Well, day 10 and the first green I am posting about. I like a good green tea but the possibility of having a stale cuppa green tea with a strong astringent taste is quite a nightmare for me. Those of you who do not like the grassy and tangy taste of green teas would understand me. And you will be pleased to know that Taiping Hou Kui is an exception.
It comes from the exceptional tea growing area in China called Taiping County (or Huangshan) in Anhui province. The city explains the name of the tea partially. Kui refers to the name of the tea farmer who invented it in the early 20th century and Hou (monkey) hill is the tea garden where he used to live. So, this explains the mystery behind the name which has nothing to do with tea plucking monkeys. Master Kui invented this premium tea to address emerging appetite and demand of his customers from big Chinese cities.
Taiping Hou Kui is indeed a precious and well-known Chinese tea which also won an award at the Panama World Expo in 1915. I love the fact that Chinese tea masters are so curious and innovative and can come up with distinctively new varieties that are extraordinary.
This artisanal tea is characterised by straight and long flat leaves that hold a bud within as you can see in the photo below. The leaves are fried after plucking and before the complex three-step baking process, they are individually arranged on wooden plates and pressed by a cotton cloth. The little squares on the leaves, therefore, indicate that the tea leaves were pressed into cotton by hand. Mechanically produced leaves will not have these marks and keep this mind when buying Taiping Hou Kui.
Harvest time: Spring 2019
Leave colour: Dark green with lighter edges
Liquor colour: Clear and bright yellow
Tea aroma: Subtle floral (orchid) fragrance
Tea taste: Fresh and sweet with delicate vegetal notes
Steeping/brewing: You can use around 85-90°C water temperature (yes don’t be afraid) and brew for up to one minute in gongfu style or up to three minutes in Western-style. You can brew the leaves many times (until the taste is lost). To each infusion add additional time. Experiment for a result that suits your taste.
Shelf life: Up to 18 months (refrigerate in an air-tight container to improve the shelf-life)