CHINA BEAUTY RINGS
(China Green Tea)
Country of Origin: China
Region: Sichuan Province - Mount Meng Region
Shipping Port: Shanghai
Grade: Green tea rings
Altitude: 4000’ ft. above sea level
Manufacture Type: Streamed green tea and handmade tea ringlets
Cup Characteristics: Hint of toastiness. Almost a pleasant jammy-like character.
Infusion: Tending yellow pale fullness
Ingredients: Luxury green tea.
The method of manufacture of this tea is quite interesting. The first and second leaf of new shoots are painstakingly plucked during the end of March and the first two weeks of April, (the bud is used to make special needle teas). These leaves are allowed to wither every so slightly steamed, and then hand rolled (lengthwise, where a few of the leaf cells are broken allowing some of the green tea flavor to develop). Following the rolling, the best leaves are selected and curled around a ‘beauty stick’, pressed flat and then dried in a special oven to lock-in the flavor and preserve the unique shape. Note that the bottom of the new leaf is covered with a ‘new down’. This signifies new, fresh and pure - characteristics that were held in high regard by those striving for ultimate beauty. There are only two villages in the Mount Meng region, which make these teas. These two villages are the holders of the ‘beauty sticks’; sticks that the favorite consort of a 13th century Emperor blessed with her beauty.
Green tea, above all others has a very delicate flavor, which is easily marred by the impurities in the water used for brewing it. In the Tang and Ching dynasties water filters were not available and teas were often as expensive as gold. In those days the wealthy tea drinker would bring water from afar (sometimes up to 1000 miles away). Lu Yu the ‘Tea God’ declared: Mountain spring water is best, river water is next best, well water is the poorest.
Hot tea brewing method: When preparing by the cup, this tea can be used repeatedly - about 3 times. The secret is to use water that is about 180°F or 90°C. Place 1 teaspoon in your cup let the tea steep for about 3 minutes and then begin enjoying a cup of enchantment - do not remove the leaves from the cup. Once the water level is low - add more water, and so on and so on - until the flavor of the tea is exhausted. Look at the pattern of the leaves in the brew, not only do they foretell your fortune but you can see the bud and shoots presenting themselves, looking like they are about to be plucked.
Alternatively as with all top quality teas, scoop 2-4 teaspoons of tea into the teapot, pour in boiling water that has been freshly drawn (previously boiled water has lost most of its oxygen and therefore tends to be flat tasting), steep for 2-4 minutes (to taste), stir (virtually all the leaves will sink), pour into your cup but do not add milk or sugar since green tea is enjoyed ‘straight-up’.
Iced tea-brewing method: (to make 1 liter/quart): Place 6 teaspoons of tea into a teapot or heat resistant pitcher. Pour 1 1/4 cups of freshly boiled water over the tea. Steep for 5 minutes. Quarter fill a serving pitcher with cold water. Pour the tea into your serving pitcher straining the leaves. Add ice and top up the pitcher with cold water. Garnish and sweeten to taste. [A rule of thumb when preparing fresh brewed iced tea is to double the strength of hot tea since it will be poured over ice and diluted with cold water.]