This is my first venture into chinese green tea territory as far as reviews go. I’m not really used to drink this kind of tea, but it’s always refreshing to take the time and enjoy something out of our comfort zone. Today, I’m drinking the Pu Bu Long Zhu from Zhejiang province, China. I bought this tea at Camellia Sinensis tea house in Montreal. Click here to buy.
I will be using today my fancy 150ml gaiwan, with 7 grams of leaves, and 85C water throughout the session. I will be going through only 3 infusions, ranging from 30 to 45 seconds. This may seem like a short session, but I think that the first 3 steeps is where it’s at in terms of flavor, complexity and richness.
The dry leaves
As you would expect, the tea leaves show a dark green color, with some bright green nuances. The tea is formed into small balls, loosely rolled up together. Very far from a rolled oolong like Gao Shan Cha or Anxi Tie Guan Yin. The leaves are very small, and there is still a soft stem attached to them.
The dry leaves in a heated gaiwan smell wonderful. I am getting a very fresh odor, with strong vegetal (cooked vegetables), fruity and floral nuances. I find this tea to be very aromatic.
The wet leaves
The wet leaves smell a bit different for the dry leaves. After only one steep, I am getting roquette (peppery) notes. This surprised me, because the smell of the dry leaves had nothing to do with such an aroma. It’s a very interesting smell, that I only got from a handful of Chinese green teas. Beyond that, there is still a strong floral smell to the wet leaves, along with more sweet fruits notes (Maybe exotic fruits?).
The tea liquor
The tea soup offers a bright green color. It doesn’t really change much as I go through infusions.
The brewed tea
- I infused the tea for about 30 seconds. First of all, the texture of the tea is thick and juicy. It’s a really refreshing punch. The liquor offers a vegetal sweetness, which reminds me of cooked courgettes / zucchinis, or even spinach. It’s almost like there is honey in the tea. It’s that sweet. In the background, there’s a peppery note, which I talked about in the smelling of the wet leaves. The final of the first brew is very flowery and fruity. Only one sip gets you through a wide range of flavors and aromas. It’s very interesting.
- This time around, I infused the tea for 20 seconds, since the leaves really opened up on the first brew. To me, this was the strongest infusion. The liquor was really sweet. I would define it a as a vegetal sweetness. The fruity notes were stronger, reminding me of exotic fruits like papaya or even ripened mango. The peppery note was still hanging around in the background. Upon smelling the leaves once again, I could smell a light sea air aroma, wet seashells.
- This was the final infusion, and I let the tea rest for 45 seconds before pouring. This was by far the sweetest infusion, with a lot of exotic fruits notes coming through. The vegetal notes took the back seat, and exposed more of a ‘’baked’’ vegetable notes. On this steep, the liquor was very thick, almost cream-like. The peppery notes calmed down, only to let a slightly bitter final take its place. A pleasant bitterness.
This green tea made me more focused on what I was doing. The energy it gives builds up slowly. There’s not a bit ‘’hit’’ of energy all at once. This may be a weird thing to say, but this tea was calming and energising at the same time. It made me think more clearly. It’s a tea that I can easily drink before bed, without fearing caffeine insomnia.
I think of this tea as a perfect daily green tea companion, as far as Chinese greens go. It’s also a very versatile tea, and can be brewed in multiple ways : Western style in a big teapot (single infusion), gong fu style, or even grandpa style. Pu Bu Long Zhu is really balanced and complex at this price point. Such quality for this kind of price tells me how much Camellia Sinensis tea house is dedicated to import good quality teas, as well as being very accessible in terms of price.