First up is an excellent China green. A 2010 Pre-Qing Ming Gan Lu, or "Sweet Dew" Gan Lu is a tea with a lot of character and a very long history. An early Spring tea that was an Imperial favorite during the Tang Dynasty (960-1279) Grown on Mengding Mountain in the Sichuan Province. Opening the bag fills the room with rich vegetal sweetness. Just the smell of the dry leaf alone makes my mouth water. Comprised primarily of a bud only picking that is covered in silvery, fuzzy down. Soft and velvety to the touch. Vegetal without the raw spinachy tastes of other greens. I love those veggie teas but that veggieness has to be balanced with other flavors and aromas. This tea is buttery smooth with no bitterness or astringency. Even the most negligent of brewers will have no problem with this tea, never becomes bitter when over steeped or when using hotter than necessary water. Durability is good, 2-3 infusions. Brews up a sparkling clean cup of golden, silvery tea. Absolutely delicious.
Next up is an equally excellent 2010 Pre-Qing Ming Long Ding from Zhejiang Province. Long Ding is a early season, pan fired tea that's made from a bud only picking standard. This being a "Larks Tongue" style of tea it's best appreciated brewed in a glass pot or cup. The leaves are juicy, plump and intensely green. Long Ding is one of those teas that infuse vertically, the leaves tend to stand on end while brewing. The dry leafs aroma is intensely pungent, reminds me of walking through a pine forest in the Autumn. The teas flavor is slightly vegetal, very crisp with a touch of pine. I suspect that the soil this tea is grown in is very rich in minerals, rocky and flinty soils show up as cleanliness in the cup, at least that's my theory. Delicately sweet and clear as a bell. Very crisp, bright and refreshing, yet at the same time fairly rich. Brewing parameters do need to be adhered to in order to not over steep this tea. It will become bitter if left too long in the pot. What a gorgeous tea! Durability is very good, 3-4 infusions.
Next up, Lu'An Gua Pian and 2010 Pre-Qing Ming Man Tang Xiang.