Organic Fair Trade Jade Cloud is Rishi's most popular green tea from China, and we've specialized in this style of tea since 1998. Originally, we partnered with organic farms in the Jin Hua County of Zhejiang Province to make this tea. In 2004 and 2005, Rishi Tea began development of a new style of Organic Jade Cloud in Xuan En County, Hubei, where it is now grown amidst a pristine natural environment. Our Jade Cloud is a signature green tea because of its special processing and blending method that we adapted to this area's local and introduced small leaf green tea bush varieties.
Jade Cloud can only be made for about 4-5 weeks each year from late March - early May. During that time, Rishi staff taste each day's production lots from three different organic factories and cherry pick the best lots to make our annual blend. Jade Cloud is a great everyday green tea but the management of this tea is quite involved and complicated to keep the consistent spring character and quality of the mass batch.
We have to cup so many micro-lots from each day, keep the best and reject the rest. Then by late April or early May, all the lots are in and we make our blend, designed to last only until the next crop year.
The three different factories use three different methods of firing. This is a key point that makes our Jade Cloud quality so unique. One factory uses a very modern and new style of hot air, closed chamber firing method that makes a very fresh and even character. This special hot air roaster preserves a fine leaf shape and gives our Jade Cloud a nice appearance. Another factory uses steam firing that renders a very bright, green, jade color with a smooth body and sweet, umami flavor. The third factory uses a traditional, wood-fired, tumble roaster that creates a wonderfully nutty aroma. This traditional roaster brings out the evergreen and slight floral aromatic character of the local tea bush varieties. Modern hot air fired lots are used to create a fresh and consistent base, while the steamed lots add body, richen the color and add a deep mouthfeel. Finally, the traditional wood-fired, roasted lots allow us to make special aromatic points to balance our Jade Cloud blend.
Jade Cloud is 100% Organic Green Tea and FLO Fair Trade Certified™. The Xuan En Yisheng Tea Co-op includes 1,215 families totaling about 3,645 people. Rishi Tea has supported the Fair Trade Certified™ Tea Project here and has contributed more than $49,000 USD to the Xuan En Yisheng Organic Tea Co-op. The FLO Certified Social Premium Funds have been used by the co-op to improve roads and infrastructure in the villages, create local hospitals and elderly care centers, have given access to education and health care insurance for all 3,645 members and have helped to establish a fund for supporting the most impoverished co-op member families. The local people have built their own co-op managed tea factories and organic management systems with FLO funds so they can improve ownership rights and add further value to the teas they once only harvested. Now they not only harvest the fresh tea leaves, but also produce and sell the teas, taking a greater stake in the total supply chain.
Xuan En County lies in the hinterland of the Tujia and Miao ethnic group's autonomous prefecture within southwestern Hubei Province. It's at E. longitude 109°11'52"-109°55'34", N. latitude 29°33'18" -29°12'18", locating in the Wuling Mountainous area, in the upper reaches of the Yangtze River.
The average elevation here is about 900m, and it peaks out at about 2,000m. Xuan En has a sub-tropical continental monsoon type humid mountain climate, it is blessed with four dramatic seasons and mild weather climate. Its annual average temperature is 13.7°C, relative humidity is 82%, annual average rainfall is 1,358mm, available accumulated temperature is 4,400 degrees, and its frost-free season lasts about 290 days. Its soil is mainly composed of purple sandy soil and red brown soil, with an average PH value ranging from 4.5-6.3. The soil is loose and fertile, and the selenium in the soil is very abundant (up to 0.3-5mg/kg). Because of these unique ecological characteristics, Xuan En is well-suited for growing premium organic green teas.