02 February 2008

Te Guan Yin Ice

Most of the teas, unlike pu-erh are best while fresh. Only pu-erh and some oolongs become better aged. So if you encounter some fine green tea, if it's older than 3 months, probably you already missed its peak. But what could be the freshest tea you ever tasted?

Today you can try teas only a few weeks after they were made. But on my last trip to Prague I found a special tea, maybe the freshest I ever tasted.

Te Guan Yin Ice.

No, it isn't Ice Tea you can buy in PET bottles. It's a regular high quality Te Guan Yin that wasn't dried in a pan as the last step of making, but it was frozen instead. I like to thing about it as tea hibernation. Just check the chunk of frozen Te Guan Yin as I pulled it from the pack.

The big problem with this tea is that it has to be frozen all the time. The teashop owner nearly rejected to sell it to me, because he was afraid, that the tea will worsen in my way to home - I live in Slovakia, 4 hours by train from Prague. Luckily, I was able to persuade him, that in January it will be ok.

Few minutes later were the leaves ready to brew the tea. Please, note how green they were - much greener, than the standard Te Guan Yin is. Also, they were clearly hand-picked, with lots of stems. What struck me down was their smell - very strong, very powerful, and very vegetal. This is how the fresh tea should smell.

I brew the tea with nearly boiling water, as the tea master showed me. The brew was light yellow. Again, the taste was typical Te Guan Yin, except I found some citrus flavors I do not expect in standard Te Guan Yin. The tea was thick, strong with long lasting round aftertaste. Also, it survived 10+ infusions very well.

The leaves were not the highest quality - I found a lots of 3 leaves and a bud or even 4, 5 leaves on a single stem. They were rather big with rather strong veins. On the other hand, the stems were still pretty soft, so the leaves were young enough.


Bill said...

Great! I wish you luck on your new blog!


MarshalN said...

Hey, just found this place :)

Usually in China they don't put it in the freezer... merely a low temp fridge, keeping it close to 0 but not quite under 0...

Tuo Cha Tea said...

Actually, I bought one of that tea before... I kept it in a fridge (approx 4-6 Celsius) and I forgot it here for few weeks and it was still OK. But Jin, the tea shop owner said, that the tea should remain frozen...