A Tea Addict's Journal

Monday March 20, 2006

March 20, 2006 · 3 Comments

Well well, new tea. My girlfriend, aka tea buyer, sent me some goods from Beijing. The company that makes this tea is called Xuefeng, which literally means snowy-peaks. I’ve had their tea before, some time, somewhere, although I can’t remember where. I remembered it to be pretty decent.

The tea in question is a tieguanyin, from none other than the Fujian province. The label in the bottom says 2005, November 8th, so it’s probably an autumn picked tea — a late one too. Here’s a pic of the box and the dried stuff.

These days, everything is packed into these little packs.

Before water

Those of you who know Chinese will notice that the box says “Taiwanese style” in the bottom right, which is rather odd. The back of the box just says “tieguanyin”, which isn’t very interesting to see. I have no idea what “Taiwanese style” is supposed to mean, since there’s nothing discernably Taiwanese about this tea. Maybe it sells better that way, but why would anyone want to imitate the god-awful Taiwanese tieguanyin?

Anyway. The tea itself, as you can see in the picture, is quite green. However, it’s not rolled very tightly and not terribly round, which is a mark of how Fujianese make their oolongs (Taiwan teas tend to be more ball-like). There are also some stalks that are attached to the leaves — this is usually more common in autumn picked teas, whereas spring pick, in my own expereince anyway, tend to be more leaves and less stalk. That probably varies though and isn’t a good indicator.

This is the final product — first brew after the wash. The tea is fairly nice, with a full body and a very strong aftertaste that is a mark of decent tieguanyin. The fragrance is not high, as is typical, but I detect a hint of sourness. I’m not sure if it’s my brewing or if it’s the tea, but I’ve tried it twice now, and it’s there both times. Maybe I’m messing it up somehow, but it is also possible that somehow they’ve made it a little sour. It could be because of the time they picked the tea. Still, it’s very nice and got a good aftertaste, which is more than I can say about most tieguanyin you can buy.

The leaves are very thick and strong, and have a nice red border when unfurled. I’m looking forward to visiting this teashop (I think I found them in Shanghai once) when I get to Beijing for spring break.

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