Monday, March 18, 2013

Sunny spring Bi Luo Chun

It was raining a little last Thursday, March 14, when I took this picture. But since Chinese New Year, the weather in northern Taiwan has been quite sunny, warm and very dry. It's a kind of weather that is more similar to April/May than March. This lack of water and relative heat has caused the leaves to grow slowly and quite big. For the harvesters, they are difficult to pick, because they have to avoid picking the leaves that are too old. Therefore, there are fewer tips this year.

Cultivar: qingxin ganzhong
Harvested by hand on March 12, 2013 (a very sunny and warm day).
Origin: San Hsia, northern Taiwan.
Process: Bi Luo Chun green tea

Filtered water boiled in a Japanese silver kettle.

Brewed simply with the bowl method. I'm using a flat and asymmetric qingbai bowl handmade by David Louveau.
Many green teas also have a tendency to have a slightly yellowish color this year (due to the heat). I was able to pick one with a nice green color instead. But the batch was small: 3 kg only.

The hot water swirls in the bowl. The leaves are like dancing as they unfurl. There is one key point to remember when regular Oolong brewers switch to green tea: use fewer leaves as you would with Oolong. With Oolong, the vessel's volume can be filled with leaves, but it shouldn't with green tea leaves.  
But when you use such a flat bowl, the temperature will drop faster, so it's possible to use slightly more leaves than in a gaiwan or teapot.
The fragrances are very fresh, part flowery part grassy. It feels like a sunny and warm spring day in the hills.
The bowl gives a mellow, round aromas that underline the sweet taste of this batch. I find it a very relaxing and calm way of preparing this tea.

The renewal of spring and Easter is approaching. The colors of this Cha Xi are colors that fit this time. We can even see a rabbit in this old qinghua waste water bowl! It's very simply drawn, round like an egg!
It doesn't try to capture the details of a rabbit, but the general idea, the essence of this cute animal with long ears. In a similar way, this San Hsia Bi Luo Chun doesn't show off a strong character, but it catches the essence of a spring green tea from Taiwan.


Paul Dray said...

Stephane I've seen you use the bowl for Bi Luo Chun before. I've wondered how you get the tea in to the cups after it's brewed in the bowl? I presume you dip the cups in the bowl?

TeaMasters said...

Hi Lastcoyote,
I'm using the porcelain tea/soup spoon you can see on the right hand side of the Cha Xi.

Green Stone said...

This looks absolutely gorgeous. I'm so envious that you can get first flush practically right off the bush!