Taiping Houkui, $18.99 (2oz/56g)

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This unique tea is a standout among available green teas.  The first thing you will notice is the stream-lined shape of the dry leaf.  Along with the famous Dragon Well Green tea of Hangzhou, these leaves are flattened and the liquor shares a similar nuttiness and smoothness.  However, this one has very long leaves and one might wonder how to adjust it into your gaiwan.  An obvious solution is to brew it in a common drinking glass with the leaves inserted vertically (about 3gr) with the water just covering the leaves.  The delicate nature of this tea suggests temperatures in the 170° range and steeps of one to two minutes.  You can either pour it out or simply drink it grandpa style over the course of a few refills (that's my choice).   

Taiping Houkui is grown in the tea gardens of Huang Shan (mountain) in Anhui province and poetically named after its original maker and the location it was first produced.   Interestingly, Taiping Houkui is not rolled after withering but rather put through a series of steam baths and then pressed into this beautiful shape. It doesn't have the staying power of a stronger oolong, for instance, but the steeps you do get out of it are so worth it.  Very simple, very delicate, very elegant.

Tip: Weigh out your 3 gr. because these leaves are deceptively thin.

Cultivar: Shi Da Ye

Harvest: Spring 2020