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itch22

Chinese Green Teas

66 posts in this topic

rereading in the Harney & Sons Guide to Tea that "The sweetness [of Japanese green teas] is extremely faint compared with the honeyed quality of many Chinese green teas,"

Another new tea today from jingteashop.com: Bi Luo Chun. I used 1 gram in an 80mL gaiwan, water about 175 degrees, and four infusions. The liquor was pale yellow-green, and finally, honey-sweet--quite similar to the gyokuro and sencha I was drinking recently, when they were at their freshest.

I bought a sample of this tea because it looked wild and curly like the Yunnan Mao Feng I've been enjoying so much, and not like the manicured dragon well that is so tricky for me to get right. And it is much more like the Mao Feng than the dragon well, but where the Mao Feng has a certain warmth and roundness of flavor--that hay-like quality that I enjoy so much in it and in the new-style oolongs, this Li Buo Chun is more vegetal when it's not sweet.

I foresee many happy cups of this in my future--or rather, something like this, because this one is sold out.

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Another day, another several infusions of Dragon Well--the 'Royal' grade from Wing Hop Fung--and all have come out very nicely. This time I remembered to measure, and I am using about 2 grams of tea with 75-80mL water at 160-170 degrees, brewing in a gaiwan at 30", 10", and 30". Sweet, vegetal, moderate astringency, almost no bitterness.

I bought more of it this weekend when I went to Wing Hop Fung.

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Tried a sample of Imperial Shi Feng Long Jing from Jing Tea today. I found it harder to get to that sweet spot I was hitting with the Royal Dragons Well from wing hop fung of late--it was nuttier and more astringent, but admittedly I was not very consistent with timing or temperature.

After that, I brewed up a gaiwan of Tian Mu Qing Ding T-65 from Chado tea, about which they say "The finest green tea from the top of Mt. Tianmu. This tea is mainly from the cloud and mist zone. Relaxing, pleasant and sweet." But in my hands this tea is smoky, earthy, not at all vegetal or sweet. The leaves are spindly and brown more than green, strongly resembling the sample photo on the web site, so it doesn't look like it was taken from the wrong bin. It's quite nice, but just doesn't bring 'green tea' to mind when I drink it.

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A thought on the Imperial Shi Feng Long Jing, which is a very high grade Dragon Well type of tea (about $20/oz), and the two Dragons Well teas I got from Wing Hop Fung (one about $15/oz and another $10/oz): I think I liked the 'Royal' Dragon Well better than either of the two higher grade teas, because I was getting a sweeter and less astringent brew from it.

When just considering the two from WHF I was unsure whether the difference was increasing skill in the brewing, but I've been working with the Imperial Long Jing as closely as possible to the same conditions I used with the Royal DW, and still see less sweetness and more astringency in the Imperial than I recall finding in the Royal.

Tonight's insight: perhaps the stronger astringent vegetal flavors of the other two are the prized 'nuttiness', precisely what makes them worth more to the traditional drinker of chinese green teas.

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Started the evening with a sample of Rishi's Moonlight white tea, from a tea swap with LuckyGirl. It's an interesting tea, with a fruity and tart note that I associate with oolongs or black teas, in addition to the delicate flavors typical of white tea. Quite surprising stuff.

It reminds me a lot of the spring Ya Bao from Norbu.


Edited by Wholemeal Crank (log)

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Setup:2 grams of tea in 75 mL gaiwan, water 160 degrees, 1st infusion 1 minute; 2nd infusion 165 degrees 1 minutes; 3rd infusion 170 degrees 2 minutes

Silver Needle Yellow Tea from Hunan (Wing Hop Fung)

Dry Leaves: green, needle-like; grassy, lemony, sweet

Liquor, 1st infusion: grassy, lemony, astringent

Liquor, 2nd infusion: grassy, astringent, bitter developing

Liquor, 3rd infusion: grassy, astringent, bitter, but not strong

Wet Leaves: single or paired narrow small leaves, grayer than the very fresh yellow-green of the last tea, but otherwise similar; overcooked vegetable odor

Yin Zhen Silver Needle (Chado)

Dry Leaves: pale, downy, narrow; light, floral, sweet

Liquor, 1st infusion: sweet, floral, delicate

Liquor, 2nd infusion: sweet, floral, delicate, touch of astringency

Liquor, 3rd infusion: camphor, floral, astringency increasing, weaker

Wet Leaves: thin narrow sage green leaves; still sweet, vegetal aroma

Organic Bai Mu Dan aka Peony White Tea (Wing Hop Fung)

Dry Leaves: some downy needles, a bit twiggy, some open very thin green leaves; sweet, floral, grassy

Liquor, 1st infusion: very vegetal and also peachy, delicate, camphor, sweet

Liquor, 2nd infusion: peachy, sweet, floral, less vegetal

Liquor, 3rd infusion: peachy, floral

Wet Leaves: mixed leaf pieces and stems; peachy, camphor aroma

Precious Rare White Tea (Wing Hop Fung)

