2016夏摘尋茶筆記 - 溫室效應中的挑戰 (2016 0815)

2016夏摘尋茶筆記 - 溫室效應中的挑戰  (2016 0815)
Feb 08, 2018


一如往常,我又踏上冒險獵茶之旅,從去年初至今年六月底,我約有二分之一的時間,獨自在喜馬拉雅山麓度過。這是一個很有趣的體驗,唯有在身處一切都不熟悉的環境下,我的身體開始恢復敏銳,感應到週遭自然的每個細節;這一切變化,我習慣用每年茶葉的香氣與滋味來佐證,而2016年夏摘的代表滋味便是『甜』。

寒冬並沒有為今春帶來更長的生長季,3月底大吉嶺城降了一場罕見的大冰雹後,氣溫驟升而且無雨。茶樹意識到環境的挑戰,提早宣布休息,結束了春季這輪的生長。這不太意外,因為自2014年起,我已遭遇太多次非典型的氣候狀況,我覺得自已可以預測今年夏摘茶將會提早到來。

然而事實卻是,對於不按牌理出牌的時序,茶樹們顯得束手無策,直至5月的最後一週前,都不願探出芽頭來。茂盛的雜草是紅蜘蛛、綠葉蟬、椿象的溫床,在這段日子裡得到阿波羅神庇佑的莊園,將可以產出純正高級的麝香葡萄風味。麗莎山谷莊園花橙麝香,正是少數的經典。

在此之後,大雨便開始狂落,似要補足去年冬季至今短缺的雨水,而典型的麝香葡萄味,便再難尋覓了。少了綠葉蟬的6月,什麼味道足以代表大吉嶺?我將手往上一指,決定到最接近天際的地方,補捉盛夏的味道。

麗莎山谷帕里位於隱密的森林間,至今大部份在麗莎山谷工作的人,仍不曾到訪此區;但佔地4公頃的茶區,我只獵尋來自海拔5500英尺以上的鮮葉。同樣的,凱瑟頓莊園夜光白玉,也在原本桂花蜂蜜中,加了巧克力甜;沒有灌溉設備、與自然共生的製程工法,直接反應天賜的味道。於是,向來經典的堅果穀物香,在今夏變成了蜂蜜巧克力,或可可香。

我在大吉嶺待了一整個夏季,問起當地不懂種茶的人們,他們的反應跟我一樣,這樣的氣候反而更像是雨季。如果來自印度洋的低氣壓,強烈到讓一般居民都有感,那麼莊園承受的風險將成為必然。是的,今夏6月的產量比去年高出15%,但是過量有時候會讓人失去靈魂。

我亦自已製茶,但購得的鮮葉品質已限制了高度,或許我應該尋求一位名家的指點,於是我轉向最著名的特爾莎莊園,想知道查先生的答案。我知道,這些真正的茶魂,如果沒有答案,他們會燃燒自已,只為成就藝術。於是我帶走了特爾莎的作品:特爾莎花漾、特爾莎謎漾、特爾莎奇漾,分別來自三個不同品種。

今夏的收穫,是滿足的『甜』,與施了一層糖衣的特爾莎一般,獻給茶帷的茶友、帶有一點偏執的茶饕、追根究底的玩家、老是不知道兒子在哪裡的Kevin媽、以及仍然擁有熱情敢做夢的你和我。

Kevin
2016 08.15

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Apr 27, 2018
獵茶的旅人探索的旅程跟茶兒本質一樣,因為氣候變化而轉化出多變的層次,在未知的旅途中,總有預料之外的風味出現,接納一路上偶發的小插曲,也是體驗天地萬物滋養人們的小禮物!

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