January 22, 2011

2010 Dragon Whiskers Mao Jian

He's so sleepy, he can just barely keep his peepers open. I think it's safe to assume that I can now have an un-interrupted tea break, if I,m very quiet about it. Tyson thinks he needs to be involved in everything I do. Boxers are a great breed of dog, good natured and fun. But if they have one fault, it's separation anxiety. He has to be constantly touching you, leaning against you, or worst of all, staring at you.

If I had to choose just one type of tea to drink for the rest of my life, it would undoubtedly be green tea. I generally like all types of tea but green tea is the only tea that I actually crave. From "Tea Trekker" this Mao Jian is a fairly new addition to their catalog. Bob and Mary Lou bought this tea during their recent trip to the Fang Cun Tea Market in Guangzhou China. They made the decision to add this to their catalog immediately upon tasting it, and I can see why, it's delicious! Ive become a big advocate of Tea Trekker, everything Ive had from them was excellent quality and priced fairly.

This Mao Jian is an early spring harvest tea from Zhejiang province. The Mao Jian pluck is defined as one bud and leaf. Hand rolled and pan fired. When it comes to green tea I don't bother with scales for weighing the quantity, I just get a feel for it. It's probably around 3 grams of leaf to six ounces of water. This Mao Jian needs cooler water than other China greens. I get the best results using water at about 175 degrees. Water temperature and brewing times are important factors of brewing green tea that I am fairly diligent about. Timing is everything, it's not that this tea will become bitter or astringent if the water is too hot, but you will exhaust the leaf prematurely and you won't get as many brews from it.
 Be observant and pay attention when brewing green tea. Decant too soon and the brew isn't all it could have been, the flavors and aromas haven't been fully developed. Wait a little too long and the best flavors to be had are long gone and there's no way to go back and get them in the subsequent brews. You blew it! Brewing first pluck greens can be a challenge, but it's worth the effort when it comes to some farm fresh, high quality teas.

That picture up there speaks volumes about the quality and the condition of this tea. Absolutely beautiful leaf with such a healthy green color. As you can see below the brew is a crystal clear, golden color. Slightly sweet, rich and vegetal. As soon as the water hits the dry leaf there is an explosion of the most mouth watering aromas wafting from the shiboridashi. This is what good green tea is all about. And whats more is that it's not a very expensive tea.At $60.00 a lb. it's a very fair price for a tea of this quality.

Very easy to brew, I get three good infusions from the leaf. This tea infuses pretty quickly, about 1&1/2 to 2 minutes. The second infusion is almost indistinguishable from the first, no real noticeable difference in the flavor, color or the body. The third infusion is almost as good, definitely fading but still too good to let it go to waste.

Well, I almost made it through the entire session without Tyson waking up. The Postman rang the doorbell and Tyson was off and running again. Both a blessing and a curse because the Postman brought more tea.


  1. I am intrigued by this brewing vessel you have...it looks outstanding for photographing the brewing of certain types of tea: I really like how the pictures come through here. Any idea where I might obtain something like it?

  2. Alex,

    This type of pot is Japanese in origin and it's called a shiboridashi. This particular one was made by Petr Novak. Google his name or shiboridashi and you get plenty of hits. I pretty much use these pots for brewing everything.

    They are pretty much a gaiwan with a built in strainer and pour spout. The type of clay or porcelain determines what type of tea they are best suited to.
    A heavy, dense clay will hold heat very well so it makes a good pot for sheng, darker oolongs or black teas. Lighter material like porcelain is better suited to green teas or green oolongs.

    Good Luck! They are not hard to find.