Saturday Morning Tea

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!

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2 comments on “Saturday Morning Tea

  1. claire says:

    I’m always surprised to read the details on how you steep your teas, especially the greens. We took a number of classes from Roy Fong, at Imperial Tea Court, in SF, and learned to steep for very very short times at low temperatures (like 140) , adding a little time with subsequent brews. With anything longer than about 30 seconds, the astringency and bitterness kick in, and all the subtle florals and butteriness are lost.

  2. artandtea says:

    Hi Claire, Thanks for visiting and sharing your thoughts on green tea steeping! I think that when you employ the Gong Fu method of multiple steepings that it does work better to infuse the leaf for less time. However, since I’m steeping the leaves only once, I do it for 3 minutes for full extraction of flavor. I don’t experience any bitterness as long as I am careful with the water temperature. Japanese greens, especially the first flush senchas, are best when brewed with lower temperature water. The Chinese greens can take higher temps, I find.

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