Xinyang Mao Jian Green Tea of Henan

Xinyang Mao Jian Green Tea of Henan

Imperial Xinyang Mao Jian Green Tea of Henan, Spring 2018 via @yunnan_sourcing.

Mao Jian Green Tea is another sometimes included in lists of “Big 10 Famous Chinese Teas” (十大中国名茶)”.

Imperial Xinyang Mao Jian is a bit similar to Bi Luo Chun from Suzhou, really tiny buds. Seriously, look at this teeny bud!

Xinyang Mao Jian Green Tea of Henan

The main visual difference in the tea form from Bi Luo Chun being the Bi Luo Chun is twisted twice to give it the snail shape, while the Xinyang Mao Jian is only twisted once.

Clean, bright flavors of sweet grass. Thick soup. Not as nutty as Dragonwell or Bi Luo Chun, more of a leafy, meaty, green flavor.

My coworker described it as, “oaty and flowery at the same time”. He also declared it his favorite tea I’ve made for him so far. I don’t know if I’d go quite that far, but it is very, very good.

#Tea #Cha #GreenTea #YunnanSourcing #XinyangMaoJian #MaoJian #HenanTea #ChineseTea #DrinkTea

Fancy Grade Bi Luo Chun

Certified Organic “Fancy Grade Bi Luo Chun”

Certified Organic “Fancy Grade Bi Luo Chun”, Spring 2018 from @yunnan_sourcing.

“This is a classic “Robust” style Yunnan Bi Luo Chun (rolled) Green Tea, with a mix of 2 leaf to 1 bud plucking style.”

Yunnan Sourcing

Which is to say, you won’t mistake Yunnan Bi Luo Chun for the classic ethereal Bi Luo Chun from Jiangsu known for its tiny buds. These leaves abd buds are hearty Yunnan-style, some of them are downright huge.

This is a hearty green tea with a thick soup and pleasant outgoing vegetal character. It is relatively forgiving of careless brewing, but rewards care, exposing layers of green flavor in the main tastes and mint in the aftertaste. Gongfu style brewing, this tea will stand up to several steeps and just keep on going.

It is a great, organic, reasonably priced, perfect tea for an every day green tea drinker.

#Cha #Tea #OrganicTea #GreenTea #BiLuoChun #YunnanTea #YunnanSourcing

“Long Tang Gu Shu” Old Arbor Raw Pu-erh Tea Cake

2018 @yunnan_sourcing “Long Tang Gu Shu” Old Arbor Raw Pu-erh Tea Cake.

“We are proud to invite you to experience our first ever production from Long Tan Village (龙塘 Dragon Pool)!  Long Tang village is a small village in the northern part of Jinggu county at an altitude of 1500 meters…Our Spring 2018 production is from tea gardens of two families and is picked from 80-200 year old tea trees.  The total production for both families being around 50 kilograms.”

Yunnan Sourcing

The flavor is deceptively mild for a young raw/sheng Pu-erh. Flavor is clean, but on the savory/briney side, with a very long aftertaste reminiscent of certain incense. There is a bit of appetizing tannic grip which you can sense on your tongue after drinking the tea, but little bitterness.

Given the mild, clean character of the tea, there is quite a lot of complexity to turn over in your mind as you drink. I can only think it will get more interesting as it ages. And, who can resist a tea from “Dragon Pool”?

Very strong, clear, chest based buzz (cha qi).

#Cha #Tea #PuerhTea #YunnanSourcing #DrinkTea #PuerhCha #RawPuerh #ShengPuerh

Tai Ping Hou Kui

Tai Ping Hou Kui Green Tea from Anhui, Spring, 2018 via @yunnan_sourcing.

So, right from the start, this has a very distinct look! The individual spears of tea are 3-4 inches long and nearly completely flat. Another very unique, and labor intensive process, is used for this tea!

” Our Tai Ping Hou Kui is grown in Hou Gang village near Huangshan Mountain in Anhui.  It was harvested in mid-April (first flush) from a decades old tea garden at about 300 meters.  The tea is hand-fried in a wok for several minutes (kill-green) and the roasted in a four drawer system at progressively lower temperatures.  This roasting is achieved in about an hour, after which the tea leaves are laid out by hand on a smooth piece of paper or fabric and then pressed between the paper and using wooden blocks. Finally the tea is low temperature roasted one more time to further reduce moisture content so that it can be stored sealed to maintain freshness. “

Yunnan Sourcing

The dry tea has a distinct sweet, grass like smell. Brewed, it shows strong tarragon/mint character, with lingering sweetness and a bit of citrus and fruit in some of the later steeps.

