Pure Bud Silver Strands

Pure Bud Silver Strands
Pure Bud Silver Strands

Yunnan “Pure Bud Silver Strands” First Flush Green Tea, 2019 from @yunnan_sourcing.

“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.”

Yunnan Sourcing

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.

#Tea #Cha #YunnanTea #YunnanSourcing #PureBudSilverStrands #DrinkTea #TeaEnthusiast

Yunnan “Jade Snail”

Yunnan “Jade Snail” Green Tea from Mojiang, 2019, via @yunnan_sourcing.

“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.”

Yunnan Sourcing

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.

Nice.

#Tea #GreenTea #JadeSnail #YunnanTea #YunnanSourcing #GreenTeaOfMojiang

“Bao Hong” Green Tea

Bao Hong Green Tea

Early Spring Yunnan “Bao Hong” Dragonwell Green Tea, 2019 via @yunnan_sourcing.

“”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.

#GreenTea #Cha #Tea #YunnanTea #YunnanSourcing #BaoHong #BaoHongTea

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

Yunnan “Pine Needles” Green Tea from Mengku, Spring 2018

Yunnan “Pine Needles” Green Tea from Mengku, Spring 2018 from Yunnan Sourcing’s “First Flush” Spring 2018 Green Tea Sampler.

I sort of thought yesterday’s “Jade Dragon” would be the highlight of the Yunnan Sourcing Spring 2018 Green Tea Sampler, but this tea is even more interesting.

First, due to the name of the village it is grown in. “This lovely tea is grown in Mengku County of Lincang in a village called “Dofu Zhai” (aka Tofu Village).” Tofu Village!

Second, it is a special varietal local to “Tofu Village” that is a hybrid of pure Camellia sinensis var. assamica and another varietal called “Change Ye Bai Hao”.

The name, “Song Zhen,” (or “Pine Needles,”) of course, comes from the appearance of the processed tea. After the “kill green” step, they are rolled super tightly along the rib to have the appearance, for all anyone knows, of being a pile of pine needles.

But, mostly, the tea is amazing due to its flavor. It comes out of the gate with a buttery caramel-esque flavor. Seriously. Which gives way to a mild stonefruit core. Finishes with sweetness, a touch of astringency, a very pleasant buzz, and a camphor/menthol sensation that seems to evaporate from your tongue.

What a wild ride!

#Tea #Cha #GreenTea #YunnanTea #YunnanSourcing

Yunnan Green Spring Snail Bi Luo Chun, Spring 2018

Yunnan Green Spring Snail Bi Luo Chun.

Yunnan Green Spring Snail Bi Luo Chun, Spring 2018, from Yunnan Sourcing’s “First Flush” Spring 2018 Green Tea Sampler.

There are a group of teas, or type of teas, which are classically called, “China’s 10 Famous Teas” (or sometimes 8 famous teas).

This classification goes back to before the communist revolution, at least late 1800s or early 1900s, maybe earlier.

The list slightly varies a bit from source to source, but it is usually about half green tea.

At the time, among those green teas, Lake Tai/Dongting Green Snail Spring from Suzhou, Jiangsu, was often considered the best of the best.

Suzhou is in the Central Eastern province, Jiangsu, near Shanghai.

This isn’t Lake Tai/Dongting Green Snail.

It is from Yunnan, which is a province in Southern China, bordering Myanmar, Laos, and Vientam.

The tea grown in the Jiangsu area tend to be on small leafed bushes. The tea grown in Yunnan area tend to be on big leafed, well, actual trees. Distinct varieties of tea are grown in each area, due to the differences in climate.

I haven’t had actual Bi Luo Chun from Jiangsu, so I can’t tell you how much this one resembles the other, but given the differences in regions, I don’t actually expect that this Yunnan Green Snail Bi Luo Chun tastes much like the real thing, from Jiangsu.

However, another distinguishing factor in “Green Snail” tea is how it is formed. As I mentioned, after the “Kill Green” step, green tea is usually formed into shapes which allow it to be stored without damaging the leaves.

In the case of “Green Snail” the tea is formed into a sort of double coil. First the leaf is rolled vertically, then it is rolled horizontally. The shape is said to resemble a snail which has been cooked and pulled out of its shell. Well, which you can see from the picture, it does. Yum.

