Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Nannuoshan: Anji Bai Cha, A Tea Review

Predictably I am still sick, though I am feeling a little less terrible than I did when I wrote my last blog post, so I consider that a huge win! Currently I am watching Achievement Hunter's Minecraft Let's Play of a Legends of the Hidden Temple map, it is nostalgic good time, and excellent mindless fun. I always wanted to go on one of those silly Nickelodeon shows, Legends of the Hidden Temple being my favorite, because who didn't love the idea of raiding a Mayan temple?

Continuing the adventure with Nannuoshan today with Anji Bai Cha! I will admit, of all the teas I requested, this was the one I was most excited to try. Anji Bai Cha, whose name means White Tea from Anji, is not a white tea, it is a delicate green tea, though it does have a mystery about it (like the white or green Xue Ya mystery from Monday) is this an old tea that has been made for years, an old tea that was lost and rediscovered, or a tea that has only been made for about 20 years? The answer is, yes. Ok, that is not helpful, but as so often is the case, the internet cannot give a straight answer. Is this the delicate tea from Anji written about by Lu Yu or is this something new and delightful in its own right. In the long run it does not matter, what only matters is how enjoyable it is, though the history is something fun to ponder while waiting for the kettle to heat up.  Though to be honest I spend kettle heating time ogling the leaves, Anji Bai Cha is such a pretty tea, in all of its stages, and it smells really good too! The aroma of the slender leaves is mild, with notes of green beans, chestnuts, distant flowers, and a tiny bit of a sharp asparagus finish. You can tell that this tea is super delicate, just from the aroma alone, because even though the notes are very clear and crisp, they are delicate, not a tea that slams you full on in the face with greenness. 

The now soggy and much bigger leaves have a very pleasant aroma, with distinct notes of sweet chestnut and distant flower nectar with delightful notes of artichoke and asparagus. I am in a happy place, it has been far too long since I had Anji Bai Cha, and it is just as pleasant as I remember it so far. The delicate liquid is a blend of green and sweetness with notes of green beans, chestnuts, and a bit of bamboo and sweet pea. My nose is happy because this tea smells like spring. 

The first steep is like nectar, delicious green nectar, like something celestial maidens drink while lounging around clear pools in bamboo forests. I love this tea so much, it starts out sweet like flower nectar, then pretty swiftly transitions to greenbeans, peas, asparagus, and a finish of artichoke. The mouthfeel is very smooth leaning towards thick, this is a delicate tea that has a definite presence. 

For the second dance with this tea the aroma is nutty and sweet, but certainly stronger than the first steep, with a blend of artichoke, sweet peas, chestnuts, greenbeans, and a finish of crushed leaves and vegetation. I think my favorite thing about Anji Bai Cha is how incredibly clean it tastes, there is very little sweetness this steep, it is mostly green and fresh, with vegetal notes of peas, green beans, artichoke, and bamboo leaves. The finish does have some sweetness, like flower nectar, with accompanying

For a bit of fun, instead of a third steep, I decided to brew some in my travel steeper, mostly because I had to go to gaming and someone was being impatient, it is not my fault that the tea was really good and distracted me! Anji Bai Cha was my epiphany tea for experimenting more with teas in my travel steeper, before I had an infuser that was made for making tea and tucking the leaves out of the way, now I have one where the leaves are always in the water, so you have to plan accordingly. As expected, letting this tea sit in my travel steeper and infuse the water with its green goodness was a wonderful plan, deliciously sweet and green with delicate floral notes and distinct vegetal notes. If you have not had the opportunity to try Anji Bai Cha, I cannot recommend it enough, especially if you are a lover of delicate Chinese green teas. 

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