Huangshan Maofeng

Non-oxidized tea
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LeoFox
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Tue Jul 06, 2021 8:57 am

@tjkdubya thank you!

I tend to brew the first way you mentioned - and sometimes for tea that sinks more readily, sprinkle the tea on the water. Always off boiling. I will try some of the other methods mentioned
faj
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Tue Jul 06, 2021 9:19 am

tjkdubya wrote:
Tue Jul 06, 2021 8:39 am
No neutral way to brew a tea, even porcelain!
If I had a magical, "truly neutral" teapot and I were to let you try it, you might very well see it as different from your reference points, therefore feeling "not neutral" to you. Also, different teapots have different thermal properties, which affect the results, and that has nothing to do with the material being neutral. So even among teapots made of a theoretical, perfectly neutral material, the results would differ.

It think "neutral" can be considered in the same way as "blue" : a useful term with a not-insignificant meaning, but with no single, gold-standard, technical definition. Most people will generally agree on what is "not blue" or "not neutral", but if you try to define the true essence of "pure blue" or a "neutral teapot", that is harder to agree on.
Jeanbb
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Thu Jul 29, 2021 12:12 pm

LeoFox wrote:
Sun Jul 04, 2021 10:49 am
A special tea for a special day:
2021 Huang Shan Mao Feng from DaXueJiaDao:

viewtopic.php?p=37648#p37648

The terroir is Chong Chuan - the original source for the first Huang Shan Mao Feng. The label is lovingly hand painted by the tea maker.
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The petite, furry leaves have a very mild floral scent. No smoke at all.
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Kiwon recommends pushing it at 5g/100 mL with relatively shorter gongfu steeps using boiling water.

I brewed using my standard 2g/ 85 mL boiling water starting with 1 minute and going up. Drank the tea with an empty stomach to test the astringency.

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The first steep is mild but not flat. Mouthfeel is smooth with an elegance that sits between crisp clarity and soft thickness. There was a floral scent from the leaves but not in the infusion. A light, creamy but refreshing amuse bouche.

Went to 1:30 for the second steep. The tea soup starts off the same as the first infusion but slowly, letting it rest on the tongue for a few seconds and..an exquisite flavor develops. Literally brought tears to this fox's eyes...

What is this?

Very hard to describe...

...a creamy savoriness that is at once like spring peas just from the fields gently heated on a pan under a lid for a few seconds in its own juices and some fresh, sweet butter- at once that and also dried wild mushrooms made into a crystal clear broth. From time to time, a fruity sweetness sparkles like a diamond slowly turned in the light.

The subsequent infusions slowly increase in volume and complexity before calming down into warming, serene tea .. over 10 infusions and still going. The leaves themselves are very tasty and tender.

Astringency? The right amount for a beautiful mouthfeel. Truly, a very special experience.
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Drinking this now, 5g sample to 100ml but couldn't bring myself to brew off a boil. Roughly 90 degrees C.

Totally agree with your assessment, not quite as expressively complex as some of the offerings from Sweetest Dew like his Hou Gui for comparison but supremely elegant especially in the mouthfeel. Super smooth and buttery, balanced with a subtle sweetness. Experiencing a fairly broad evolution over infusions too.
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LeoFox
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Thu Aug 26, 2021 11:23 am

Enjoying a nice session with sweetest dew's monkey valley mao feng after letting it sit for a few months. The tea is much improved! The soup tastes very pure and there is the same comfortable warmth as the session progresses. Importantly, the smokiness is gone.
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LeoFox
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Sun Sep 05, 2021 9:03 am

Brewing DaXueJiaDao mao feng with different parameters:

viewtopic.php?p=37647#p37647

Typically for Chinese greens I start with 2-3g per 100 mL boiling water at 60s. However, being encouraged to push the tea, I tried the following:

3.5 g/ 85 mL starting at 50s
4.5 g/ 85 mL starting at 40s
5 g /85 mL starting at 30s

For comparison, I also did the same with two other lower grades of maofeng from another vendor.

As expected, I found 3.5g similar to the tea from my usual approach just stronger flavor - and quite a bit more depth and creaminess in the later steeps. For me, this might be ideal.

At 4.5-5g, things become different. The subtle maofeng becomes bold and very strong. For the lower grades, one of them sent me to the bathroom fast (not good). The other that costed 50% more was strong but lacked complexity.

