About three weeks I received an email from the Association of Tea Bloggers (ATB) seeking participation in Adagio Teas' Roots Campaign. The Roots Campaign allows tea drinkers to learn more about the farmers that grow the teas they drink. The featured farmer of this round is Huang Jian Lin of Dongting, Jiangsu. I agreed to participate and received a generous two ounces of Pi Lo Chun last week.
Since then I have brewed the tea several times. In the first preparation I found that the best liquor was produced after the second steep (= 60s) in my gaiwan. My empty cup smelled like butterscotch. Rotea tasted hay. I detected a cream note. The first steep of this preparation was 30 seconds while the third one was 90 seconds. I used 180 degree F as recommended by the notes on the packet. I felt this temperature was too hot.
|Preparation 1: Steep 1 (30 seconds)|
I prepared the tea a second time in a ceramic pot with a sieve, again using the 180 degree F water as well as the 2 minute brewing time. The third time I prepared the tea, I again used a gaiwan but with 170 degree F water and steeped the tea for 2 minutes. This latter preparation yielded good liquor, too.
In preparing this post, I read Huang Jian Lin's profile and he recommends preparing the tea in a glass container though his temperature recommendation is 14 degrees hotter than that recommended by Adagio (90 degrees C = 194 degrees F).
Pi luo [sic] chun is very tender. Do not use boiling water with 100 degrees centigrade. Better use the water with 90 degrees centigrade. Second, use glass cup to brew the tea. Do not use teapot with lid. Because pi luo chun needs more air for brewing. While waiting for the tea to be cool down, you can enjoy the beautiful green soup with pleasant aroma from the glass cup.
I followed Jian Lin's advice about a glass vessel and brewed a heaping teaspoon in 180 degree F water, leaving the leaves in the cup (pictured above). The taste and smell changed dramatically over the course of our breakfast, from butterscotch nose and hay and cream flavors to dried fruit (Rotea thinks cherry) and seaweed nose and burnt toast and smoky (according to Rotea) flavors. I wonder what we will detect the next time we prepare Pi Luo Chun.
From the Roots Campaign profile of Jian Lin, we learned that he starts picking tea leaves at 8 a.m. Guess what? We drink our morning tea at 8 a.m.! (Yes, we know there is a 12-hour time difference.)
Read what other ATB members have to say about Adagio's Roots Campaign and Jian Lin's Pi Lo Chun:
Black Dragon Tea Bar
Walker Tea Review
The Tea Enthusiasts’s Scrapbook
Tea For Today
teaspoons & petals
That Pour Girl