Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Teasenz: Ming Qian Huang Shan Mao Feng Tea, A Tea Review

Tragedy struck my house this morning. Last night I was lounging in bed with Ben watching classic Star Trek and folding a Skeletal Dodecahedron, after I finished I placed it on the bedside table expecting it to be safe. I woke up to an awful stabbing pain in my stomach and rolled over to find my Skeletal Dodecahedron, smashed under my stomach. Someone sabotaged my origami! That someone is none other than destroyer of nice things, Espeon. Luckily for her and me I was able to salvage it (yay for stiff paper!) and it looks perfectly fine, still not a good way to wake up.

Today's tea in the Teasenz feature week is Ming Qian Huang Shan Mao Feng Tea, a delightfully delicate green tea from Huang Shan in Anhui Province. Ming Qian is in reference to the time of year the tea leaves were plucked, basically it is before the Qing Ming festival (which falls around April 5th) giving the tea a higher quality. This might be the most fresh tea I have ever had the pleasure of tasting, I can practically feel the mountain air and mist while drinking this tea. The aroma is sweet, a blend of delicate cherry and a delicate floral and fresh vegetation. Sniffing this tea reminds me of the aroma of spring rain and refreshing cool air, it is very evocative and delicate.

Brewing the leaves in my gaiwan, the wet leaves take on a more nutty quality, but there is still the aroma of spring rain and cherries. Again, the aroma is very delicate and mild. The liquid without its accompanying leaves is like spring rain and and faint nuttiness. I am struck by how delicate the aroma is, I keep saying it but it is astoundingly so. I really feel like I am sniffing a bowl of rain, capturing not just the smell of the rain itself but also the smell of the air after rain.

The first thing that strikes me after my first sip of the first steep is how refreshing  it is, I feel revitalized! Again the comparison to spring rain shows up, there is the green taste of rained on vegetation with subtle notes of spinach and nuts. The finish is smooth and it ends on a sweet note of cherry.

On the second steeping the aroma of the tea has more of a cherry sweet aroma with faint hints of spinach, again the aroma is super delicate. The taste is incredibly delicate and refreshing, again with the spring rain! I am really fixated on comparing this tea to spring rain but really I cannot say enough how perfect the comparison is, it makes me want to go run around in the rain while I am sipping it. There are also hints of fresh spinach and very delicate nuttiness. The finish is similar to the first steep with a touch of sweetness and cherries.

I feel really bad because I have nothing much to say about the third steeping. For number three I noticed no difference in the aroma and only a slightly stronger nuttiness in the taste.

For the fourth steep I wanted to try something fun and exciting! Instead of pouring the tea out of the gaiwan I went for a pseudo 'grandpa style' and just drank the tea out of my gaiwan.  Sipping around the leaves is fun, I think I only managed to drink one or two of them. The aroma was the same as the second and third steep. The taste was surprisingly smooth and had absolutely no bitterness, even to the last sip that I took what had to be 10 minutes later was smooth and vegetal. There was a strong sweetness and a delicate nuttiness, the tea still had the refreshing delicate quality of spring rain, but doing it like this gave it a bit more of a presence. I am not sure I could sip this tea everyday, it is so delicate that it needs to be reserved for special occasions. I am tempted to make this my rainy day tea, in honor of how it reminds me of my favorite weather.
Behold! The saved Skeletal Dodecahedron!

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