Monday, May 20, 2013

TeaVivre, Nonpareil Huang Shan Mao Feng Green tea

TeaVivre Description:
The historic Huang Shan Mao Feng is well-known as one of the ten famous Chinese tea. This Ming Qian Huang Shan Mao Feng was picked on March 23, 2013, is a kind of pre-ming green tea. Pre-ming tea has strict requirement of the picking time and its making standard, thus the bird-tongue appearance could been perfect formed, as well as the brisk flavor. Both of which are favored by tea lovers.

Sample provided by TeaVivre.

My Review:
You have no idea what I went through trying to make this tea - or apparently how badly I am in need of a introspective moment with a good cup. Let's just say the last several minutes, filled with dropping and spilling, almost resulted in outward cries for something (anything!) to go right. It happens.

I opened the sample packet and took a whiff of the sweet and slightly sour scent of this lovely leaf. In appearance it looks just like the picture. TeaVivre recommends 7g of leaf for an 8oz pot of tea. So I used the whole sample for this review. Today I am using a Finum basket and a mug. I normally would use my press but given my tendency today to drop everything I touch - the fairly indestructible Finum makes more sense.

The water was heated to heavy steaming, then allowed to cool. I steeped for 1 1/2 minutes. The resulting liquor is very clear and light yellow/green in color.

In the sip, the first sensation I get is of clean mineral water. This quickly changes to a smooth creaminess and then the flavor begins to rise with the grain taste of oats accompanied by more vegetal notes. What I call oats, I have read other reviews that refer to this as chestnut. Afterwards, a nice astringent green bite kicks in. TeaVivre calls it brisk, and it is, but not anything like the bite of an Assam based tea. The aftertaste is fresh and hangs around like it is begging me to take another sip. So of course I must oblige. Later I notice there is a fair amount of cooling sensation present as well.

I had the second cup with supper. it stood up very well to a spinach/strawberry salad with orange poppy seed dressing and a honey glazed Parmesan chicken thing my wife made up. This combination brought out some spicy notes that weren't obvious before.

Mao Feng refers to picking one bud and two leaves. Huang Shan literally means yellow mountain. This version is an early picked or pre-ming tea of Te Gong grade or nonpareil. Nonpareil is French for without equal. I really don't understand what all that means but this is considered a better quality grade of tea. I can tell you this is a very nice cup of tea. It is just what I needed to relax my mind and body. I am back in my happy place.

The leaf will re-steep for a total of three times. I will be trying this one again with my normal western approach of 2.5g in my mug with a longer steep. I'm curious to see the difference between the two methods.

If you want to learn more about this tea and how it is grown and processed go to the Nonpareil Huang Shan Mao Feng product page.

You can also go to the main page of TeaVivre's website by following this link.

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