Dry Leaves: neat, even, deep bright green needle-like leaves, not downy; delicate grassy odor

Liquor, 1st infusion: sweet, vegetal, nutty, strong resemblance to long jing

Liquor, 2nd infusion: sweet, vegetal, like a very delicate long jingo

Liquor, 3rd infusion: nutty, vegetal, very very nice

Wet Leaves: delicate single or paired tiny leaves, intact; sweet cooked pea aroma

upper left is Silver Needle Yellow Tea from Hunan (Wing Hop Fung); upper right is Yin Zhen Silver Needle (Chado); lower left Organic Bai Mu Dan aka Peony White Tea (Wing Hop Fung); lower right is Precious Rare White Tea (Wing Hop Fung)

Dry leaves

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Infused liquor

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Wet leaves

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That Rishi Moonlight white tea is clearly a Bai Mu Dan.


Edited by Wholemeal Crank (log)

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Tonight, at work, holding a little gong fu tasting session, comparing the Jing Tea Imperial Shi Feng Long Jing ($64.65/100g) to Wing Hop Fung's Premium Organic Dragonwell (~$33/100g). 1.3g leaf to about 60mL water in small gaiwans, water 160-170 degrees, short infusions of 30" to start, and there is a noticeable different right off the bat that continues through several infusions: the Jing has a much stronger vegetal flavor, with rich asparagus body; the WHF is more delicate, sweeter, and less vegetal, although the two liquors have a similar creamy mouthfeel. The leaves look virtually identical, except the WHF is a little brighter green, and the leaves after brewing have a little more delicate aroma too.

Very interesting comparison, head-to-head. I seem to like best whichever one I just finished drinking: they're quite different but both lovely teas. Next I need to compare these two to the "Precious Rare White Tea" from WHF.

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I just popped into my local tea shop (San Wan Chang)after a long absence to re-up on tie guan yin leaves for work. (I usually start with a few leaves in the cup in the morning and brew grand-pa style all day.)

Well, while I was in there, the sales assistant told me they'd just gotten in some 2010 long jing tea from Hangzhou (not so far from here). Going at the rate of 1300 RMB/kg I had to try some! She opened up the canister for me to have a whiff and I was sold. The leaves themselves are bright green and have a lovely grassy smell. I have brewed one small cup inexpertly - I was too eager to get out my thermometer and gaiwan - and I'm loving the astringency. I've just finished a late dim sum meal, and this tea is just the ticket for getting out the residual fattiness from the meal.

Now - how do I want to brew this properly?

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I like to brew it per my last post--1 to 2 grams in my smaller gaiwans with 75 mL of water, 160-170 degrees, infusions 30", 30", 45", 1', and often repeat immediately with another batch.

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160-170 fahrenheit, yes, which is about 71-76°C.

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Erin, if you have not already read through this topic from the top, you'll find a goodly amount of discussion on brewing Long Jing here that may give you some ideas about adjusting the brewing parameters to your taste. Since you enjoy the astringency, you may like it brewed at a higher temp (175 F) and with a higher leaf:water ratio than WmC. At the same time, grandpa style is just fine.

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A green tea tasting

Jade Pole Supreme Yunnan green tea from Yunnan Sourcing

Yunnan Bao Hong spring 2009 early green tea from Yunnan Sourcing

Jaksul green tea from Hankook

Jeung Je ‘not fermented’ green tea (label says www.sulloc.co.kr and nothing else in English)

I could hardly wait to try the new Korean green teas I bought last week. They are quite interesting, seeming a bit like a cross between a long jing and a sencha, and clearly a bit tricky to brew. The two Yunnan greens are quite similar to the Yunnan Mao Feng I got from Norbu. I would like to compare these last three together another time to get a better handle on the subtle differences between them, but doubt that I’ll feel a need to keep all three different kinds on hand at the same time in the future.

Used 1.8 grams of tea in small 40 mL gaiwans

Infusions 160°F/71°C-170°F/77°C

30”, 30” (probably too long, with all the bitterness coming out), 30”

Jade Pole Supreme Yunnan green tea from Yunnan Sourcing

Dry Leaves: long twists of intact leaves, camphor, vegetal, grassy aroma

Liquor, 1st infusion: pale ivory liquor; mild, camphor, floral

Liquor, 2nd infusion: peachy, sweet, camphor

Liquor, 3rd infusion: peachy, sweet, camphor, first astringency, hints of bitterness

Wet Leaves: beautifully intact yellow-green leaves, in pairs of one very small bud and one larger leaf

Yunnan Bao Hong spring 2009 early green tea from Yunnan Sourcing

Dry Leaves: flat thin small leaves and fragments, some stems, scent of hay, grass

