Saturday, January 3, 2009

My First New Tea of the New Year: Xin Yang Mao Jian

On our last trip to Chengdu, we bought this tea pre-packaged to give it a try. I had read that it was considered one of those "top ten Chinese teas" I keep reading about. The price was around 8 Yuan for 100 grams and I had to get it to try.

The following is a quick compilation of several sites (mostly commercial tea sellers) that provide information about this tea. I read them all and then put together the information.

Xin Yang Mao Jian

Xinyang Maojian is produced in the top of Xinyang, Henan Cheyun mountain, Jiyun mountain, Tianyun mountain, Yun wu mountain, Zhenlei mountain, Hei Longtan, Bai Longtan and other mountains. The end products' color is green, the pekoe revealed. The color of tea is bright-green, the fragrance is thick, the flavor is good and the leaf bud strong, light green even.

This Xinyang area has a superior climate and earth soil conditions ideal for green tea production. A couple of thousand years of perfecting the manual system tea craft, causes "the Xinyang Maojian" to be unique and unequalled. Tea Saint Lu Yu in his "the Book of tea", stated that Xinyang Maojian is the high-grade tea, Song Dynasty big literary giant Su Dongpo also placed " Huai Nan tea Xinyang first " among great teas of China.

Xinyang Mao Jian attained the famous tea high quality certificate in 1915 at the Panamanian international exposition; In 1959 it was listed as one of ten big famous teas of China. In 1982 it was, once again, evaluated and given the ministry-level high quality famous tea of China.

Though Xinyang is on the edge of the arid North China plain, the mountainous southern and western parts, crisscrossed by streams and brooks, have plenty of the clouds and mist needed for good tea. The processed leaves are in fine, taut strips. They make a delicious tea with a chestnut flavour and a long-lasting aftertaste. This tea was produced with only very simple equipment. What makes it different is the skilful hand movements of rolling, adjusted to the heat and softness or dryness of the tender leaves.

Front of the package.

From the back of the 100 gram package we bought:

Xinyang maojian lies in mountains of Xinyang with densely covered rivulet and fog. It is finely made by tender bud as raw material. It is adopted traditional craft and modern science and technology to produce. It owns features of elegant and slender shape, peak green, little white, clear green in water, fine aroma, special style. It is special tea titbit.

The back of the package contained the above description and date of production. It states that this tea can be stored for around 18 months.

Ok, enough preparation for this tea. Let's find out how it tasted

The tea looks pretty much like the other Mao Jians we have tried from Emei Mountain and elsewhere. It was dark green and twisted nicely together. It looked to be about the same density as the Emei Mao Jian.

My close up shot reveals nothing out of the ordinary. This tea looks like any other Mao Jian one can buy locally.

And, of course, the proof is in the cup. This tea is good, really good. Since we bought it pre-packaged, one can probably figure it to be a lower grade of tea than one could buy in its loose-leaf form. Nevertheless, this tea is great. It is smooth with a full-bodied sensation and a sweet and fairly long lasting aftertaste. The word "cooling" comes to mind whenever I take a sip. We really like this tea and when we go back to Chengdu, we plan to stock up on it.

I did about five infusions before it ran a little weak. Do believe if I let it set longer, I could have gotten a couple of more infusions. A truly great green tea worth drinking regularly.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Happy New Year 2009

Hope Unsurpassed

As the mists of Emei fly
Across the endless Sichuan sky
And we approach this year’s end
With all the things we had to contend
I hope the new year brings you
Joy under brilliant skies of blue
Wealth beyond belief
Health for your relief

As the cold of the region settles in
And winter bites your reddened skin
I hope you have a warm and joyful place
To celebrate the New Year to embrace
Those you love as well as those you like
Forgetting those you hate and want to strike
It is my desire in hope unsurpassed
That I am one of the first and not the last