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Like a lot of big-name teas, we've been a little bit wary of stocking an average Mao Feng just to tick a box. After tasting this 2014 Huang Shan Mao Feng by Fu Tai Yuan we're happy we held out for something special. Here's our detailed tasting notes!
Green teas can be brewed pretty adequately in tall glasses, which shows off the leaves well. For consistency, we'll be using our trusty simple white gong fu cha tea set instead, although feel free to use a tall glass if it suits you. 100ml of off-the-boil water (around 85 degrees) and 5-6g of leaves is perfect.
The dry leaves have a very rich and rounded smell, as well as a bright green colour. There's a bit of variation between bright green, dark green and some slightly white and furred leaves, but generally they are light and quite brittle. As you can see from the photos, they're pretty attractive.
As usual, our first steep is short - 20 seconds exactly. Immediately it's very smooth and bright on the tongue - lots of green teas undergo a slightly more intense processing and have a more vegetal taste. This has a beautiful milky-rice-porridge texture, and hints of juicy sweetcorn. Let's head in for a second (and longer) steep.
After a longer (1 minute) steep, the taste is still smooth, but the taste has changed slightly. It's overwhelmingly sweet peas now, very fresh and sweet. The liquor has deepened its colour and is now a nice jade tint (which sadly doesn't come out in the photos), and is still silky smooth. I'm liking this tea so much, I decide to push it a bit further.
This time, in a time honoured long-steep technique called jin pao, I leave the tea to steep for around 3 minutes. A jin pao is often not aimed at getting the best taste out of a tea, but at releasing all of the good and bad tastes. It helps reveal the limits of the tea, and pushes poor quality teas that can be masked by nice short brews. Anyway, it's pretty impressive.
There's none of the tannic, bitter or chlorophyll tastes I would have expected from many other green teas. The leaves are a much more subdued colour now (a faded green) and the taste still has a strong steamed fresh beans flavour. There's a tiny bit of dry-tongue, but it's not unpleasant and certainly wouldn't be there if we hadn't intentionally over-brewed the leaves.
This is a great tea! Green teas tend to be much calmer and one-dimensional than red or oolongs, and this is no exception, with an overwhelming single taste of steamed sweet peas. However, it stands out by avoiding the pitfalls of many greens - bitterness, dryness and vegetal tastes. It stood up well to 4-5 brews in the end.
Get your hands on our 2014 Huangshan Mao Feng by Fu Tai Yuan before our stocks run out!
Tea for me is all about that "aha" moment when you try a truly great tea for the first time. I live in Fuzhou, China and enjoy anything that helps me appreciate Chinese culture more (currently tea, martial arts and history books!). Contact me on email@example.com