Saturday, February 23, 2013

TeaVivre, Tai Ping Hou Kui

TeaVivre's Description:

TaiPing HouKui green tea has uniquely long, flat leaves that make an amazing sight when brewed in a clear glass – which we strongly recommend!  The tea is made from one bud with two leaves that come from a large leaf variety of the tea plant found only in Anhui province.  During processing the leaves are pressed flat in an oven, giving the tea its unique shape.

TeaVivre's TaiPing KouKui has a fresh, orchid like fragrance with a classic sweet green tea taste.  When brewed it has a bright green color, that combine with the size of the leaves to make a tea that is great to admire in a tall clear glass.  This tea is not bitter in the least, and retains its sweet taste even after many infusions.

Sample provided by TeaVivre for review.

My Review:

I have tried one other taiping houkui in the past. I tried it several times with varying parameters and learned to appreciate the cup but never really reached a point of deeply liking it. When TeaVivre offered this latest round of samples I wanted this one included. I wanted to know if it was the tea I wasn’t crazy about or the particular version.

I opened the sample pouch and sniffed. It is grassy and fresh in aroma. Removing the leaf, the first thing I notice is it is less than 2/3 the length of what I tried previously. That does not mean it is small. It certainly is not. This appears to be longer and broader than dragonwell leaf. It may be that the leaf had to be broken to fit in the sample pouch, or the previous version was just the colossus of leaf.

I used the whole sample in my press and steeped for a little over a minute with 12oz of well below boiling water (175d). The resulting liquor was green tinted in the press but turned honey with a green tint in the cup. The clarity was very good. The wet leaf made me think ocean and vegetal.

I began the sipping with no additives. It was fresh and slightly reminiscent of dragonwell but not really. The flavor bordered on bitter and sour but never crossed the line. The Chinese palate must be trained differently than the American palate as the description says this is not at all bitter, yet most western reviews I have seen mention it. Interesting. Is it possible they mean their taiping houkui is not bitter relative to other taiping houkui's?

The taste, to my poorly trained palate, is somewhere between a cross of bamboo shoots and celery leaf. The aftertaste is long and lingering in a good way.

I enjoyed this without additives but as is my custom I added Splenda to see how it would respond. It added nothing and really was more of a distraction. You will rarely hear me say that.

I can say once again TeaVivre has impressed me. While this may never be a must have staple in my tea drawer, I did greatly enjoy it and would gladly accept a cup if offered.   

Visit the TeaVivre website.

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