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High Mountain Bi Luo Chun

Region: High Mountain area, Jiangsu, China

Other Names: Bi Luo Chun, Pi Lo Chun, Green Snail Spring, Scary Fragrance, Xia Sha Ren Xiang, Spring Snail Shell, Green Conch Spring

There are several different stories of how Bi Luo Chun got its name.  Bi Luo Chun literally means "Green Conch Spring."  Some believe Bi Luo Chun got its name because the green tea is picked in the spring and is tightly rolled into a curled shape that resembles sea snail or conch.  Others say Bi Luo Chun got its name from a pretty warm-hearted and hardworking woman named Bi Luo who lovingly gave her spirit to the tea. 

But most favor the following story based on the essay “Liu Nan Shui Bi” written by Wang Yan Kui during the Qing dynasty (1616 to 1911). According to this essay several wild tea plants were found on Bi Luo Peak of Dong Ting Mountain. For many years nothing seemed special about the tea.

Then one spring during Kangxi period of the Qing dynasty (1661 to 1722) the tea trees flourished yielding an extraordinary amount of tea that attracted many tea workers. The large yield resulted in a shortage of tea baskets and the tea workers put the extra tea leaves they picked into the large pockets in their clothing. The warmth of their body next to the tea caused the tea leaves to become extremely fragrant.  

The tea workers were astonished and surprised by the strong fragrance and called the tea “Xia Sha Ren Xiang” meaning scarily fragrant. As the popular legend goes, during his visit to Taihu Lake, Emperor Kangxi, a noted tea enthusiast, was presented the Xia Sha Ren Xiang tea by the local governor.  Emperor Kangxi treasured the tea but renamed the tea to its present name Bi Luo Chun because he disapproved of the name Scarily Fragrant tea.