2013 Yong Xi Huo Qing 1150m (3450 ft.) First Day Harvest

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Green Tea
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Edit tea info Last updated by Mark B
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175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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  • “Grrrr. I hate when I lose a carefully crafted tasting note….. Oh well. First off, do yourself a favor and get the 2013 sample packs of green tea from Life In Teacup before they’re gone. I’m SO glad...” Read full tasting note

From Life In Teacup

Production Year: 2013
Production Season: Spring, Harvested on April 1st
Production Region: Anhui Province, Jing County. Single estate. 1150m (3450 ft.) above sea level.
Style: Chao Qing (pan fry to kill green)

The following description is modified from a 2010 Life In Teacup blog post about this tea:

It’s a historically famous green tea with a a spherical-shaped “gunpowder” kind of appearance.

The dry tea leaves are shiny and curled from the earliest harvest of spring. Each curled tea “ball” turned out to be two leaves and a bud.

It’s a wonderful tea, with a sweet floral taste and yields more infusions than average green tea.

In China, this tea is both famous and under-noticed. It was invented in the 17th century or earlier and indeed one of the oldest tea varieties. There are other teas with deeper historical roots, but many historically famous tea changed throughout time. Today, not many teas are made in the same way as they were 400 years ago, but Yong Xi Huo Qing is. The tea is not commonly seen even in Chinese markets, partially due to its small annual production.

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1 Tasting Note

49 tasting notes

Grrrr. I hate when I lose a carefully crafted tasting note….. Oh well.

First off, do yourself a favor and get the 2013 sample packs of green tea from Life In Teacup before they’re gone. I’m SO glad I did. It’s been a wonderful journey that will soon come to an end, as my box of tea is dwindling.

2nd, I almost dismissed this tea for a variety of reasons: 1) It looks like gunpowder, and I don’t tend to go for that type of tea, 2) some sites describe it as smokey due to being roasted over charcoal, not so much for me & 3) the small packet (the smallest of all the samples) doesn’t have a zip lock, so it feels like more of a commitment to open.

Those were all just dumb reasons. Don’t delay is all I gotta say.

I brewed this tea in my glass 8 oz infuser, using half the capacity to 1 tsp of tea. Boiling water was used to preheat the infuser, transferred to my Finum cup and then used for the 1st steep of about 1 min. I didn’t measure, but this usually brings water temps to about 170-175ºF.

What’s particularly magical about this tea is how it appears so mundane, and then unravels itself to become the loveliest pristine 2 leaf and bud sets you’ve ever seen, rivaling some of the more exquisite long jings I’ve had. It’s wonderful to watch in glass, dive and fall, uncurling with almost a life of its own. And that little tsp takes you a long way; 5 steeps as I write this.

These aren’t overwhelming flavors per se, but lovely, lasting clear tones. Here astringency is just that, astringency. Not to be confused with bitterness, but a real note that carries from steep to steep, framing a subtle, but undeniable sweetness, a refreshing light quality that doesn’t become dry. If you’ve ever had wine that is off, gone kinda mildly carbonated, and then been introduced to a wine (non-sparkling) where that light bubble is actually an asset, used to enhance and bring more complexity to the flavor profile, then you will understand what I mean by how the astringency here really serves this tea.

I increase steeping time as I move forward, using color and fullness of the leaves as a guide. Overall the liquor tends toward a pale yellow-green, a bit hard to discern in the waning natural light here near sunset. The latter steeps start to lose me a bit, and midway through I got the strangest kind of seafood sent, mildly fishy. Not sure what that’s about, but it wasn’t unpleasant, just weird.

I feel good about this tea late in the day, alert but not particularly lifted. I wonder about it’s theanine content. From the looks of the leaves, and their early spring harvest, it leads me to believe it would have a decent amount.

Many sites describe this tea as being stronger than most greens. Maybe I need to increase the amount of tea, but I didn’t find that to be the case. It appeared my 1 tsp was a good ratio of tea to water after everything was hydrated, so I think I got a good representation of what one should expect. I will try a tbsp next time instead maybe and see how that goes. As a matter of fact, I’m kinda excited about how that will turn out and am tempted to go all in now. But I think 6 4oz cups of tea at 7P is enough for this guy!

175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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