tea (n.) \ˈtē\ 1. shrub (Camellia sinensis of the family Theaceae, the tea family) cultivated especially in China, Japan, and the East Indies 2. an aromatic beverage prepared from tea leaves by infusion with boiling water.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Gu Zhang Mao Jian

Time to review a new green tea for the summer season.  When the heat wave hits, I tend to shy away from heavier black teas and gravitate towards light greens, oolongs, and whites.  This standard green tea was one of the top sellers on the Upton Teas website, boasting of its clean, simple, and sweet liquor.  Upton describes the blend as, "A green tea with deep flavor notes and good body, priced for everyday consumption. Rarely do we find a tea with this quality and flavor at this price level."  The leaves take on a vaired and wiry appearance, giving off a vegetal, sweet smell.  The brew itself is a clean, simple green.  Although not as pungently sweet as a Chun Mee green tea, it is a gentler alternative.  I recommend drinking this brew without sugar to enjoy its simplicity.
ZG54: Gu Zhang Mao Jian
Origin: China
Brewing Suggestions
Leaf Quantity: 2¼ g/cup
Water Temp: 180°
Steep Time: 3 min.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Pi Lo Chun (Green Snail Spring)

I will be honest, I expected more from this tea.  Although the process of creating this tea is ages old- involving the careful, hand-rolling of each leaf set, I was not enamored with the flavor.  It was rather earthy and smoky for a green tea- lacking the bright, spring-like qualities I enjoy in other brews.  Upton claims, "The most tender buds are picked under carefully controlled conditions in the spring. One of the most prized of China green teas, only a limited amount of this special grade tea is available."  Not my cup of tea.
ZG92: Pi Lo Chun (Green Snail Spring)
Origin: China
Steeping Suggestions
Leaf Quantity: 2¼ g/cup
Water Temp: 180º
Steep Time: 3-3½ min.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Pomegranate Oolong

Made by Harney and Sons Master Tea Blenders, this silk pyramid pouch contains rolled leaves in the traditional ti-guan-yin style infused with pomegranate.  The dry leaves offer the powerful scent of tart pomegranate fruit mixed with a jade oolong vegetal base.

According to the merchant's description, "The full leaves of premium Ti Quan Yin oolong are deliciously infused with tangy pomegranate to create this inspiring yet complex full-bodied blend that brews into a sweetly fragrant, silky textured cup of tea.  The Ti Quan Yin oolong used is named after the Chinese 'Goddess of Mercy.' Legend tells of the goddess leading a devout farmer to a tiny, yet intriguingly aromatic tea plant that he nurtured and shared among neighbors with prosperity soon following."

Whether or not the legend is true, this tea came across as very plain to me.  It lacked the depth I typically enjoy in my oolong and presented a strange tangy aftertaste from the pomegranate fruit.  Not what I expected from Harney and Sons, who I might add blend a wonderful selection of black teas.

Pomegranate Oolong by Harney and Sons
Steeping Suggestions
Leaf Quantity: 1 pyramid pouch/8 oz cup
Water Temp: 190°
Steep Time: 3 min.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Floral Tie-Guan-Yin Superior

When I first opened this sample bag, I couldn't resist the intoxicating flowery aroma and became anxious for the water to reach temperature.  This brew was surprisingly light and delicate, and went well with a pinch of sugar. According to Upton Tea Imports, "This superior Tie Guan Yin selection has an appealing floral intensity with orchid-like notes in the aroma and finish. With leaves ranging from light green to dark olive and a light-ecru colored cup, this is an attractive and delightful treat."  I heartily recommend this Oolong for someone desiring a more orchid-flavored tea rather than the traditional grassy taste that accompanies lesser Tie-Guan-Yins.

ZO83: Floral Tie-Guan-Yin Superior
Origin: China
Steeping Suggestions
Leaf Quantity: 2¼ g/cup
Water Temp: 190°
Steep Time: 3 min.