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itch22

Chinese Green Teas

66 posts in this topic

Two Tai Ping Hou Kui green teas

Head to head comparison of an inexpensive version from Wing Hop Fung, and a fancier grade from Jing Tea Shop.

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2 grams of leaf: Wing Hop Fung on the left, and Jing Tea Shop on the right

Jing's version has larger, more intact leaves, and the color is brighter and fresher

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I used 2 grams of tea in gaiwans with about two and half ounces (75mL) of water at 160-165 degrees per infusion, and infusions times of 45 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute, and 90 seconds.

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Even though the leaves are quite long, they soften enough to fit in the gaiwans.

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The Jing tea is not only lighter in color of liquor and leaf, but cleaner and lighter in flavor, with lemon notes amid the sweet pea vegetal flavors. There is a bit more spiciness in the WHF version, probably a bit of astringency coming out. This was consistent through all of the infusions, the greater refinement and higher quality of the Jing tea being obvious.

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Leaves after infusions

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Thanks for the great tasting notes and photos, WC. You inspired me to pull out my packet of the jingteashop.com Tai Ping Hou Kui. This is from last Spring and it is impressive how well this holds up. Interestingly I did get a bit of a spicy note on the second infusion, but it disappeared on the third. This may be because I brewed with a slightly richer leaf:water ratio than you used - 5 g in a 140ml gaiwan.

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Huang Shen Mao Feng from Jing Tea Shop

I was very curious about this tea in particular because I've very much enjoyed Norbu's large-leaf green tea from Yunnan also called "Mao Feng", but I suspected it was quite different from the 'real thing', and wanted to see what the original was like.

Medium green, thin twisty leaves

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on Flickr

5 grams in a 200mL pot with about 150mL of water, 150 degrees

First infusion 30 seconds, warm, sweet, a certain smoky/toasted/grilled vegetable background…..

2nd infusion 20 seconds, pale green liquor, the sweet warm flavor is still there, but the toasted vegetable flavor--not a bitterness, perhaps a touch of astringency in it--is dominant now.

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Ran out of time, so I added cold water and set the leaves to the refrigerator to try to get one more steeping out of them. But the resulting infusion, a day later, has a strong bitterness underlying a delicious fresh sweet vegetal flavor; I did not finish it. I also forgot to shoot the leaves after infusion, but they were pale minty green, long, thin, rolled almost into little cylinders.

I used a quite moderate tea-to-water ratio, and very cool water with short brewing times, all designed to moderate and minimize any bitterness. This is a tea that sat, sealed from the shop, for some months before I opened it, so it might have lost something re: freshness. Before assuming this just isn't my cup of green tea, I'll try it again--it took me nearly a year to 'get' Dragon Well, after all.

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As it happens, I'm drinking it again for the first time right now. It's coming out light and sweet and delightful. I didn't weigh it before preparing the tea, but I'm pretty sure I brewed it a lot lighter--you'd find my sweet water amusing. But it is delightful right now, sweet and mellow, not at all nutty like a Dragon Well. It's actually a lot closer to the very delicate and fantastic 'white' tea of An Ji (actually a green tea). I'm brewing it very cool--150 degrees. Mmmm.

I think the key for me will be to keep it VERY dilute.

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I posted in this topic a while ago about my puzzlement over a phrase from The Harney & Sons Guide to Tea: "the honeyed quality of many Chinese green teas". I have tasted a lot of sweetness in various chinese green, oolong, and even puerh teas, but rarely anything approaching 'honeyed'. Today, I tasted a free sample included in my latest order from Greg at Norbutea, and I found the answer. Gu Zhu Zi Sun Zhejiang green tea from Norbu has the honeyed sweetness I thought didn't exist:

3 grams in 3 ounce preheated iron-rich clay shiboridashi

170°F/77°C, 30 seconds--weet, vegetal, grassy, a delicate floral note too. VERY NICE!

170°F/77°C, 30 seconds--sweet, and the floral is stronger this infusion, fantastic

170°F/77°C, 45 seconds--wow, how does this one go on like this? I am drinking a meadow of spring flowers--THIS is the "honeyed sweetness of Chinese green teas" that I read about in one of my tea books, and haven't ever properly tasted in tea before. I've had some fine green teas that have had hints of this, but usually tempered with nuttiness or astringency or bitterness when the tea is pushed a bit, or just lower-key with the floral elements, and here there is nothing roasted, just sweet, floral, wow.

190°F/88°C, 30 seconds--still that astonishing sweetness, and my tastebuds are dancing.

185°F/85°C, 1 minute--oh my….I am in love.

190°F/88°C, 2 minutes--still delicious, the floral richness a little less intense now.

