Our Nonpareil Huang Shan Mao Feng Green tea is Te Gong grade. Te Gong refers to two Chinese words: 特(tè) and 贡(gòng). 特 is short for 特级, which means the tea's grade is nonpareil; while 贡 is short for 贡品, meaning that the tea was used to be paid as tribute to the emperor.
Beautiful mountains can produce good teas; higher places can engender better aroma. Our Huang Shan Mao Feng is grown in an area between 1200 meters to 1400 meters high, which has proper sunlight and is covered by clouds and mist. Normally green tea is rated based on two solar terms: Qing Ming and Gu Yu. Our Te Gong teas are picked and made before Qing Ming. Fresh tea leaves with one bud and one leaf which are in their early sprout are in the best quality. Through the process of fixation, rolling and drying, the slight curly leaves of Mao Feng teas will be shaped, with green bud hidden in. After brewed, the bud will reveal, looking like a spear while the leaf beside looks like a flag. This is what we called the Qi Qiang (旗枪, qí qiāng) shape.
The proper condition of sunlight and mist in high mountain areas brings the Huang Shan Mao Feng a brisk and fresh flavor, as well as mellow and sweet taste. Grown in high mountain environment makes the tea contain less polyphenol. As a result the tea tastes less bitter or astringent. The high mountain environment also makes the tea leaves thicker. A glass cup is recommended to brew this tea, for you can see clearer of the beautiful green tea leaves.
Leaf Type: Green
Where to Purchase: TeaVivre
Grown in Shexian(歙县) County, Huanshan City, Anhui Province
Harvest Time: March 28, 2014
Suggested Brewing Tips:
Serving Size: 3-4 Tablespoons (8g) per 17oz serving
Water Temp: 185°
Steep Time: 3 steeps: 3m, 4m, 5m
TeaVivre also provides brewing instructions for using a 3 oz Gaiwan. In case you aren't familiar with what a Gaiwan is, it is a Chinese lidded bowl used for brewing and drinking tea.
Serving Size: 3g
Water Temp: 176°
Steep Time: 3 steeps: 5s rinse, 30s, 60s, 90s
Just as I was leaving for France last month Angel from TeaVivre let me know that the new Spring teas were available and offered to send me several to share with you. They came while I was on my trip and since then I've been anxiously awaiting the chance to try them. The first tea that I sampled, Nonpareil Te Gong Huang Shan Mao Feng Green Tea, is really something special. It is grown in the high mountains shaded by clouds and mist. The leaves are harvested and processed in the early spring before the Qing Ming harvest in early April. The resulting cup of tea is tender and slightly sweet, much more so than later harvested Mao Feng teas that I've had an opportunity to sample.
The first steep of this tea produces a cup that is very smooth and refreshing with an almost honey-like texture. It has a subtle sweet, slightly grassy flavor with no hint of astringency or dry mouth. The fact that it doesn't produce a dry mouth after tasting it makes it the perfect tea for the long, hot months of summer. As the temperature begins to rise I tend to look for lighter flavored teas that will quench my thirst without leaving me with the dry mouth feel that many other green teas produce. This is one of the few teas that I've tried in the past few weeks that does just that. It produces a very refreshing cup of tea and I could see myself consuming a lot of it this summer.
The second steep of this tea produces much more complex flavors than the first and there is a very noticeable shift in flavors. The sweetness from the first steep is still present, but the flavor begins to edge towards toasted rice rather than grassy. It reminds me somewhat of genmaicha, although the toasted notes aren't nearly as strong. Both the second and third steeps of this tea produce very different results from the first, it is like I am drinking a completely different tea. I have always considered Mao Feng green tea a staple in my cupboard, but I've never had one that quite compares to TeaVivre's Nonpareil Te Gong Huang Shan Mao Feng Green Tea.
Before I end my review I did want to mention that TeaVivre is having their 3rd anniversary sale at the end of the month. To start things off they will be giving away a limited number $10 gift cards on July 27th which can be used during the sale. Visit their website for more information about the giveaway and sale, it's the perfect time to try something new or stock up on a few favorites.
My Rating: 91/100 Want to better understand my rating system? Check out the about tab for more information.
Would I order this again? Yes! The complexity of this tea really appeals to me, I could see it becoming a summer staple in our house.
In an effort to be open with my readers I want to let you know that this sample was provided to me free of charge by TeaVivre for my review. As always, all opinions are my own. If you are a company and would like to send me an item for review feel free to drop me an email.