The quality and flavour of the tea lies first and foremost in the picking.
The bud is picked in spring during the so-called "imperial picking". This young top shoot is used for the finest blends and for white teas. It used to be reserved for the emperor exclussively and is still regarded as something particular today.
Also of premium grade is the "fine picking". In this case, pickers select the bud and the first two leaves.
The young shoots are softer and contain over 80% of the tea trees antioxidants, which provide protection against the sun's rays. This antioxidant content also gives La Pagode teas a sweeter, rounder taste than teas that are not picked using this precious method. This knowledge and techniques are ancient and each level of leaves has its own name and special uses.
The remaining leaves, the "coarse picking", are used in lower quality teas. They contain less anti-oxidants and are more coarse in taste.
For many years, spring-time in China has been celebrated by a major event in the tea gardens.
Just before picking the buds, the pickers gather round and sing and perform sacred dances.
These quiet songs echo through the hills and vales, informing the local inhabitants that soon they will be able to savour teas with exceptional properties."