Friday, July 05, 2013

Independence Day with a Wenshan green tea

 In Taiwanese politics, the green color stands for the Taiwan independence movement. I guess they chose green because it is the main color of the vegetation on this lush island. Another good reason to choose green tea on Independence Day (which marks the day I settled in Taiwan 17 years ago) is that its light taste and fragrances help cool me down on a very hot day.

Cultivar: Luanze (qingxin) Oolong buds
Harvested by hand on April 2nd, 2013
Origin: Pinglin, Wenshan area (in northern Taiwan)
Process: Hungqing (oven dried), striped green tea.

I brew these leaves in a bowl, a method I like in the summer. It allows the tea to release its heat and cool down faster. There is also an air of freedom to see the leaves turn and dance in the bowl as I pour my hot water on the side of the bowl. They have escaped the teapot in which they were trapped and can now perform their sweet duty directly under our eyes.

 This time, I am using a flat bowl with a thick black glaze. Michel François made it, inspired by Sung dynasty Jianyang bowls. I preheat it and notice how well the thick glaze and porcelain clay retain the heat.

I use only few leaves. Green tea buds are best appreciated light. The color of the open leaves in the dark bowl is amazing. They look so alive, as if they had just been picked! The brew looks transparent in the black bowl, but we can see its green hue in the qingbai cup.
This green tea made with qingxin oolong leaves is fresh, with part vegetable and subtropical forest scents. It is also quite sweet and refreshing. But this will also depend in great part on the quality of your water, since the water ratio is higher than for other teas.

This tea interesting for Baozhong and high mountain Oolong fans. You can experience this same cultivar as a green tea and not as a lightly oxidized Oolong/Baozhong. This will teach you the impact of the process on the flavors of the tea.

No comments: