Resources of Tea Information

Tea Harvest Calendar

Throughout the year, the relative positions of the sun and the earth can be expressed by 24 solar terms. Dates marking these 24 solar terms stay almost the same year by year on the international calendar. The 24 solar term marks directed a lot of agricultural activities in traditional society of China, including tea cultivation. On this Tea Harvest Calendar, the harvest dates of various teas are sorted in temporal order based on the solar terms they belong to.

More information about the 24 solar terms can be found on this webpage of Hong Kong government:

http://www.hko.gov.hk/gts/time/24solarterms.htm

(Name translations of the solar terms are slightly different between this Tea Harvest Calendar and above webpage.)

Tea harvest dates vary slightly from year to year. The system of solar terms helps us understand how tea harvest is connected to climatic patterns.

This Tea Harvest Calendar includes names of the 24 solar terms in English and Chinese, their dates on the international calendar, and harvest times of some well-known Chinese teas. Additional notes are made about climatic changes and traditional agricultural events of some solar terms.

 


24 Solar Terms and Tea Time

 

Solar Term

Solar Term in Chinese

Date on Western Calendar *

Tea Harvest **

Other Notes ***

Start of Spring ****

立春 

(Li Chun)

Feb. 4

 

 

Rain Water

雨水

(Yu Shui)

Feb. 19

Harvest on Wu Niu Zao (乌牛早) starts a few days from here.

Rain replaces snow as major precipitation

Awakening of Insects

惊蛰 (驚蟄)

(Jing Zhe)

Mar. 6

Harvest on Zhu Ye Qing (竹叶青) and Meng Ding Snow Bud (蒙顶雪芽)starts.

Many insects reach young adult stage on this day

Vernal Equinox

春分

(Chun Fen)

Mar. 21

Harvests on Bi Luo Chun (碧螺春) and Meng Ding Yellow Bud (蒙顶黄芽) start.

Harvest on Long Jing #43 (龙井43) cultivar starts around here.

Lengths of day and night equal on this day; Time to start ploughing the field in traditional agriculture

Clear and Bright

清明

(Qing Ming)

Apr. 5

Ming Qian (Pre-Qing-Ming) harvest of Long Jing Group cultivar (龙井群体种) starts before this day.

Harvest on Jun Shan Silver Needle (君山银针) starts a few days before Qing Ming.

Harvest on tea leaves for Bi Tan Piao Xue (碧潭飘雪) starts before Qing Ming

First harvest on Bai Mu Dan (白牡丹) starts.

Harvests on Huang Jin Gui (黄金桂), An Ji Bai Cha (安吉白茶), Feng Huang Dan Cong (凤凰单), Gu Zhu Zi Sun (顾渚紫笋) , Huang Shan Mao Feng (黄山毛峰), Jin Tan Finch Tongue (金坛雀舌), and Xin Yang Mao Jian (信阳毛尖) start.

Harvests on Liu An Gua Pian (六安瓜片, Melon Seeds), Fairy Orchi Twig (兰香仙枝), Tian Hua Gu Jian (天华谷尖), Yong Xi Huo Qing (涌溪火青), Keemun Red Tea, and Yong Chun Fo Shou (永春佛手) start between Qing Ming and Gu Yu.

 

 






Grain Rain

谷雨 (穀雨)

(Gu Yu)

Apr. 20

Yu Qian (Pre-Gu-Yu) Long Jing (龙井) is harvested before this day.

Harvest on Lao Zhu Da Fang (老竹大方) and Jiu Qu Hong Mei (九曲红梅) starts before Gu Yu.

Harvests on Tai Ping Hou Kui (太平猴魁), Shu Cheng Lan Hua (舒城兰花), Wen Shan Bao Zhong (文山包种) and Zhang Ping Shui Xian (漳平水仙) start.

Spring harvests on An Xi Tie Guan Yin (安溪铁观音) and Taiwan High Mountain Oolong start here and end by Li Xia.

Harvest on Huo Shan Huang Ya (霍山黄芽)starts about 5 days before Gu Yu and ends by Li Xia.

Precipitation increases from here on, and crops start to grow rapidly

Start of Summer

立夏

(Li Xia)

May 6

Spring harvest on Wu Yi Yan Cha (武夷岩茶) starts a few days before Li Xia

Spring harvest on Lapsang Souchong (正山小种) starts.

