Friday, September 10, 2010

Korean Tea Classics Book Club- Cha Bu- Rhapsody To Tea by Hanjae Yi Mok 3. Tea-growing Regions

"As for the tea-producing regions, they are... In such places the ground is good, so the roots grow deep, while thanks to the plentiful rain and dew, the plants flourish."

from Cha Bu- Rhapsody To Tea by Hanjae Yi Mok translated in Korean Tea Classics

Feel free to join the online book club at anytime by simply purchasing Korean Tea Classics. The classics will be covered one section a week which will go on for about a year.



Unknown said...

Most surprising to me from this list is the absence of certain Regions/ Mountains. While I have no problem believing that all these areas are tea growing regions, as I for one know that I have not a memorized list of all tea growing regions.

While I am sure political boundrys have changed, and possibly the names, but most noticeably in Chinese regions I saw no Anxi or Wuyi.

Though I wonder if Wuyi might have been disqualified for not meeting the requirements "In such places the ground is good, so the roods grow deep." Certainly while the rocky soil creates interesting tea, I imagine it is quite hard for roots to grow to a certain depth in Wuyi.

Matt said...

Adam Yusko,

It is interesting which tea areas made the cut and which did not. Wonder how inclusive the list is, whether it is just the top tea producing areas, or maybe Hanjae Yi Mok's Chinese tea master's favourite tea producing areas?

Wonder how Hanjae Yi Mok came up with this list? Perhaps he was just reciting back a list that he had read in a Chinese book?

Either way interesting statistical information on tea producing areas in China at the end of the 1400s.


Matt said...


These are some notes on section 3:

This section lists the tea-producing areas as promised by Hanjae Yi Mok in the preface. It also continues the theme set forth in section 2., expanding the on the theme of the vast nature of tea.

From a technical point of view, it is interesting that Hanjae Yi Mok didn't include the big concluding sentence in section 2. at the end of section 3. as it is in many ways is a continuation of that theme. This would make more sense. Perhaps his choice not to do this was to place more emphasis on the relationship of nature and tea and also to segway nicely into section 4. Tea-Forest Landscapes.

The quote selected points out the close relationship that tea has with nature. Tea is always tied to nature and the environment which it was born. Hanjae Yi Mok states two factors that he sees as detrimental to the healthy growth of tea- good ground and plenty of rain and humidity.

He states that good ground gives tea plants deep roots. The importance of deep roots cannot be overestimated. The deeper the roots, the greater the amount and diversity of nutritional qi the tea plant can absorb from the earth. The deeper the roots, the more trace elements the tea plant can utilize. These days deep roots don't seem to be given the import they deserve. If you want great tea, they almost always come from tea plants with deep root systems.

He also states that plenty of rain and humidity allow tea plants to flourish. The drought that hit many tea producing areas in Yunnan this year is an unfortunate example of what happens to tea when this condition fails to be met.

Tea is therefore indebted to the environment from which it grows. The use of the words "thanks to" also allude to this fact.


Ho Go said...

Not being knowledgeable about farming, I cannot comment on root systems and depth. But, the rocky soil of Wu yi and the rocky soil of Bordeaux must have something to do with these teas having the characteristics that they have. The roots, if not deep, must be very strong in these rocky terrains I would imagine. I would also think that tea cultivation has undergone a lot of changes since the 15th century with scientific advancement and cloning, not just in modern times. I wonder if most of us would have liked the tea in that period of time?

Matt said...


Funny you mention that. Was just reflecting on the issue of Wuyi's root systems. It seems that they must be very powerful roots to allow for the healthy growth of such good tea.

Thanks for bring that up.


Anonymous said...

YaZhong: Chung-shan is in the Henan province (not the “Honan” province); I searched because of the possible confusion between Henan and Hunan.

For ChangKang, mispelled Guangdong (with “t”).

I also would like to mention about roots that it is often said that the best tree grows slower with less number of leaves and with deeper roots. This way, the tree absorbs more mineral from the ground, and concentrates it in its fewer leaves.
Older trees have deeper roots than young trees, which is why they are more appreciated.

Matt said...

Julien ÉLIE,

The place names you pointed out are simply spelt using different transliterations and are still correct. Thank you for listing the alternative transliterations to ease confusion.

"it is often said that the best tree grows slower with less number of leaves and with deeper roots"

These three growing conditions are thought to contribute to the strongest chaqi and most healthy tea.