Brewing in a gaiwan is a little odd, you kind of have to add water and then press the tea down as it softens, a bit like making spaghetti with not quite enough water. An easier way, and possibly more attractive, would just be to put some tea in a tall clear glass, then add warm water, as you would brew dragonwell.

A bit similar to Liu An Gua Pian “Melon Seed” Green Tea, also from Anhui, at least in the tarragon/mint character. Though, I think it is an even lighter tea, with a bit less vegetal character and perhaps more sweetness and aroma. Though, if you think about the sweetness, it is more like the sweet smell of a freshly mown field of hay, rather than sugar cane type sweetness.

Fast, strong, chest based buzz.

For the record, this tea is sometimes included as “one of the “Big 10 Famous Chinese Teas” (十大中国名茶)”.

Overall, another fantastic green tea which opens my eyes to the variety of shapes, smells in the tea world.

#Tea #Cha #GreenTea #YunnanSourcing #TaiPingHouKui #AnhuiTea

no. 2 rougui

No. 2 rougoui from @white2tea.

The last of the seven Wuyi Yancha samples from the white2tea January tea club.

“The name rougui literally translates as cinnamon, one of the most famous varieties of yancha [rock oolong].  From early May 2018, this tea had four roasts, but the flavors of the flame have receded by the time of its release to reveal the flavors and aromas of dark fruits and deep mineral character within the tea.”

white2tea

Punching slightly above my weight class with this Oolong.

As I’ve only tried these seven Wuyi Oolong in my life, I’m at a bit of a loss as where to start with this exceptional tea.

Also, I’m a bit emotionally traumatized by listening to Scott Walker’s album “The Drift” on the way home from work.

It’s a tea that does reward careful drinking and preparation, turning over the different aspects of the flavor and scent in your mind as you savor it, and as it evolves through the course of a gong fu session. The roast character, the mineral character, the fruit, and the long lasting sweet aftertaste.

#Cha #Tea #WuyiYancha #white2tea #Oolong #RockOolong #DrinkTea #GongFuCha

Spice Flower

Spice Flower from @white2tea.

“Spice Flower is an oolong tea from the Fujian province of China. Roasted to a medium light level, the floral sweetness and spicy character of this tea shines through the roasted character.”

white2tea

Some times when I taste a tea, I kind of wonder if I have the right one.

In the case of white2tea’s spice flower, I am totally wondering if the bag was mis-labelled or if my taste is just off today.

To me, the roast is totally dominant, especially in the early steeps. I get the creamy/milky character described in the tasting notes, and in later steeps, it does seem quite sweet in character, with a lingering floral, light character. It does seem less oxidized than some of the other white2tea Wuyi Yancha.

The lingering scent in the share cup reminds me a bit of watermelon and soft berries.

I gave a cup to my coworker and he described its primary character and flavor as “ash”.

So, I dunno. The problem with single dose samples is you only get one chance to brew and if you screw it up, there are no second chances.

The buzz is on the zippy side and it is a very tasty tea. It just doesn’t seem to match the description.

#Cha #Tea #White2Tea #WuyiOolong #WuyiYancha #RockOolong #DrinkTea #Oolong

Liu An Gua Pian “Melon Seed”

Liu An Gua Pian “Melon Seed” Green Tea from Anhui via @yunnansourcing.

“Liu An Gua Pian (六安瓜片 also known as Lu’an Gua Pian or Melon Seed) is one of the “Big 10 Famous Chinese Teas” (十大中国名茶), and is grown in Da Bie Mountain Liu An area of Anhui province. (大别山六安市安徽省).  Liu An Gua Pian first became popular during the Qing Dynasty.”

Yunnan Sourcing

Liu An Gua Pian is an unusual tea in a number of ways.

The first way that it is unusual is that it is picked later than most first flush teas, so more mature leaves are used. The second way that it is unusual is that no bud or stem is included in the tea, only a single leaf is rolled.

This makes it incredibly labor intensive to produce, (Well, actually, all tea picked and processed by hand is incredibly labor intensive!)

First the stems and buds are removed from the picked tea leaves. Then leaves are allowed to wither briefly. Then they are quickly processed in an open wok-like oven to “kill green”. Then they are passed through the wok-like oven again and each individual leaf is formed into a cylinder with a brush-like device. Finally, the formed tea is repeatedly heated briefly over open flame neutral flavored charcoal to dry it.

