This green tea is based on the Taiwan Tea No 17 cultivar. Another name for this tea tree is Bai Lu, white aigret (or egret), the long, slim white bird that mostly lives in Chinese rivers. This cultivar can also be used to make Bai Hao Oolong or Shou Mei white tea, because of its white hair.
These leaves were harvested on March 24, 2008 and are therefore pre Ming. At that time, the temperatures are lower than after Qing Min Jie and the weather dry. These are the best conditions to make delicate and lightly fragrant green tea.
Below, you can see some dry leaves on the left, open leaves on the right and the brew of 4 grams after 5 minutes in boiled water.
Usually, people recommend to brew green tea at lower temperatures. However, I have experienced that high quality green leaves are quite able to take the heat. It's the lower grades that become too astringent when brewed at a high temperature. So, for me it was a good sign to see these leaves perform well and release very little bitterness. In another experiment, I even overbrewed them in my silver teapot. I obtained some bitterness and astringency under these extreme conditions, but the brew remained enjoyable.
This tea has very light and elegant flavors. The scents are those of new, small grass and little flowers. The mouthfeel lingers long and lightly, too. It's especially refreshing when temperatures shoot above 25 degrees Celcius (as was the case recently in Taipei). From it's appearance to its smell and taste, this tea remains true to its name: the elegant white aigret.
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