I thought I’d share this short video of the Sha Qing (Kill Green) process at a farmer’s house in Lao Banzhang. Note the angled pan, making the leaves naturally slide towards the bottom, where they’re flipped back to the top ensuring even rotation of the leaves and making sure none of them stay in contact with the heat for too long. Occasionally the leaves should be shaken out to ensure they’re not sticking together.
This process requires a lot of skill to produce leaves that have been heated enough to stop the oxidisation in the thick stems, but not so much that the thin edges of the leaves are burnt.
Last year with the drought in Yunnan the leaves had very little moisture content, making the process all the much harder. It was very easy to burn the leaves by accident. This year there has been a bit more rain and the quality of the processing is generally better.
The work to manually process leaves in this manner is no small task. Processing around 20kg of fresh leaves can take a few hours. They must be done in small batches so as to ensure even heating. The constant heat from the wok is sweltering and the leaves must be constantly turned. This 20kg of leaves translates to around 5kg of maocha after sundrying.