Friday, March 27, 2015

Nannuoshan: Qing Ming Bi Luo Chun, A Tea Review

Update on the cold/allergy/flu/oops I made Apollo angry again front, I seem to be recovering nicely, still pretty sniffly and feverish, but other than that I am mostly fine. This makes me happy, working on my Oppressor also makes me happy, especially since I got the 'eyes' to look like creepy deep sea creature eyes. I wanted to make it look like it has those translucent blue-white eyes, so many coats of varnish tinted with white and blue, and I think I have captured it. Also I came to the hilarious realization that when a Harbinger is carrying an Oppressor it cannot sit on a flight stand because the Oppressor is that big.

Continuing on with Nannuoshan week, today's tea is Qing Ming Bi Luo Chun, that delightful fuzzy and curly green tea from Jiangsu, China. This particular Bi Luo Chun is a Qing Ming tea, meaning it was plucked between April 3-5th, making it almost a year old, happy almost birthday, tea! The name Bi Luo Chun means Green Spring Snail, though that was not always this tea's name, originally it was called Xia Sha Ren Xiang, which means Scary Fragrance. The reason for this name is kinda hilarious, years ago a tea harvester ran out of room in her basket, so she stuffed the extra leaves in her cleavage, the now warmed leaves let out an astounding fragrance which startled her. I feel like that is a great 'well what were you expecting?' moments, later on it was renamed by the Kangxi Emperor renamed it after naming it a tribute tea. I have a tiny bit of trepidation with this tea, see, Bi Luo Chun is best when it is fresh, and it is one of those teas that loses its potency really quickly, with this tea being almost a year old, it might not taste as intense as it would have several months ago. The aroma of the tiny curly leaves (so tiny and cute!) is fairly faint, a delicate note of lychee and gentle greenness of broken leaves. There is really not much there in the aroma department, it has a dry, papery note, but that is fairly faint as well.

Tossing the leaves in my gaiwan and giving the tea a steeping, the now very soggy leaves are still very faint, with delicate notes of lychee and spinach, with a tiny whiff of nuttiness at the finish. Bi Luo Chun is a delicate tea, but not usually this delicate. The liquid is mostly artichoke and a bit of distant sweetness.

First steep is subtle but quite delicious! The tea is cloudy and has a ticklish texture because it is just loaded with trichomes, Bi Luo Chun is super fuzzy, and tends to molt its fuzz off at any chance it gets, I am sure if I used a fine mesh screen I could get perfectly clear water, and would have a nice fuzz ball in my screen, but I don't mind the fuzz and hate fussing with filters. The taste starts out sweet and nutty, with notes of chestnut and lychee, this moves on to a brisk vegetal midtaste. Sadly the tea fizzles out and does not leave a lingering finish.

The aroma of the second steep has a much stronger presence, with notes of lychee, chestnut, and a distant floral note that adds a level of depth. The taste of this steep has a stronger presence as well, which is not very surprising, the first steep is always a prelude (unless you rinse your teas, which I don't except for Puerh) showing you what is to come. It starts out with a sweet, fruity start with a blend of lychee and a touch of sweetgrass. This then transitions to a sharp green taste, blending artichoke and fresh broccoli (that is one I don't get very often) with a bit of spinach. The finish is delicately sweet lychees that linger for just a little bit.

Steep number three! The aroma is sweet, a blend of hay, chestnut, and just a hint of lychee and spinach. It is fairly faint this time around, but the notes are distinct. This steep is mostly sweetness, with honey and lychee, and not really much else. It tastes like distant fruit nectar, it tastes like a finished tea. I certainly enjoyed the tastes in this tea, though I wish I could time travel and taste this when it was fresh, I bet it would have been a fantastic Bi Luo Chun!

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