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Judging Green Tea By One Cup . . . Never!

How many times have you heard someone say, "I do not like Green Tea."? Okay, I can understand that we have different taste preferences but to make such a general statement about a tea that originates from many different countries, has been grown in unique terroirs, and processed by the use of precise methods is just wrong. Sorry about being so definite with this opinion but fair is fair and just as one would not judge a country by one person or city one should not judge all green teas by one cup. 

Okay, now that I have started this . . . let's take a look at just the Green Teas of China. (We will look at the Green Teas of Japan later). It seems only right that we should begin with Chinese Teas as China is recognized as the home of tea. Although all colors of tea are grown and processed in China, green tea is the most sold and consumed. 

The most common and favorite Chinese Green Tea is probably Long Jing/Dragon Well (A ribbed flat leaf). Originally from the hills around the town of Hangzhou but because of its popularity and sales success it is now being copied and processed in many places. This tea usually has a touch of bitter/acidity but can be slightly sweet as well. The better Long Jing/Dragon Well will offer a complex aromatic bouquet with green notes (veggie), iodized (fish), amino acids, licorice, and toast.

Bi Luo Chun (Dong Ting, Bi Luo Chun, PiLo Chun) a green tea from Jiangsu Province of China.  This particular Chinese Tea is known for the way the leaf is rolled into small, intense green spirals (Green Snail Spring). Bi Luo Chun is a little more astringent than other green. The dry leaf is very small and delicate with contrasting colors of jade and silver leaves.

Tai Ping Hou Kui has a very unique shaped leaf: a stem of deep, intense green, comprising a bud and two flattened leaves. During infusion, the leaves opens out to resemble a flower floating on the surface. Tai Ping Hou Kui has a flowery note scent that sometimes resembles orchids.  This tea may have a slight astringency with a rich and complex herbaceous notes that are specific to Chinese teas.

Huang Shan Mao Feng/Downy Tips from the Yellow Mountains, a tea recognized throughout China as a high-quality tea, rich in buds. Huang Shan Mao Feng is an exceptional tea that is considered by the Chinese to be the very finest of its type. This tea normally has a taste of acidity and light umami. A very delicate tea. 

Huang Shan Mu Dan/Peony of the Yellow Mountains, the original hand-tied tea owes its excellent reputation to the high quality of the leaves selected and the very interesting flavor that accompanies its attractive appearance. Please note this exception quality is not true of all hand-tied teas. The latest trend is to have a flower in the center of the bunch so that when infused in a glass pot the flower blossoms as the tea is steeped. The taste will usually fall within the astringent to slightly sweet. 

Bai Mao Hou. This tea is relatively rare and less known than the other teas mentioned. Bai Mao Hou gets its name (White Hairy Monkey) from the appearance of its leaf, which is covered in down resembling the long white hair that grows on the backs of old monkeys. Bai Mao Hou offers sweet and umami tastes. 

Gunpowder, Zhu Cha (Pearl Tea), Gong Xi Cha (Splendid Tribute) is a rolled green tea from Zhejian Province. Gunpowder was one of the first teas to be exported to Britain in the eighteenth century. Gunpowder is the tea most often used in mint tea and holds the top position of most produced of the Chinese Green Teas. 

Now, how can tea as complex and unique as the seven we just discussed be generalized into a definite like/dislike after having had just one cup of only one "Green Tea"? I ask you to be adventurous when selecting a "Green Tea" while withholding judgment of a class of unique, aromatic, herbaceous teas by your preference of one.

May your cup be filled with pleasing Green Tea,

The Tea And Hat Lady

Enchanted Tea With Caroline Ogden-Jones Peter

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