Since it is larger leaves, the flavor is incredibly clean and light.

It’s funny, a lot of times green tea is compared to the sweet flavor of fresh asparagus, and most of the time I don’t really agree. However, on Saturday I made the first asparagus of the year with meyer lemon, olive oil, and tarragon. With Liu An Gua Pian, I totally get the asparagus thing, and even a little bit of tarragon and mint in the finish.

Definitely the perfect tea for a beautiful spring day.

#Cha #Tea #DrinkTea #YunnanSourcing #GreenTea #LiuAnGuaPian #LuanGuaPian

OBSX

OBSX from @white2tea.

“OBSX…Yancha [rock oolong] made from older bush material, this tea is often called laocong shuixian which literally translates as old bush narcissus; shuixian being the varietal of tea.”

White2tea

Shuixian or “Shui Hsien” is actually one of the more common varieties of Oolong. It is suitable to growing in regions of China other than Fujian, and that lower quality Oolong, from outside of Fujian, is what you may get if you order Oolong tea in a Chinese restaurant or order “Oolong” flavored Bubble Tea.

This “laocong shuixian” from white2tea, however, is quite interesting. It lacks a bit in scent, but what it lacks in scent, it makes up for in flavor of the tea. Uh, and in its potent buzz.

There is a light narcissus scent, but the flavors are on the dark side. Tobacco leaf, especially, and a bit of leather. I especially understood, with this tea, the mineral character that is often used to describe “Rock” Oolong. Those mineral briney flavors are very prominent, along with those other dark flavors. The downside to the light scent is that OBSX doesn’t have a lot of staying power or aftertaste. Once the flavor is gone from your mouth, there isn’t much that lingers in your palate or mind.

I think I would best describe this burly, dark OBSX Oolong as an Oolong for Pu-Erh drinkers, especially those that appreciate a potent kick from their tea.

#Cha #Tea #OolongTea #WuyiYancha #RockOolong #White2Tea

dahongpao

Dahongpao from @white2tea.

“Originally used to describe the tea from a small group of bushes in Fujian, the name Dahongpao in a modern context is more commonly used to describe blends of yancha [rock oolong] instead of denoting a varietal or processing distinction.”

white2tea

Originally, the term Da Hong Pao was used to describe a tea made from a few bushes in Fujian. Or to quote the wikipedia.

According to legend, the mother of a Ming dynasty emperor was cured of an illness by a certain tea, and that emperor sent great red robes to clothe the four bushes from which that batch of tea originated. Famously expensive,[1][2] Da Hong Pao can sell for up to US$1,025,000 per kilogram or US $35,436 per ounce (20z of Da Hong Pao tea from one of the mother plants was sold for ¥156,800 in 1998).

Da Hong Pao wikipedia article

So, this, obviously, isn’t that Da Hong Pao, in fact it is one of the more reasonable Wuyi Oolongs on the White2Tea site, and they describe it as being a good introduction to “quality” Stone Oolong.

I would agree. While some of the other Oolongs went long on fragrance or oxidation, their dahongpao charts a nice middle path. Good complexity, yet not daunting. Pleasant fragrance, but not overly perfumed. A little grip, but sweet enough to be balanced. I do like the finish, though. It’s not super strong while you are drinking it, but it came back to me at various times during the day, haunting me a bit (in a good way).

#Tea #Cha #White2Tea #OolongTea #WuyiYancha #WuyiOolong #StoneOolong

stone milk

stone milk wuyi yancha.

Stone milk wuyi yancha, aka rock oolong, from @white2tea.

I have to admit I’ve always been a little curious about “Stone Milk” Oolong.

It’s such a curious name for a tea.

The smell of the wet leaves is just fantastic, caramel smells with a mild sweet perfume.

Early impressions of the flavor tell me this has more tannic grip than either of the previous Wuyi Yancha. It has a thick feel in the mouth, as the tannins cause you to produce saliva. There is an almost lactic acid like late taste which combines with a subtle roasty-ness. Great long lasting aftertastes which primarily remind me of red berries with a touch of mint.

Nice buzz, but not too overwhelming.

Overall, an outstanding tea, and probably a good one to introduce English style black tea drinkers to Wuyi Oolong.

#Tea #Cha #white2tea #wuyiyancha #OolongTea #RockOolong #DrinkTea