I tried a new tea (a Christmas present, courtesy of my charming husband!) last night: Pi Lo Chun from T2. I have been curious to try this tea ever since I read about it (probably in The Story of Tea). It is a Chinese tea, and the tea bushes grow between rows of fruit trees, which are in blossom at the same time that the tea bushes are flushing and being picked. The leaves absorb the perfume of the flowering fruit trees – peach, plum and apricot. The aroma of the dried leaf is sensational. It is gorgeously fruity and makes me think of dried apricots.
This is a very delicate-looking tea; the leaves are finely twisted (the name apparently means something like ‘Green Snail Spring’ a reference to the twirly spring-shape of the leaves) and they are quite dark green, with occasional very pale grey-white leaves that stand out beautifully against the deeper coloured ones. In fact, their colours toned in perfectly with the weather last night; a raging summer storm that left the sky covered in grey clouds and the trees shining with that luminous deep green that they only have when they’re wet and shaded, and it’s not yet nightfall.
Referring to my trusty New Tea Companion, I brewed 5g of leaves at about 75 degrees Celsius for 2 minutes. The resulting liquor was a pale, pale yellow, with the same fruity fragrance that the dried leaves had. And, interestingly, the scent truly carried through to the cup. The taste was full and apricotty, with only the mildest amount of astringency. It was an absolute delight.
The wet leaves were a stunning deep forest green. I brewed another pot. The second infusion was also for two minutes, and produced a slightly cloudier, rather darker-yellow liquor. The fruity taste still made an appearance, but there was an increased note of astringency with each sip; not strong or unpleasant, mind you, just there.
Would the leaves take a third infusion? I decided to find out. Another two minutes yielded a paler brew, the fruit flavours and astringency much diminished, just a lingering leafy sweetness that seems common to all good green tea.
This tea met all my hopes and expectations. It is absolutely sublime and I can’t wait to brew my next lot. Definitely one to be sipped and savoured; a magnificently special tea!