Pi Luo Chun

pi luo chun - dry leaf

This tea came my way in the form of a free 3 gram sample that was included in a recent order I made over at House of Tea.

Now, this was going to make for an interesting little session on two counts – firstly I’ve kind of lost the habit of green tea drinking lately, and secondly I haven’t had any of this particular type of tea ever since I finished off a batch I bought from a local bricks and mortar, real world tea shop way back in early February of 2016.

House of Tea’s notes start off by reminding us that Pi Luo Chun, aka Biluochun, is widely considered to be one of the fabled “10 Famous Chinese Teas”, before stating that this tea was hand plucked and harvested in the early part of spring 2020.

They go on to describe the tea as grown at high elevation in the mountainous area around Dong Ting Shan, Jiang Su province, in Eastern China. They also note that the area is known for the cultivation of tea and fruit trees in close proximity to one another, which, apparently, results in the tea being infused with the fragrances of the blooms from the fruit trees.

Finally they remind us that only tea from Jiang Su is considered to be genuine Pi Luo Chun, even though this general style of tea, with its quite small rolled leaf, is also produced in other parts of China.

As I tend to do these days with small, 3 gram samples, I followed the included brewing advice and went with a Western style approach.

The dry leaf smelled faintly of the inside of a hay barn on rainy day in summer, but once it had been given a chance to sit a few seconds in the warmed up pot it started chattering about chopped nuts and cereals.

Steeping method
Water Used: Filtered tap water
Weight of dry leaf: 3 grams
Infusion style: Western
Steeping vessel: 200 ml glass teapot
Water temperature: 70°C
No. & duration: 3 infusions of 1½, 2, and 2½ minutes duration

After the first infusion the pale coloured liquid surprised by packing a quite beefy body, one that had nary a trace of bitterness or grassiness, but plenty of creamy nuttiness and sweet vegetal tones, like broccoli stalks.

pi luo chun - a cup of

The second, 2 minute steeping saw no noticeable tail-off in intensity of flavour. This session was a pre-breakfast one, and despite the day up until that point having been a tad stressful, I begun to feel myself calming down once the liquor hit my empty stomach.

The third, 2½ minute long infusion saw only a slight drop off in the quality of the liquor, but I nevertheless called time on the session at that point. I did, however, come away with the impression that even that small sample might just have been good for one or even possibly two more rounds, and that the result would be a long and pleasant session if these leaves were given a bit of gong-fu love.

pi luo chun - used leaves


Conclusions

A lot of descriptions of Pi Luo Chun tend to emphasise the tea’s floral and sweet nature, and, enjoyable as this wee sample was in its own way, complete with that vegetal sweetness, I didn’t pick up anything in the way of flowery overtones. This, though, is when the habit of cutting samples in general, and small ones in particular, a good deal of slack makes sense. I can well imagine that any delicate aromas might have perished in the time those 3 grams worth of leaves were in transit in a small plastic baggie, even if that was for just one day.

This session was certainly a hit on one front – it made me want more green tea in my stash. It also made me realise that I don’t know Pi Luo Chun all that well, and that perhaps it’s time we got better acquainted, so that stash boosting slice of greenery might just be a full cargo of these very leaves.

Watch this space, etc…

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