While this tea may not be real “Bi Luo Chun” from Jiangsu, it is a very solid green tea.

I find with these assortments from Yunnan Sourcing, there is usually a couple exceptional teas, one unusual tea, and one that is just a solid, well priced example of the classification. A daily drinker, if you will.

This tea seems to be the daily drinker in this bunch. It is a super solid example of Yunnan green tea. Good clean flavor, forgiving of careless brewing, stands up to multiple brews, but doesn’t require it. I took it to my Mom’s house over the holiday and drank it every day.

#YunnanSourcing #Cha #Tea #DrinkTea #GreenTea

Jingmai Sun-Dried “Three Aroma” Bai Mu Dan White Tea

Jingmai Sun-Dried “Three Aroma” Bai Mu Dan White Tea, Spring 2018 via @yunnan_sourcing.

Another White tea which mixes leaf and buds. One that even more than yesterday’s illustrates the fragile nature of white tea. And why, when you see it in the bulk bin at rainbow grocery, it’s just a pile of broken leaves.

According to the Yunnan Sourcing site, this is called “Three Aroma” because the smell of the dry leaves, the wet leaves, and the tea in the cup are very distinct and different. The smell of the leaves is tobacco/dried fruit. The wet leaves are grassy/vegetal. And the tea itself a bit minty/floral.

It’s funny, because just yesterday I was thinking how white tea was so very much about aroma, and what you got in the cup was indicated by the smell of the leaves. Live and learn.

This is a more assertive tea than the bud-only white teas, with a pleasant and lightening buzz. Subtle sweetness and good length of flavor. The dried fruit flavors show again in the after taste. Really haunting, finding myself thinking about it long after I finished the last of the tea.

Though, I think I steeped it a bit too hot.

Fine, another tea accessory you need is an accurate thermometer, so you don’t overcook your white and green teas. Or get one of them fancy water boilers that allow you to pick the temperature your water is heated to.

#YunnanSourcing #YunnanTea #WhiteTea #tasseography #Tea #Cha

Jing Gu Yang Ta Yunnan Bai Mu Dan White Tea

Jing Gu Yang Ta Yunnan Bai Mu Dan White Tea, Spring 2018 via Yunnan Sourcing.
Instead of the more common Camellia sinensis, this tea is made from a wild species of Camellia, Camellia taliensis.

After the last several bud only white teas, you can see this one is the ‘one bud, one leaf’ style of tea.

This is a subtle, sweet and grassy tea with an herbal/mint after taste and a zippy caffeine content.

The notes on the Yunnan Sourcing website suggest floral/fruity notes may be expressed in later steeps. Not sure if I get those, but will continue to steep.

#Cha #Tea #CamelliaTaliensis #YunnanTea #JingguYangTa #YunnanSourcing #WhiteTea #tasseography

Ai Lao Mountain Jade Needle White Tea

Spring 2018 Yunnan Sourcing Ai Lao Mountain Jade Needle White Tea.

Today’s white tea is much closer to a green tea in character than yesterday’s Silver Needles. Strong green vegetal character, reminding me a bit of the smell of cooked mild green chiles or raw potatoes. But not in a bad way.

A pleasant lightening buzz centered in the upper chest and behind the eyes.

Which brings me to another tea myth, that green and white teas have significantly less caffeine than black teas. All tea categories are made from pretty much the same source material, so all have caffeine. White tea, Green Tea, Black Tea, etc. By weight, the caffeine content is, more or less, the same across tea categories. However, with broken leaf teas, the caffeine is much more available to be immediately dissolved than with whole leaf teas. One steep of broken leaf tea will have more caffeine than one steep of whole leaf tea. However, multiple steeps of whole leaf tea may express more caffeine, (and the other substances in the tea leaves,) than a single steep of broken leaf. Final trivia, since with powdered teas, like matcha, you actually drink the leaf with the tea, those tea drinks can have more caffeine than steeped teas!

The Chinese talk about the feelings and energy they get from different teas using the term “cha qi”. “Tea Energy” or “Tea Power”. It is related to caffeine rush, but not entirely the same.

Different teas can give you different sensations, some pleasant, some not so pleasant. Pay attention to how you feel after drinking a particular tea. If it isn’t a nice feeling, maybe it isn’t a tea for you.

#WhiteTea #YunnanSourcing #YunnanTea #Cha #Tea #tasseography