Thursday, 23 February 2012

2011 Superfine Long Jing

The days are getting hectic lately. I am trying to finish the experiments in the lab and meanwhile I am writing my thesis. Moreover, I have to think about what next and find a job these days is not easy. The evening tea drinking is a quiet moment in my day which helps me to relax and look at the thinks from different perspective. However, drinking young sheng or hongcha at the evening is not very beneficial for my sleep. I like these teas a lot but a session with 5-8g of tea can be a burden for the digestion and nervous system (due to the caffeine). I will switch to lighter teas for the evenings and leave the shengs for the weekend mornings, at least for a while. 

I bought a small package of this Long Jing from DTH during the last spring together with other Chinese greens. This one was clearly the best among them and I bought a bigger package later on, but since there was so many other teas to try I somehow forgot about it. Green tea has a shelf life so I kept it sealed in the fridge for the past half year or so.

Green-yellow flat buds, soft and fragile on the touch. 
5g/90ml gaivan
water temperature starting at cca 65°C and increasing with every steep.
20s, 10s, 30s, 45s, 1min, 2min, 5min.


The setup is simple but pleasing for eyes.

The dry leaves have candy-like sweet fragrance, some nutty and coconuts, mild but nice. After the first infusion the sweetness of the wet leaves is more pronounced, and I notice some higher notes and a bit of cooked green beans but without the heavy vegetal smell. 


On the early infusions the liquor is delicate and complex, I have to pay attention to pick up the complexity. On the later steeps a vegetable character with thicker consistency is added. The aftertaste appears right after the swallowing. Both the lid of the gaivan and the empty cup has a delicate sweet smell which is light and clearly different from the wild and heavy sweetness of young shengs.
For the last infusions boiling water was used which brought more intensity and some edges, but I like green teas at this stage (maybe even more than the initial smooth and complex infusions, maybe I am just not a delicate person :)
Good old tea bubbles.

I almost forgot how tricky is to brew green tea. There is a short region between the "underbrewing" and "overbrewing" and it takes a couple of trials to find the right parameters (and it can differ for every green) to get into this region. I usually use 3-4g of tea per 90ml of water but this time I used more to see how does it perform. The result was quite nice, the taste was clean without the heavy vegetal taste and other disturbing off tastes. However, the 3g setup works somehow better for me, giving crispier and more satisfying steeps. I think, this long jing will work well as a good night tea for the next few weeks.

Ps: The optimal solution would be to drink the strong teas like shengpu, hongcha or yancha at the mornings before going to work This would mean to wake up 2 hours earlier than usual, what would be very difficult for me :(. 

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