However, the tea from DaxueJiaDao was not only extremely powerful at that ratio, the complexity was maintained, with the different layers of flavors so clear, they felt deeply chiseled. I can see this can be very appealing for some who prefer stronger body- but for me, this approach lacked the elegance and subtlety that I want from chinese greens. A personal thing for sure - but I highly recommend anyone who gets this tea to brew at this high ratio with boiling water at least once.

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tjkdubya
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Sun Sep 05, 2021 9:49 am

Leo it's really wonderful and gratifying to see you experiment. The reason I usually recommend people try these teas at higher ratios and higher temps than normal is precisely to demonstrate these qualities that may go beyond personal preference into the realm of appreciation. I actually prefer 3-4g 100ml, so you and I are in the same ballpark when it comes to personal preference. But there's something to be said for exploring beyond just mere like or dislike and trying to understand a tea's qualities.

I often think about how challenging it is to untangle our personal preferences from a greater sense of appreciation that can extend beyond the personal. I appreciate that tea affords us this kind of challenge.
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LeoFox
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Fri Sep 10, 2021 8:10 am

Ive been drinking this DaXueJiaDao mao feng every day from a 50g bag for a week now - about 3.5g a day.

viewtopic.php?p=37647#p37647

Something very interesting happened this morning.

When I opened the bag, i suddenly smelled a rich floral scent that had not been present before! The dry leaf only had a mild scent previously - so I knew something must have changed.

It has - the tea is now at least twice as floral and the taste has become more herbal- the aftertaste is also delightfully cooling though I am still feeling warmed up.

I am told this tea evolves even more as time goes on; evolves, not deteriorates!
Jeanbb
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Wed Sep 15, 2021 4:45 am

LeoFox wrote:
Sun Sep 05, 2021 9:03 am
Brewing DaXueJiaDao mao feng with different parameters:

viewtopic.php?p=37647#p37647

Typically for Chinese greens I start with 2-3g per 100 mL boiling water at 60s. However, being encouraged to push the tea, I tried the following:

3.5 g/ 85 mL starting at 50s
4.5 g/ 85 mL starting at 40s
5 g /85 mL starting at 30s

For comparison, I also did the same with two other lower grades of maofeng from another vendor.

As expected, I found 3.5g similar to the tea from my usual approach just stronger flavor - and quite a bit more depth and creaminess in the later steeps. For me, this might be ideal.

At 4.5-5g, things become different. The subtle maofeng becomes bold and very strong. For the lower grades, one of them sent me to the bathroom fast (not good). The other that costed 50% more was strong but lacked complexity.

However, the tea from DaxueJiaDao was not only extremely powerful at that ratio, the complexity was maintained, with the different layers of flavors so clear, they felt deeply chiseled. I can see this can be very appealing for some who prefer stronger body- but for me, this approach lacked the elegance and subtlety that I want from chinese greens. A personal thing for sure - but I highly recommend anyone who gets this tea to brew at this high ratio with boiling water at least once.

I am largely unaccustomed towards and generally sceptical of brewing a tea like maofeng or chinese greens in at roughly boiling point but my experience with this tea was surprisingly much improved by doing so compared to at 85c. Some slight over the top harshness in terms of vegetal qualities for me in the aroma by doing so in the early steeps but only the smallest hint of pleasant bitterness and in this case the flavours seem to have much more coherence and complexity which I didn't get at my usual brewing temp. Texturally the tea was already impressive but another layer of creaminess is added and from what seemed straightforwardly elegant in flavour profile became much interesting and complex for me. Very pleasantly smooth going down the throat and flavours seem to linger in a much more enjoyable manner. I personally wouldn't brew this less than 95c knowing this now. No overwhelming vegetal aspects in the mouth which I would also be potentially concerned with for this approach.

Typically I would brew for closer to 15s for 5g/100ml but in this case found 30 to also be appropriate. I think one could mistake this as an overly soft or subtle tea (or at worst boring) by not pushing it.

Glad that three sample packets were included to test this without feeling I'd potentially ruin a session.
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Bok
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Wed Sep 15, 2021 5:40 am

@Jeanbb I think there is a common misconception that Chinese greens are to be treated the same as Japanese greens. The rest is often a question of quality, the better the tea quality the less it’s sensitive to heat.
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tjkdubya
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Wed Sep 15, 2021 1:08 pm

Perhaps not so much a misconception as it is common sense folk wisdom reflecting the fact that a lot of Chinese greens just don't hold up well to this kind of intensive approach. The thing to understand about Chinese greens, at least what we hope to present with these teas, is that the range of quality possible is very wide, and at the highest levels they rival the best China has to offer from other tea categories.
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