While the woods outside my window are swelling with green, the weather remains cool and cloudy, much like April days instead of May days. As I listen to the sweet song of a robin in the early morning quiet, I am sipping a cup of a China green tea called Xia Zhou Bi Feng. Produced high in the mountains of Hubei province, the full leaves have been rolled into thin strands. Hubei province’s rich, fertile hills and mountains are ideal for growing tea.
I steeped the leaves in 180 degree F water for 3 minutes. While some of the leaves uncurled a little, most remained curled in their originally processed state. Their color reflects the beautiful spring green of our trees. The liquor is a very pale brownish olive green with a distinct vegetal aroma.
The liquor has a pronounced tangy astringency to it reminiscent of a Japanese green. However, that is where the similarity ends because it is also sweet with that sweetness lingering in the aftertaste.
Mmmmm, time for another cup!