Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Esgreen, Huangshan Maofeng Wild Tea

Esgreen Description:
Huangshan Maofeng tea (Yellow Mountain Fur Peak) is widely regarded as one of the top three Chinese green tea.
Chinese green tea can be classified into 9 basic shapes, and the Huangshan Maofeng tea is considered an Orchid shaped tea.
Grown in Anhui province, Orchid shaped teas are slightly curly. They are processed using a combination of roasting and ovening
Sample provided by Esgreen for review.

My Review:
I grabbed a random tea as I went out the door this morning. Now I am at work and as I look at this, I don’t know what it is. I didn't have the advantage of the Esgreen description listed above as I did my tasting. The sample is in a clear plastic sleeve with no label other than the name. Is it a green tea? This is part of the monthly tea taster pack I get from Esgreen so maybe it is raw puerh? It is loose leaf and not a compressed tea. It looks like green tea, as the leaf is forest green in color. There is also some obvious white buds in the mix. The name makes me think sheng . Hmmmm. I compromised and heated the water to heavily steaming. Then I poured it over half the sample in my press and steeped for 2 ½ minutes.

The dry leaf did not have any discernable scent but as this was steeping I distinctly noted a light charcoal aroma. Sniffing the wet leaf, reveals no sign of the charcoal and really not much of anything else except vegetal. Hmmmm. The brew is nearly clear with just a tint of green amber. The leaf did dance nicely while brewing, mostly staying on or near the surface.

At the front of the sip I picture something like Taiping Houkui but not really and definitely without the bitterness. There is zero bitterness and zero astringency in the first cup. Late in the sip it develops a light charcoal smokiness. Taken as a whole it has a slight forest woodsy thing going on with some notes leaning towards mushrooms growing on the side of the tree. It is extremely milky, maybe the most obviously milky tea I have had yet. This first cup is quiet but very deep.

Later I looked this up and found this is a green tea. If you only like big bold cups of tea then don’t bother slowing down to gawk. This is not for you. If you adore light greens and whites for their subtle nuances then you might appreciate this leaf.

On the second mug I steeped for just over one minute. Now the brew is lightly green tinted. This cup has developed a brightness, up high in the flavor, that I don’t find to be antiseptic or bitter tasting. The charcoal is gone. Late in the sip this tastes green, vegetative, leafy. Again it is light but lingers into the aftertaste. The insides of my cheeks are tingling. It’s probably astringency starting to pick up though I don't notice it in the taste. The flavor is light but stronger and different from the first cup. I like it.

Third cup at 2 minutes is similar to the second, just not as bright. Still flavorful.

Fourth cup at four minutes has lost strength. The brightness is back but this is getting too weak.

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