Bi Lo Chun: a comparison between Taiwan and Mainland China
Sunday, I got a sample of Bi Lo Chun from San Hsia, 30 km south of Taipei. I wanted to compare it with the Mainland Bi Lo Chun from Jiang Su I got from Teaparker, my tea master.
The Taiwanese leaves, left, are bigger. Definitely post Qing Min Festival. I had to use at least twice as much (half a gaiwan when dry) to get the same concentration as the Jiang Su Bi Lo Chun (picked 2 days after the Qing Min Festival). Bi Lo Chun should have lots of hair on the leaves. But Taiwan's almost has none, as you can see on this second picture:
As for the smell, Taiwan's is quite similar and pleasant. But the yun, the after taste, is almost non existant, whereas I found Mailand Bi Lo Chun's yun especially powerfull (Teaparker says delicate, maybe depending on the amount used). This was just one sample of Taiwan Bi Lo Chun, but it seems to be quite representative, from what I heard elsewhere.
If you put more emphasis on the fragrance, then the Taiwan Bi Lo Chun can be a good alternative to the expensive bi lo chun, which I can't provide. But if you are looking for after taste, then it can't compare to the original Bi Lo Chun from Jiang Su.
I live in Taiwan since 1996 and have been studying tea with Teaparker. He's a worldwide tea expert and author of over 30 tea books. The study of tea isn't just theoretical, but it's also rooted in daily practice. It's a path of continuous improvement. As my brewing technique improves I get access to better teas and better accessories. These things go hand in hand. My blog documents my learning since 2004. And I have set up an online tea boutique with my selection of top quality teas, accessories and tea culture.