the tree to accumulate nutrients and energy for next year, following the seasonal cycle of Summer growth, Fall collection and Winter storage. This natural growth preserves and guarantees the highest contents in Spring for best quality tea production. If harvest beyond Spring, quality will drop in next Spring, the tree's vitality is also lowered in coming years. It will take years of rest and feeding to revitalize an aging tree. So are human.