Popular Post abcdefg Posted March 28, 2018 at 10:40 AM Popular Post Report Share Posted March 28, 2018 at 10:40 AM It's that time of year again. Winter is over and the tea trees of south Yunnan have waked up and put out tender young shoots 嫩芽 which are barely beginning to turn into leaves. These have the youth and vigor of a project in its earliest stages. As the year progresses, the tea will develop other attributes, but it will never have the same first-flush virgin freshness that it has right now. It's something special. Look for signs in the windows of tea shops that say 早春茶 early spring tea. It hit the shelves in Kunming last week. I tasted it at two of my favorite stores. Couldn't tell them apart, so I bought the one which cost less. Most of China's main tea growing areas produce a little bit of early spring tea, but it's a limited item. Better mail-order places will have some soon if they don't already. Let me show you how it brewed up and urge you to buy some wherever you are. It will be gone in about ten days, right after Qingming Festival 清明节。Early spring tea is another of those "seize the moment" China things. Mine comes from one of Xishuangbanna's 西双版纳傣族自治州 famous tea mountains, Youle Shan 优乐山。Here's a shot of the place it is grown and a look at the tea in a large bin at the store. -- Click the photos to enlarge them. I've laid a couple toothpicks onto my private supply to give you a sense of scale. These are delicate shoots with only one immature leaf. Next picture is of some this tea set out ready to be brewed, with the lilies beside it just for fun. This tea is usually brewed in a glass. You don't need a teapot 茶壶 or a gaiwan 盖碗。Put a generous pinch of dried tea leaves into a tall pre-warmed glass and add water that is a few degrees below boiling. One way to do this is to bring your water to a boil, then let it stand for a couple of seconds. You will often see tea people pouring the water for this brew in a high stream. That accomplishes the same thing. If you live in China, you probably have a water machine 饮水机。Hot water from it works fine for this purpose. Notice I have the glass several inches away from the spigot. It doesn't need to stand more than five or ten seconds before you pour it through a strainer into a small distribution pitcher 公道杯。These hair-like leaf elements release their flavor quickly and easily. From there it goes into the small drinking cups 品茗杯, served to yourself and your guests. The host will usually pass the glass of brewed leaves around to give interested guests a good whiff. I've covered the "how to" of brewing and serving green tea much more thoroughly elsewhere. Please have a look there for details: https://www.chinese-forums.com/forums/topic/51305-springtime-in-a-glass-yunnan-maofeng-tea-云南毛峰茶/ You can add more hot water three or four times before the tea loses its flavor. This isn't one of those famous 耐泡 Pu'er teas that can last you all morning. Any tea fancier worth his salt will want to play with the leaves at the end of the session. Spread some out and take a close look. Easy to see how these delicate tips are not too easy to pick. It's an operation that can't be automated or rushed. Early spring tea is well worth seeking out. Buy some and enjoy it right now. If one were a poet, one could write about it capturing the impermanence of life, how it's a reminder not to put things off till tomorrow. 10 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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