“We have offered the “Silver Strands” 银丝 varietal green tea (a robust one leaf to one bud ratio) since 2005, but decided to also offer its first flush tippy “pure bud” counterpart. Picked in the earliest part of spring (in Late-February) before the spring rains arrive, this pure bud pluck features small hairy silver tips with no leaf.”
Darker green flavors, but with a minty aftertaste.
Expected this to be light, but those light flavors are pretty meaty/umami/mushroom in nature. Very little sweetness. Kept the water on the cool side, respecting the buds.
Aside from a bit of mint, not a lot of length, nor that strong for re-steeps.
A solid light tea, if you like them on the meaty side of green.
“This “Jade Snail” 玉螺 green tea is a tippy one leaf to one bud pick but because it’s such and early spring tea the leaf is typically quite small. The result is a balanced green tea with both robust and sweet attributes.”
Thick body, light flavor.
The early flavors and scents are on the greener side, reminiscent of asparagus, but it’s a savory tea whose lingering grain-ish sweetness expresses itself the finish, rather than the early flavors.
There’s a little mid-tongue bitterness, that I can sense more than actually taste.
Just enough to keep it interesting.
Somehow, there is a lingering after-taste evoking dried fruit.
For a tea that seems simple and lightly flavored at first taste, it is surprisingly complex as the steeps progress.
Not bad resteepability for a green tea and thought provoking length.
“”Bao Hong” tea is from Yi Liang county of Yunnan. It’s leaf is quite small and it carries a high level of aroma. The leaves are always picked when very small and fresh during a two hour window of time in the early morning of mid-February. The aroma is intense and fresh.”
In the method of picking and processing, this is quite similar to Long Jing Dragon Well tea. If you looked at a basket of the dry leaves, I wouldn’t be surprised if you mistook it for a high quality Long Jing Dragon Well tea. That is, until you brewed a cup.
While it looks a bit like Dragon Well tea from Long Jing, the flavor of the tea is very distinct from it.
Green teas tend to fall along light and dark flavor families, lighter green flavors like asparagus and tarragon vs darker, meatier flavors like collard greens and seaweed.
While still super fresh, it is a 2019 first flush tea after all, this is on the darker side of the green tea spectrum, at least for bud heavy, spring teas.
There’s something in the flavors that is super familiar to me, but that I can’t quite place. It’s not an off or bitter flavor, it’s just a bit unusual in a tea for me.
My coworker described the aftertaste as a bit like the soft drink “Sprite”. I haven’t had Sprite for years, but I feel like I remember it was heavier on the lime than the lemon. And I kind of get that, there’s a bit of the sort of dark lime-like flavor which lingers on the palate, lightened by a sparkle of darker spearmint.
If you’re tired of the usual green tea suspects, the Bao Hong Green Tea is an interesting one to try to wrap your mind around.
“This is a classic “Robust” style Yunnan Bi Luo Chun (rolled) Green Tea, with a mix of 2 leaf to 1 bud plucking style.”
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.
“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.”
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”?
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. “
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.
“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.”
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.
This is another tea from the Simau, (or Puerh,) prefecture of Yunnan Province. In this case, it is a Ripe, or Shou, Pu-erh tea. One unusual thing about this tea, is that it is grown from “Te Ji” grade leaf, which is the second smallest grade used to produce Puerh tea. It was harvested in April of 2017.
“The tea was harvested from organically cultivated tea pure assamica varietal tea bushes growing at an altitude 1300-1350 meters (4300-4450 feet) on summit of Ma Wei Mountain (just west of Pu’Er City). The tea is picked and processed into sun-dried mao cha, and then wet piled (wu dui) for 45 days, transforming it into ripe pu-erh tea (熟普洱). “
The wet pile taste is mild for such a young tea, and fades in the middle steeps, making it a good tea for newer drinkers of ripe pu-erh. It pours nearly coffee dark and exhibits pleasant chocolate-like flavors and mild bitterness early. Later, it shows some nice camphor and floral character in the aftertaste.
One warning/feature, is the tea has a very potent buzz. I was sharing this with my coworker and quite glad I didn’t drink the whole batch or I would have been buzzing three ways ’til Sunday.
Starting from the end, the tea is from “Jinngu” County in the Simao Prefecture of Yunnan Provice of China. The Simao Prefecture is also sometimes called “Pu’Er” and it is the heart of Puerh tea production in China.
This is a “White Tea”, meaning the buds and leaves are picked, briefly faded, then quickly dried.
It is made in the “Moonlight” style, which is a style of white tea made in Yunnan which is allowed to oxidize slightly more than is normal during the fading, expressing more of the fruit character of the tea.
In the more mountainous regions of Puerh, there are trees whose buds and leaves are higher in anthocyanins, it is believed in reaction to the elevation. These trees are called “Purple”. These tea trees are often used to make PuErh and Black Teas, but the anthocyanins contribute to making them rather on the bitter sides of those styles. (FYI, there are three distinct types of purple tea varietals in teas on the Yunnan Sourcing site, so it can be a bit confusing.)
Finally, it is “Wild Tree”, which means that the trees from which these buds and leaves are harvested grow outside of the commercial Puerh plantations. It is my understanding that this particular tea is only picked once a year and in a fairly small amount. It often sells out quickly on the Yunnan Sourcing site.
When you open the bag and smell the dry leaves, the aroma is amazing. Dried stonefruit and leather. Completely different from the mild floral or earthy perfume you might be used to from most white teas.
The wet tea is true to the dry aroma, as is the flavor of the steeped beverage. Dried stonefruit and earthy, leathery flavors. If you push it, and brew it hot, you will start to express a bit of the bitterness which can be present in other styles. It has a haunting length of flavor and the leaves, brewed carefully, last for many steeps.
If you like White tea, but are looking for a truly special tea with a little more zest and variety, this is a great one to try. Keep an eye out for it on the Yunnan Sourcing Instagram, Website, or Newsletter.