(remaining infusions between 190°F/88°C and 200°F/93°C)

3 minutes--enough sweet floral flavor remains to encourage a 4th infusion.

4 minutes--mmmm, a little lighter now, still pleasant.

5 minutes--closing in on sweet water, done now.

What a marvelous tea!

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I just finished a lovely session with a pair of Long Jings: Premium Organic Dragon Well from Wing Hop Fung, probably 2010 harvest (bought sometime in the past year), and Xi Hu Long Jing from Norbu, Spring 2011.

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The dry leaves of the Xi Hu are much brighter green, and they're larger, but the smell of the leaves is similar--bright vegetal scents, just a little stronger for the fresher Xi Hu tea.

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2 grams of each in gaiwans with 75 mL of 160°/71°C water to start

30" first infusion

Prem Org (WHF)

very nutty, vegetal, peas and asparagus

Xi Hu (Norbu)

softer on the nutty, more sweet peas

20" second infusion

Prem Org (WHF)

again, the nutty notes are very strong,

Xi Hu (Norbu)

sweeter again, but still some nutty

40" third infusion

Prem Org (WHF)

lighter, still vegetal and nutty

Xi Hu (Norbu)

now more peas with hints of nuttiness, less sweet

increasing temp--177°F/81°C for the fourth infusion, 1 minute

Prem Org (WHF)

sweeter this time, still astringent, toastier

Xi Hu (Norbu)

lighter than the WHF, still some warm toastiness

174°F/79°C for the fifth infusion, about a minute

Can't tell much difference between them--light, tasty, but just not very distinct

193°F/89°C for the sixth infusion, 2 minutes

first sip is nutty, warm, sweet, still quite dilute but delicious

Xi Hu (Norbu)

first sip is sweet, delicious, and it keeps on as somewhat nutty sweet water

205°F/96°C for the 7th infusion, 4 minutes, just to see if there is anything else left in the leaves

Prem Org (WHF)

light now, simply sweet summer hay,

Xi Hu (Norbu)

light, sweet water, subtly different than the WHF

Overall impression is that I definitely prefer the Xi Hu, because it is sweeter and less nutty, and I do not think the difference is solely due to harvest age--nuttiness has generally been very strong in the several versions of WHF Dragon Well I've tried, from the moment of purchase.

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A new green tea today: Zhu Ye Qing green tea from Emeishan, Lishan Prefecture, Sichuan--from Norbu.

Sweet vegetal scent of flat light green leaves, peas and grass. Long thin young leaves, one or two in a paired bunch, rather flat like a Long Jing, leaves that swell up to light asparagus green.

Flash rinse with 185 degree water--drank rinse, sweet and tasty and light.

1st infusión, 160 degrees, about 20 seconds--delicious honeydew melon, cucumber, hints of peas, but more sweet floral notes. Very nice.

2nd infusion, 160 degrees, 30 seconds, but realized afterwards I used more water, more dilute, oops--sweet, peas coming up stronger now, touch of floral, but a little light on the flavor, should have lengthened the infusion.

3rd infusion, 160 degrees, 1 minute, sweet, light, flowers/grass/cucumber/melon. Mmm.

4th infusion, another 160 degrees, 1 minute, delicious sweet, light, floral, melon, wonderful.

5th infusion, another 160 degrees, forgot it for almost 10 minutes (oops), still sweet, floral, delicious, but quite mild despite the overly long infusion--really this should count as about 3!

6th infusion, 180 degrees, 5 minutes, and delicately sweet and floral, but really done now.

I prepared a second series of infusions, and again it is delicious, sweet, vegetal, grassy, a little floral, and highly tasty. I started again with a hotter rinse, then moved up in temps from 150s to 190s, probably 9 or 10 infusions, and the infusions have been good all the way through.

This is another lovely green tea from Norbu. I am getting more of the qualities that I enjoy in a chinese-style green tea from these than from most of the others I've had from other sources, and don't yet know how much is simply better tea, and how much is better brewing--I think the tea itself is the most important thing, but I am so happy with these that I'll stick to them for the moment.

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Waking up this topic to share a lovely tasting today: I tried the free sample of the 2012 Gu Zhu Zi Sun from Norbu and compared it to a newly-opened package (my last) of the 2011 that so delighted me last year. I'd been hoarding the 2011, really, probably longer than I should have.

2.5 grams of each tea with 80 mL water per infusion in a pair of Petr Novak iron-rich shiboridashis. I"m alternating tea with a honeydew melon, a very nice combination.

First infusion 180 degrees, 30 seconds: both delicious, vegetal, delicate. Despite being well-sealed, there is no doubt that the 2011 has lost a little bit of the floral freshness that is much stronger in the 2012.

