There are some styles of tea out there that cause excitement and curiosity as soon as you open the container. For those of you who have experienced Tai Ping Hou Kui green tea, this is one of those styles of tea. Every aspect of the appearance of this tea is unique, and the aroma is usually very fresh and pleasant.
According to the TeaVivre website (click here), Tai Ping Hou Kui is traditionally grown in Hou Keng, Xinming village, Huangshan City, Anhui Province, China. This style of tea is produced from a specific cultivar called Shidacha (Shiyecha). This type of tea bush produces rather large leaves, which are easily noticeable in Tai Ping Hou Kui due to the unique processing method of this style of tea.
Let the journey begin…
The dry leaves vary in shades of green color, from bright to dark green. The leaves vary in length, but are uniformly flattened. The length varies from one (25 mm) to three and a half inches (90 mm). The bud and two leaf pluck is apparent in several of the leaves. Many leaves appear to be unbroken, while others appear to be large fragments. The leaves are quite large overall, indicative of the Shidacha cultivar. The aroma of the dry leaves is that of fresh cut grass, sweet hay, and a slight toasted nuttiness.
Four grams of dry leaves were placed in an 8.5 ounce (240 ml) kyusu. Purified water was heated to 175°F (80°C). Leaves were infused for one minute, with an additional ten seconds added to subsequent infusions.
The first infusion produced a liquor with a light and pale shade of green color, clear and transparent. The aroma has scents of orchids, fresh cut wet grass, sweet butter or cream, and a slight nuttiness. The body is medium, with a rounded and mouth filling feel. The taste has notes of water chestnuts, orchids, and a sweetness most similar to citrus fruits. There was a slight bitterness to the otherwise floral and lingering aftertaste. As usual with a good quality tea, the flowery essence in the olfactory glands persisted for minutes after swallowing.
The second infusion produced a liquor with a slightly livelier shade of pale green. The taste balanced out some, having stronger orchid notes and lighter water chestnut notes. Other than that, there was little variance from the first infusion.
The third infusion was nearly identical to the second infusion in all aspects. A nice aroma, great flavor, medium body, floral aftertaste. I am truly enjoying the consistency from infusion to infusion. I will continue with two additional infusions.
The photo above depicts the fifth infusion. As you can see, the color is still quite consistent with the third infusion. The aroma, body, and taste are also surprisingly consistent, with a very slight lightening in character. Overall, the quality of this liquor is amazing for a fifth infusion of a green tea. And this is not even the highest quality of Tai Ping Hou Kui offered from TeaVivre. If I were not running out of time at the office today, I would have tried two additional infusions just to see if it could last. Interesting to note that these are not flash infusions. This fifth infusion steeped in water for two minutes.
The infused leaves have a rather uniform fleshy green color, with a slight variation in the shades of green. The pluck of a bud and two leaves is apparent. Many leaves are unbroken and fully attached to the stem, while others are very large fragments. The leaves are quite large. They are quite delicate at this point, but I still believe another infusion or two is possible. The aroma is very pleasant, with scents of orchids and fresh cut wet grass. There is some taste left in these leaves.
I have been intrigued by Tai Ping Hou Kui since the first time I tried it about a year ago. I can honestly say that the TeaVivre product is the best that I have had to this point. I would love to try the Nonpareil variety that they offer, just to see if the higher price tag can provide such a better experience than this premium variety. This is an excellent style of Chinese green tea, and one that I highly recommend to any green tea enthusiast out there. Just be careful on the brewing technique. Again, I must highlight the consistency that this tea had over five infusions. I cannot remember the last time a Chinese green tea gave me five consistent infusions. Excellent product. Thanks, TeaVivre. You are four for four so far! 🙂