Liquor, 1st infusion: yellow liquor; thicker body; hay, warm, less camphor, but very similar to the Jade Pole

Liquor, 2nd infusion: nutty, dark, vegetal, astringent

Liquor, 3rd infusion: sweet, vegetal, bit nutty, but much less astringent

Wet Leaves: more broken pieces, leaves are quite small, yellow-green,and also mostly buds and small leaves

Jaksul green tea from Hankook

Dry Leaves: curled small leaves and fragments, sweet, woodsy, piney

Liquor, 1st infusion: green clear liquor; grassy, a little sweet

Liquor, 2nd infusion: more astringent, even bitter, still grassy

Liquor, 3rd infusion: nutty, vegetal, mildly astringent

Wet Leaves: larger, broken leaves, fairly flat, very deep green

Jeung Je ‘not fermented’ green tea (label says www.sulloc.co.kr and nothing else in English)

Dry Leaves: very thin flat leaves, deepest green, sweet grass scent

Liquor, 1st infusion: green clear liquor; grassy, sweet, vegetal

Liquor, 2nd infusion: liquor very bright deep yellow; astringent, grassy, some bitterness

Liquor, 3rd infusion: astringency, grassy, vegetal

Wet Leaves: broken leaves, very curly even now, hard to flatten, darker green than the first two but less than the Jaksul

Photos:

Upper left Jade Pole Supreme Yunnan green tea from Yunnan Sourcing

Upper right Yunnan Bao Hong spring 2009 early green tea from Yunnan Sourcing

Lower left Jaksul green tea from Hankook

Lower right Jeung Je ‘not fermented’ green tea (label says www.sulloc.co.kr and nothing else in English)

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4433430248_2c3cbb8b4e.jpg

4432657103_0f811bfa36.jpg

4433433994_4f7a663c42.jpg

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My overall impression of the Korean greens was that they were nice, but not different or special enough for me to keep seeking them out at this time. A lot of sources claim that Korean teas outside of Korea are quite expensive for the quality, given their rarity, but at this point in my tea journey it's hard to know if my so-so reaction to them is due to their innate characteristics or it simply being my first time working with them (remembering how much trouble I had with Dragon Well, which I'm drinking a couple of times a week now).

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The name of Longjing Tea (literally translated as Dragon Well) may come from four sources,tea tree,the well,the temple and the spring. This tea comes from the shores of West Lake (Xi-hu),at Hangzhou City,Zhejiang Province,China.

Long time ago,Longjing Tea was highly praised for its absolute beauty in four aspects: greenish color,elegant fragrance,mellow taste and prettiness in appearance. The delicate fragrance is very long-lasting and bright liquor gives a refreshing,brisk,mellow and sweet aftertaste.

To process Longjing Tea,the tea leaf must undergo intensive pan-frying steps by hands during the entire process. In a custom-made pan,the leaves are repeatedly stirred and agitated by hand with different hand gesture: as many as 10 different styles (十大手法 Shi-da Shou-fa) are a must.

There are many versions of longjing tea found in the market,nevertheless,the best longjing tea comes from its original place,the Longjing Village (Long jing cun) which covers several historically renowned longjing tea producing areas. At present, there are many tea produced from other places in Zhejiang Province,which is called Zhejiang longjing tea. However,due to the unique climatic environment and different manufacturing expertise, the quality is different from that of origin. Besides,the producing areas at certain places of Zhejiang Province are located in urban area which is exposed to the risk of heavy metal contamination from vehicles and industrial area.

longjing-producing-area.jpg

Mei Jia Wu- one of the original longjing tea producing areas

longjing-imperial-tree.jpg

The 18 longjing tea trees(十八棵)which were granted as Imperial Tea Trees (御茶)by Emperor Qiang-Long

longjing-tea.jpg

Dried Longjing Tea Leaves


Edited by viconyteas (log)

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Several famous chinese green teas (1)

Huo Qing Tea

Huo Qing Tea resembles Gunpowder tea but it is actually a much higher quality tea. Gunpowder is made in Zhejiang province with low quality leaves while Huo Qing Tea is made in Anhui province with one bud two leaves system, more tasty. The astringency throughout the mouth sustains the notes well. It is a overwhelming green tea for those who prefer strong flavour.

Yong Xi Huo Qing

Huo Qing Tea was first produced in an Village named Yong Xi in Anhui province so it was commonly called Yong Xi Huo Qing in China.

Huo Qing Tea was tightly rolled, dark, glossy leaves with a few more yellowy shades. It is called as jade fire as the tea has been fired over charcoal. It unfurls in the cup to produce a lovely scene. The distinctively rich and smooth floral flavor presents a pleasant balance of astringency and sweetness with a long and refreshing aftertaste. The tea has a strong, vegetal and lasting flavour. As it has been fired by charcoal during the process, it has a unique light smokey fragrance.

huo-qing-tea.png

Huo Qing Tea- Dried Tea Leaves

brewed-huo-qing.png

Brewed leaves of Huo Qing Tea

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Today I tried a new tea from my latest order from Norbu: 2010 Spring Meng Ding Huang Ya - Sichuan Yellow Tea.

