There is a class of teas in China that are harvested in the spring and processed according to local customs that often result in exceptional and unusual teas. Rarely exported and typically sold locally, these "fresh teas" are often made with varietals that have, in time, adapted to the terrier and, as a result, have taste characteristics unique to the area. Each year, with some luck, we are invited to meet with a long-time supplier, now retired, who grows select lots of white, green and black teas in this style. Green Monkey is made using the Mei Zhan varietal. It is a slow growing varietal, strong, and requires a deft hand in processing. The farm operates using organic practices. This lot was made in the first week of April 2018. Lot # W-7.
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 toasty 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.
Each year, this green will be made with slightly different appearance. This reflects the timing of the harvest. It also exemplifies the Chinese tea farm model wherein there is not great standardization of products and, in this case, a tea not made for export markets. It was harvested just as the spring weather began to turn quite warm.
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. There is a pleasing tension between sweet and astringent underscoring the strength of the varietal. The tea cups quite 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 at 2 minutes and taste. This should yield a balanced cup. Use water at a temperature of 185-198 F. Leaves will yield multiple steeps