Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Wu Yi Mountain Tea: Bai Ji Guan

Wu Yi Mountain is not only the home to the famous Da Hong Pao, but also to other great teas like the bai ji guan (white chicken). The leaves of the bai ji guan are green/yellow. And the soil of Wu Yi has big rocks from an ancient volcano, which gives the tea its unique character.

Teaparker gave us the opportunity 9 days ago to drink real bai ji guan. I add 'real', because there are so many copies of these legendary teas. Even Teaparker got fooled more than once. 20 years ago, he recalled, he bought what he thought was Bai Ji Guan, but it was just plain Tie Guan Yin. This time, this tea was given to him by the manager of the tea field in the Wu Yi mountain.

We used quite a large amount of leaves and filled the silver teapot about half way. Guess how many tasty, mind blowing, interesting brews we made? 11!

Tasty: not a strong taste at all, but a very delicate after taste and a sense of sweetness, like english toffee.

Mind blowing: each of us had the opportunity to brew the tea. Teaparker proved once again why he is a real tea master: he could decribe the taste of the tea before we drank it, just by watching how we brewed it! He said that one brew would taste kind of watery (unsufficiently concentrated) and with a little astringent feel in the mouth. And that's just how it tasted! The reason was that the student had abruptly cut of the arrival of water in the teapot, and then let the tea flow out too quickly from the pot.

Interesting: we then all practiced the best way to pour the water in and the tea out to get the best result. The flow of water must be steady and even over all the leaves (in circle). And to get a concentrated tea, the tea must be poured out of the teapot as slowly as possible, but always in a steady pace.

Here are the remaining leaves after our 11 brews. They look quite common, but they contain one of the very finest teas of China.

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