What a lovely tea! I started out with what looked like a small volume of green leaves in my kamjove, which had little scent, then added water and there was a strong scent of green peas as soon as the water hit them. The leaves expanded to fill their chamber almost entirely. The first steep was a little long and ended up overconcentrated, and I did find a little bitterness in it; but when I finished up a thermos full from these leaves, as I intended, it ended up as essence of summer hay, warm and mellow, just lovely.

I can see this will be a keeper. I think it will be particularly nice of an evening, to keep infusing while doing paperwork, semi-gongfu cha, but also is going to be lovely for a thermos full when I have to be away from my desk for half a day or more. But I will watch that first steep.

I was particularly pleased with this one because I recently tried some "silver needle yellow tea" from Hunan which was just unbearably bitter for me, very unlike the couple of wonderful yellow teas I've had from other sources.

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Another lovely new tea today: from Wing Hop Fung, a Xiang Bi Luo, which looks like a Bi Lo Chun, curly and delicate leaves, and was from a new supplier so was quite attractively priced. Very nice, not quite up to the standard of the BLC I got from Jingteashop last year, but still, inexpensive and available locally, two pluses.

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Tai Ping Hou Kui by Wing Hop Fung today.

This is a weird and wonderful tea. The leaves are gigantic, wide, flat, long.

First try with this tea was 30 seconds infusion at 160 degrees, about a gram of tea in 2 ounces of water in a small porcelain gaiwan. It is sweet, spicy, vegetal, floral.

So far, the 9th infusion is still very similar, very very nice: the vegetal flavor is weakening, mildly there, but the sweetness and spicy is still present. And this is not a super fancy version of this tea: I only paid $39.99/lb for it. The ends of the leaves are broken, so it’s not fully intact, but given the size of the leaves, a break or two in each does not seem to be making anything bitter.

Even after 5 infusions, the sweet/spicy scent is still there in the wet leaves.

It reminds me most of the Anji white tea I’ve been getting from WHF, but this one is a fraction of the price. I will definitely keep this one in regular circulation.

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And of course, a few photos of the Tai Ping Hou Kui:

4874143674_d3649744e1.jpg

4874144944_8bd252d449.jpg

4874149224_abd4c8dcdb.jpg

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I work as a nurse, and currently have an older Chinese gentleman as a patient. We got to talking about teas, Chinese green teas in particular, and he concentrated on the brewing method. He says to do it properly, you must make a teapot full (he didn't give an exact size, but said the customary setup is a teapot with 6 small cups). You add the loose leaves, pour in hot water, then immediately discard the water because it is now bad. Then you add more hot water and allow to steep for 2 minutes. This is the tea that you want to drink, and everything else (I'm assuming he means 2nd brew, 3rd brew, etc.) is something that just isn't as good.

Is this an accepted way, or just his particular way of making green tea? I have precious little experience brewing loose leaf teas, and I've never added water and then immediately discarded it. Thanks.


"...which usually means underflavored, undersalted modern French cooking hidden under edible flowers and Mexican fruits."

- Jeffrey Steingarten, in reference to "California Cuisine".

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I've not often seen a first rinse recommended for green teas. I have resorted to a long 'rinse' to get rid of some intense bitterness from a young sheng puerh but not a more typical green tea.

That said, there seem to be as many ways to brew it as there are green tea drinkers and green teas for them to drink!

I love my green teas infused cool and short, mostly done gongfu style in gaiwans (chinese) or kyusu (senchas), multiple infusions, gradually increasing the heat, rarely more tea per infusion than I can drink in a few minutes. I do occasionally fill the thermos with green tea, but only if I expect to share it widely and finish it before the tea is noticeably going off, within an hour or so after brewing.

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WmC, I think his method is interesting, but I'll stick with your method, especially since I don't drink huge quantities of hot tea at any given time anyway. Thanks!


"...which usually means underflavored, undersalted modern French cooking hidden under edible flowers and Mexican fruits."

- Jeffrey Steingarten, in reference to "California Cuisine".

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Is this an accepted way, or just his particular way of making green tea? I have precious little experience brewing loose leaf teas, and I've never added water and then immediately discarded it. Thanks.

This is how they made the tea when I visited the Longjing tea plantation in China. When they make the tea, they press and push the tea leaves around a heated pan. The idea with the quick rinse when you brew the tea is to wash away any residues which might be on the tea leaves in order to give the cleanest tasting and looking cup of tea. I've also seen this done with oolong teas at tea shops.

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