Step Two: Easy Brew, Easy Taste
Green tea is the first and earliest discovered and used by our ancestors. Its cool property helps moderate heat in the body, balancing yin and yang. Green tea also kills bacteria and promotes health. The beautiful green color of green tea makes people want to consume it as if we can regain peace and balance simply by ingesting it.
In the green tea category, we find over half of all the famous teas. Because of its serene character, the aroma of green tea is long and lingering, making it perfect for sipping and tasting slowly. Aside from its excellent tasting qualities, green teas also have very unique appearances, making it a perfect tasting grade tea.
Old Tree Shu Pu’er 2015
$6.00 – $22.00
Dry Leaf: Subdued woodiness
Liquor Colour: brown
Liquor Aroma: slight leather
Flavour: leather-bound book, autumn spice
Mouthfeel: Thick and clean
This 2015 shu pu’er tea really got my attention. The dry leaf in the warmed gaiwan was subdued, a sign of character in a tea and often a sign that the tasting profile will be quite an adventure. It sure was. The opening act (first infusion) was an old leather-bound book flavour with ever so subtle hints of autumn spice. As we continued into the second and third infusions however, the leather book was closed and the autumn flavours really came to the front. It’s tricky to describe, it wasn’t a ‘dance on your tongue’ kind of spiciness, but a mouth and nose filling feeling with elements of cinnamon and clove. The thickness of the liquor worked perfectly to integrate the whole experience. Around the sixth infusion, a faint sweetness emerged from this 2015 shu Pu’er. I will definitely be placing this tea into my evening shu pu’er routine and I am especially excited about its fantastic potential for ageing.
Menghai, Yunnan Province.
2015 spring. Pressed on Sept 06, 2015
3g/90ml at 100°C for 20 secs, 2nd & 3rd infusion for 30s. 7-10 infusions
Sealed well in a cool, dry, dark location.
The Way of Making
Airing, kill green, shaping and drying are the steps of making green tea. Kill green is the key step, locking in the quality of the tea.
The dry leaves of green tea are green with light liquor and green brewed leaves. Because green tea doesn’t go through any oxidation phase, it preserves the natural nutrients in tea including tea polyphenols and over 85% of the caffeine. It also keeps over 50% of chlorophyll with a minimal loss of vitamins. This process is what gives green tea its characteristics light liquor, green leaves, the consolidation of taste and mouthfeel.
Green tea has a light fragrance, sometimes a cooked chestnut aroma, sometimes sweet flower scents, and is rich in taste.
The basic classification of green tea
Pan-fired (chao qing) green tea
Long pan-fired (chang chao qing) green tea – Mei Cha: Chao Qing, Te Zhen, Feng Mei, Xiu Mei, Gong Xi, etc.
Round pan-fired (yuan chao qing) green tea – Zhu Cha: Zhu Cha, Yu Cha, Xiu Mei, etc.
Tender leaf (xi neng) pan-fired: Long Jing, Da Fang, Bi Luo Chuo, Yu Hua, Song Zhen, etc.
Baked (hong qing) green tea
Regular hong qing: Min Hong Qing, Zhe Hong Qing, etc.
Tender leaf (xi neng) hong qing: Huangshan Mao Feng, Taiping Hou Kui, Gaoqiao Yin Feng, etc.
Sun-dried (shai qing) green tea
Dian Qing, Chuan Qing, Shan Qing, etc.
Steamed (zheng qing) green tea
Jian Cha, Yu Lu, etc.
Discerning green tea
The quality of green tea varies widely, but you can tell them apart by observing the dry leaves, liquor, and brewed leaves.
Fresh green tea and stale green tea
Fresh green tea has a bright and lustrous greenness with a rich tea aroma. Its liquor should be light green, with light aroma, orchid fragrance or cooked chestnut aroma, etc. The taste of the tea should be rich, sweet, and refreshing while the brewed leaves are radiant green.
Stale green tea looks dull and yellow with no luster and a faint aroma. The liquor of the tea is deep yellow. Although it tastes rich, it is not refreshing, and the brewed leaves are yellow and lack radiance.
Spring tea, summer tea, and autumn tea
The leaves and buds of spring tea are full and sturdy with a radiant dark green color. The roll of the leaves is tight and weighty. The liquor is rich, sweet, and refreshing with a rich aroma. The brewed leaves are soft and bright.
The roll of summer teas looks rougher and looser with an uneven color tone. The buds and leaves look more fibrous. The taste is astringent, while the brewed leaves are stiff, with obvious leaf veins. And sometimes bronzed green leaves mixed in.
Autumn tea is rolled tight and looks smaller, showing more leaf veins, feels light, and green. The taste is usually lighter and balanced with some sweetness and a light aroma. The brewed leaves are soft with more bronzed single leaves.