Friday, May 13, 2016

Teavivre, Organic Bai Hao (White Downy) Green Tea

Beautiful Dry Leaf
Teavivre Description;
The main production points of organic Bai Hao tea includes fixation, rolling, drying. The dry leaves are in straight needle-shapes and they smell vaguely of sweet millet note rather than grass-like aroma which is common in green teas. When brewed, the liquor presents a scent of fresh sweet corn note and a mellow, smooth mouthfeel with a lingering after-taste without any astringency. Overall, it creates more thickness in mouth when compared with the common green teas do.

Sample provided by Teavivre

My Review:
It has been a long time since I last reviewed something from Teavivre. Even so, I must admit this is one of my very favorite tea companies. Not only has the service always been friendly, helpful, and top notch, but the teas themselves are some of the best available here in the west. Enough gushing, let's see if this tea is as good as expected.

I cut the top off the sample bag and as usual poked my nose in for a deep whiff. It bowled me over. Man, this is like sticking your nose into a buttered ear of sweet corn. I'm in love and I haven't even heated the water.

Huge Steeped Leaf
Removing half the 5g sample, this looks a lot like a white tea. Of course it is called white downy and the website does call it a  "Non-fermentation" tea. The long strands of leaf run from white to deep green. Up close it looks fuzzy. Just speculating that the difference between white and green here is somewhere in the fixation, rolling, and drying stages. Whatever, the leaf is beautiful.

I used the brewing instructions similar for cup brewing. I used half the leaf (2 1/2g) and about 10 oz of water heated to 195 F. I let it steep for 3 minutes. This seems long but the directions call for 3-5 minutes.

Normally at this point I would talk about the liquor. Instead, let's discuss the leaf. I did not expect the jumbo sized leaves that were floating in my glass press. Most of my Chinese teas seem to be tiny. Not these babies. Big green and alive looking.

Liquid Sunshine
The scent of the leaves is sweet corn and creamy vegetables. Really nice.

Now on to the liquor. It is a bright and clear yellow with golden tints. It has an aroma that is sweet corn with a warm spicy floral. Everything about this tea so far appeals to me.

On to the taste. First impressions - sweet corn and mineral spring water. Second thing I notice is with the long western brew time, you will not get bitterness or heavy astringency, but you will experience a moderate amount of green briskness late in the sip. The aftertaste mellows and lingers of leafy greenness and corn.

This is nicely sweet and no additives are needed. In my opinion sweetening this would detract from the beauty of the cup.

Second steep immediately followed the first. This time I stopped at 2 minutes. The sweet corn is mostly absent, but then so is all of the green bite. This is just really smooth now. As with the first cup it feels very thick. The flavor bounces between a warm spiciness (I mean a comforting flavor - not heat) and green leafy plant. It still retains that stone like mineral spring water note as well.

My opinion - this is a really lovely tea that I quit enjoyed. Complex enough to entertain but not so much as to demand concentration. That said, I will definitely be playing with the steeping times. My gut tells me around a 1 1/2 minute first steep will produce a smoother and still flavorful cup and allow the second cup to retain some of that wonderful sweet corn flavor. This is probably best enjoyed gong fu style with a gaiwan. I'm stuck in my ways and prefer straight western mug style.  

You can find Teavivre Organic Bai Hao Green Tea here.

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