In China, there is a class of teas that are harvested early in the spring and processed to local customs of appearance, taste and aroma. Typically not made in large quantities and rarely exported, these teas are often exceptional in taste and offer a glimpse into the tremendous variety of China's tea offerings. Sold locally, in tea markets and directly from farms, "fresh teas" are often made with varietals that, in time, have adapted to the terrier and now have taste characteristics unique to the area. Each year, we are invited to meet with a long-time supplier, who produces select lots of whites, greens and blacks in this style. This lot was harvested April 6th, 2019.
This lot is made with a large-sized green leaf, lightly mixed with white buds. The timing of the pluck we felt brought out the best qualities of the varietal. In processing, the aroma was made with a lite, toasty note and clean. With tasting, we found this tea offered a note of chestnuts at the front and a sweet, stone-fruit finish. From our perspective, this lot offers you, our customers, a unique taste and a tea that is rarely enjoyed outside the local area.
Empress Green is made using the Mei Zhan varietal. Its taste is strong and easily overdone in processing (losing some of its taste complexity) and requires a deft hand in processing. The farm operates using organic practices. Each year, this green will be made with slightly different appearance and subtle changes in taste. It also exemplifies the Chinese tea farm model wherein there is tremendous variation in flavor and aroma from region to region. Farm is at an elevation of approximately 1000 meters. The harvest followed substantial rainfall in the area in early 2019 and slowly warming temperatures leading into the season.
The leaves offer a heightened, sweet aroma. It is more naturally sweet than vegetal in flavor. Steeped, the taste is nuanced, offering some light grassy notes and notes of stone fruit. There is a pleasing tension between sweet and astringent underscoring the strength of the varietal. The tea cups clear, light-green to gold color.
As this green tea is strong in flavor, we suggest 3 grams per 8 ounces and 4-5 grams for 12 to 16 ounces. Steep 2 to 2.5 minutes and taste. This should yield a balanced cup. Use water at a temperature of 185-198 F. Leaves will yield multiple steeps