Read all about the origins of this tea here!
We can see in the photo of the dried leaves above that they were hand-plucked while still very young and tender. This is evident not only by the size of the leaves, but also in the protective fur that is still on the whitish colored leaf buds. It is this stage of leaf growth, along with the heirloom cultivar of tea tree that give Bi Luo Chun its distinctive character among Green Teas — especially when it is from the first flush of spring tea buds!
The brewed tea is very light in color, with a soft, transparent luminescence. The word "elegant" comes to mind in an attempt to describe its visual character. The cup of tea in the photo above was poured through a fine mesh strainer to present the "tea soup" without the fibers from the leaf buds. Many tea aficionados will contend that the "fur" from the leaf buds is the best part, and by no means should be filtered out! We encourage you to try both, with all of your tea tasting attention, and allow the tea to tell you!
We also recommend that you explore the amount of tea leaves used in proportion to the amount of water. You can start with as little as one gram of tea per 70mL of water! This will brew a very subtle yet complex aromatic profile with a surprisingly long-lasting finish. For a bit more substance on the palate, start with a 1:40 ratio of leaves to water, which can be increased to as much as 1:25, or more! Bi Luo Chun really does offer a wider range of flavor profiles based on brewing methods than most teas. So take the opportunity to explore what it has to offer! Water temperature at 75°-85°C is recommended.
This pot of tea was brewed with a 1:25 ratio of leaf to water, at about 80°C, starting at 30 seconds brewing time. The aroma is fresh green vegetal with savory herbal notes and a hint of toasted leaf. The flavor has a base of sweet tender greens, and is impressively balanced by a complex bouquet of semi-dried flowers that lingers for a long pleasant moment. The sweet/savory/floral combo delivered with a smooth watery mouthfeel is really satisfying and refreshing. We continue to be intrigued and happily surprised by the well-rounded complexity of Bi Luo Chun, and this batch of first flush spring tea has an especially subtle and complex profile to be explored and enjoyed. Don't forget to vary the amount leaves used, water temps, and brewing times to experience the full spectrum of flavors!
The brewed leaves exhibit their uniform, fresh green condition, replete with the pointed tips of unfurled leaf buds. The leaves are loosely rolled after they are exposed to high temperature. The heat wilts the leaves, making them very tender and susceptible to tearing. This, along with the fragility of the dried leaves that are only curled rather than tightly rolled, and break easily when packaged, is why some of the leaves are no longer in whole-leaf form.
Please do share your experiences of this special batch of early spring tea in the comments below. Let us know what your favorite brewing method is, including the vessels used and all the brewing specs!
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