Since the Tang Dynasty, the lush and green rolling hills of Moganshan Mountain have been famed for its high-grade tea harvesting.
Now, from through March and April 2015, guests at Le Passage Mohkan Shan can join in the annual tea harvesting season with a personalized tea-picking experience under the close guidance of a skilled personal local Tea Hand (RMB 280++).
Situated on its own tea plantation, the French-style country house hotel offers a unique opportunity to harvest the locally indigenous Camellia Sinensis plant that produces the complex and aromatic tea for which Moganshan is famous. With the close help of a tea specialist, guests are taught to pick the first shoots from the tea bushes on Le Passage Mokhan Shan’s eight-hectare organic tea plantation.
The private Le Passage Mohkan Shan plantation produces a fragrant green tea that is fermented until it becomes a medium-bodied and fruity Black tea. After the tea leaves have been picked they are roasted by hand in a wok and once finally dried, the tea leaves are beautifully wrapped in Le Passage tin caddies to take home. Guests can relax on the patio with a cup of the premium signature Mogan Huang Ya yellow tea from the plantation as the scent of tea fills the air and the hotel’s 12,000 Rose bushes begin to come into bloom.
After a day of picking tea, the hotel comes alive in the evening with the scent of tea as Chef Jackie Meng uses the fresh and full-flavored leaves collected from the plantation to create his alternating menus. Highlights include Foie Gras with a side of homemade Tea Jelly, Tea-Smoked Duck, delicate Green Tea Biscuits and Green Tea Mousse Cheesecake among other French classic dishes with a touch of tea.
Inspired by the natural healing properties of tea, this year Le Passage Mohkan Shan will introduce a range of bath & body products containing a combination of green tea and green tea seed oil all from the private plantation available in the rooms and for purchase.
To mark the start of the annual tea season in early April, Le Passage Mohkan Shan together with the Moganshan Bureau of Agriculture, will host the Regional Tea Harvesting Opening Ceremony, which sees 13 different tea plantations coming together for a friendly competition to determine which plantation has the best crop of the year.
Private Tea-picking can be added to any booking at Le Passage Mohkan Shan for RMB 280 per person. For reservations visit www.lepassagemoganshan.com. Tea-picking season begins from Mid-March and runs until the end of April.
History of Tea in Moganshan – dubbed the Valley of Fairies
Though the famous writer Luyu, of the Tang Dynasty praised the Moganshan tea in his famous book, The Classic of Tea, regular production of green tea in the Valley of Fairies, where Le Passage Mohkan Shan is located, didn’t begin until the 1960s. The on-site tea plantation has plants organized in rows that run to the southwest, maximizing exposure to the sun. For the last 10 years, the Le Passage Mohkan Shan plantation has been adhering to bio-dynamic principles; meaning from start to finish the tea is free from pesticides, chemicals, and artificial fertilizers.
The tea plants develop slowly, but with Le Passage Mohkan Shan’s green approach produces a complex, rich flavor. Le Passage Mohkan Shan produces three different grades of green teas, and a black tea (known as red tea in Chinese). Green tea is un-wilted and un-oxidized and is dried rapidly during the night after picking while black tea is wilted and fully oxidized.