2nd series 150 degrees, 30 seconds again: delicious, with similar differences between the teas again apparent--a little deterioration of the 2011 due to my delay in drinking it.

170 degrees, 1 minute: melon and cucumber, delicate and delicious, in the 2011; similar elements but an overlay of more floral/sweet freshness in the 2012. Still LOVE this tea so much….

180 degrees, 1 minute: bigger difference between them--the 2012 is a sweet alpine meadow of spring/summer flowers. The 2011 is the same but muffled. This is the best infusion yet!

190 degrees, 1 minutes: just enjoying the delicious scent first, delicate, floral, melon, flowers. Mmm. So happy. Delicious.

190 degrees, 2 minutes: again, the scent is so nice. Mmm. Delicious tea.

205 degrees, 2 minutes: mmm, mmmm

205 degrees, many many minutes--long enough for the liquid to cool to room temperature: tasty, but the leaves are done now, as there's finally some astringency apparent.

I will certainly be ordering more of this tea in the future, although my green tea supply is now such that I can't do it right away, or I'll risk deterioration of the ones I've already got like the 2012 that I held a little too long.

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Another fine tasting today:

An Ji Bai Cha 2012 from Norbu

I wanted to try one of my favorite teas from a new source, wondering how much better it could be, and just the scent as I open the bag is intoxicating: vegetal, fruity, rich. Oh my.

The leaves are light green and lovely paired buds. I used 3 grams for my 3 ounce/100mL unglazed Petr Novak Shiboridashi.

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1st infusion is a 180 degree flash rinse to 'wake up' the leaves: very dilute, hints of floral sweetness.

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2nd infusion at 150 degrees, 30 seconds, light floral vegetal, still not strong enough, should have made it 60 or 90 seconds. Will do the next one longer.

3rd infusion at 160 degrees, 120 seconds, a little bit overdone, should have been 90 seconds. Still working this one out.

4th infusion at 70 seconds, delicious, but I stopped taking notes. I went out to about 8 infusions and water just off the boil pus several minutes' infusions, but that last one was just sweetwater.

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I think I need to give this one more time up front, and it will be brilliant--although I must doubt that it can truly match the astonishingly fine smell of the dry leaves.

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I'm looking to buy two Chinese green teas: Jasmine Pearl and Yong Xi Huo Qing. Can anyone suggest an on line retailer where I can get both teas--good quality and reasonable prices? Thanks much!

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I'm looking to buy two Chinese green teas: Jasmine Pearl and Yong Xi Huo Qing. Can anyone suggest an on line retailer where I can get both teas--good quality and reasonable prices? Thanks much!

I've found the teas from Harney & Son quite good, and their site does list the pearl jasmine, although I don't see the Yong Xi Huo Qing (does it go by any other name/spelling?).


Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Manager, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org

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I've gotten nice quality Jasmine Pearls from qute a few sources--Rishi's are quite nice--although I no longer drink much of it, because I prefer unscented/unflavored teas. I would trust some of my favorite sources for other teas to have good versions, though, like Norbu, but I'd never heard of Yong Xi Huo Qing until this post. I prefer more delicate greens on the whole, probably why I've missed it. One source that does list it is Tea Spring, and though I've not ordered from them, they seem to have a pretty good reputation in several tea forums I frequent, and they've got the jasmine pearls too.

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I agree, sample size is much more sensible.

the best place to start exploration is to buy sample size teas-not samplers-
many online sites have sample sizes-

many of the sample sizes come in amounts of less 1 oz.-if you don't like a tea-you don't have 2-3oz. of it in your tea collection.
i am not against purchasing samplers-


www.rishi-tea.com
www.tentea.com
www.uptontea.com
www.imperialtea.com
www.teasource.com
www.funalliance.com-they also have chinese tea 101 explanations

joanne

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Yong Xi Huo Qing, actually, is a Chinese tea name. Yong Xi is a place in Anhui province of China, Huo Qing is a kind of pearl green tea only produced in Yong Xi, not widely drunk, however.


Kent Xie from Fujian of China, wholesale the best loose tea directly from my local tea gardens. The most widely drunk teas, like as black tea, white tea, Oolong tea, and jasmine green tea originated in my homeland, Fujian of China.

Contact me if you want to taste or resell organic finest loose teas directly from China. My site is, buyfromkent.net .

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Yong Xi Huo Qing, actually, is a Chinese tea name. Yong Xi is a place in Anhui province of China, Huo Qing is a kind of pearl green tea only produced in Yong Xi, not widely drunk, however.

Hi Kent, it seems that you are very professional on the teas produced in China. My sister and me have been drinking Chinese green tea for a while, and we mainly bought bagged teas from our local retailers, can you do a few recommendations on this regard? Thank you!

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