2020 Huang Shen Mao Feng from Retour des Montagnes Jaune.
If one tea is unanimously liked from Northern China’s Siberian steps to Southern China’s tropical forests, it is the Mao Feng from Yellow Mountains. Smooth, sweet and subtly flowery, this tea is a mirror of the millennial poetical Chinese culture. Its name, Mao Feng, is coming for this poetical realm, as an homage to the “Downy Peaks” of the Yellow Mountains surrounding the tea gardens.
Type: Yellow Mountain green tea
Producteur : Family Lü – Shexian County – Da Gu Yun
Période de cueillette : 2nd April 2020 (pre Qing Ming – batch 01)Retour des Montagnes Jaune
While in China, Green Tea is more universally drunk than any other sort of tea, in the US, green tea has never been very popular.
I have some theories as to why this is.
First, green tea needs to be drunk fresh to appreciate its subtle charms, and, ideally, it should be drunk within 18months of its picking.
There just isn’t a market for selling vintage dated tea in the US.
The best case is usually an undated bulk bin in a coop, hippy grocery, or spice store.
So, most of the green tea sold in the US is probably old, largely flavorless, or, if it does taste, it tastes like the patchouli sold in the hippy spice store it came from.
Second, green tea is about subtle charm, herbaceous light flavors, and a slight lingering sweetness.
The jaded American palate is about big bold flavors, we don’t really hang with the less-is-more ethos which the best green teas strive for.
Finally, green tea is best made with slightly less than boiling water, in addition, due to its subtle flavor characteristics, you really need to pay attention to the quality of the water you use.
So, suppose do somehow find some well stored green tea in the US, how should you drink it and what should you expect?
The most common way green tea is drunk in China is “Grandpa Style”, where you put a pinch of tea in your thermos or mug in the morning, add off boil water, let it cool until it is drinkable, and then add more hot water through the day as you drink and the water level goes down.
Alternatively, if you have some friends coming over, you can make it in a pitcher or if you are solo, the usual gong fu method with a gaiwan.
Which brings us to the Huang Shen Mao Feng from Retour des Montagnes Jaunes. We talked about Huang Shen Mao Feng once before in this post, “Huangshan Maofeng“. Everything there applies to this tea and I stand by my previous tasting notes, “light grassy vegetal flavor evocative of green beans or asparagus with a camphor/pine aftertaste…This is a super elegant and light green tea, more vegetal than fruity, almost no bitterness or grip to speak of.”
The only thing I will say is that this Huang Shen Mao Feng from Retour des Montagnes Jaunes is it was an earlier pick, so it has smaller buds, and lighter, less vegetal, flavor than the “Huangshan Maofeng Has Strong Buds” from Yin Xiang Hua Xia tea had been.
About this tea, Retour des Montagnes Jaunes says, “It is a very smooth tea, sweet and honey-like: a nice introduction to the subtlety of Chinese green teas.” I would completely agree with that. While this is a green tea, it is almost like a silver needles type white tea in its delicate character and the light color of its soup.