 

Grain Full

小滿

(Xiao Man)

May 21

Spring harvest on Da Yu Ling High Mountain Oolong (大禹岭) is between now and Mang Zhong. Many official spring-season competitions of Taiwan oolong are held around this time.

Grains are getting plump

Awns on Grains

芒种 (芒種)                

(Mang Zhong)

Jun. 6

Harvest on Bai Hao Oolong starts shortly before or after this day (around Lunar Calendar May 5th), with annual variations and affected by lunar cycle. Harvest on Sweet Summer Oolong is on Lunar Calendar May 5th.

Grains gain awns

Summer Solstice

夏至

(Li Xia)

Jun. 21

 

Daytime is the longest on this day of the year

Minor Heat

小暑

(Xiao Shu)

July 7

Production of Fu Zhuan Tea Brick (茯砖) starts around this time.

 

Major Heat

大暑

(Da Shu)

July 23

 

 

Start of Autumn

立秋

(Li Qiu)

Aug. 8

 

 

End of Heat

处暑 (處暑)

(Chu Shu)

Aug. 23

 

 

White Dew

白露

(Bai Lu)

Sep. 8

 

Much of night dew as a result of dropping temperature






Autumnal Equinox

秋分

(Qiu Fen)

Sep. 23

Autumn harvest on Feng Huang Dan Cong starts.

 

Lengths of day and night equal on this day.

Cold Dew

寒露

(Han Lu)

Oct. 8

Autumn harvest on An Xi Tie Guan Yin starts. Winter harvest on Da Yu Ling High Mountain Oolong (大禹岭) is between now and Shuang Jiang.

 

Appearance of Frost

霜降

(Shuang Jiang)

Oct. 23

 

Night frost starts to appear

Start of Winter

立冬

(Li Dong)

Nov. 7

Winter harvest on Dan Cong (雪片单枞) is between Li Dong and Xiao Xue

 

Minor Snow

小雪

(Xiao Xue)

Nov. 22

 

Some snow precipitation starts to happen

Major Snow

大雪

(Da Xue)

Dec. 7

Many official winter-season competitions of Taiwan oolong are held around this time.

Chance grows for significant snow precipitation.

Winter Solstice

冬至

(Dong Zhi)

Dec. 22

Harvest on Dong Pian (冬片,post-winter tea) of Si Ji Chun (Four Season Spring, 四季春) happens within several days before or after Dong Zhi

Daytime is shortest on this day of the year

Minor Cold

小寒

(Xiao Han)

Jan. 6

Harvest starts for green tea of Yunnan.

 

Major Cold

大寒

(Da Han)

Jan. 20

 

 

 

* Date may vary by 24 hours.

** There are variations due to climate changes and new varietals adapted to lower temperature.

*** The notes focus on climatic changes and agricultural events (however, with large variations existing across the country).

**** Start of Spring, Start of Summer, Start of Autumn, and Start of Winter are 4 of the Solar Term days that mark the start of seasons. However, when each of them comes, most part of the country is still in the previous season.

Sources of information:

1.     Tea farmers, who are, of course, the best sources of anything pertaining to tea.

2.     中国茶谱 Wan Xiaochun et al. (2007) The Book of Chinese Tea. China Forestry Publishing House, Beijing.

3.     中国茶经 Chen Zongmao et al. (1992) The Tea Classic of China. Shanghai Cultural Publishing House, Shanghai.

4.     中国茶叶大辞典 Chen Zongmao et al. (2000) The Encyclopedia of Chinese Tea. China Light Industries Publishing House, Beijing.

5.     中国名茶图谱 Shi Haigen et al. (2007) The Atlas of Chinese Famous Teas. Shanghai Cultural Publishing House, Shanghai.

6.     品茶图鉴 Chen Zongmao, Yu Yongming, Liang Guobiao & Zhou Zhixiu (2009) An Atlas for Tea Tasting. Yellow Mountain Press, Hefei.

7.     中国乌龙茶 Gong Zhi (2004) China Oolong Tea. Zhejiang Photography Press, Hangzhou.

8.     中国红茶 Gong Zhi (2005) China Red Tea. Zhejiang Photography Press, Hangzhou.

9.     茶文化学 Liu Qinjin et al. (2000) Studies on Tea Culture. China Agriculture Publishing House, Beijing.

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