Thursday, August 30, 2007

All the Tea in China -- Polluted?

The issue of serious pollution in the People's Republic of China has recently drawn more and more attention on the international stage. A piece in the San Francisco Chronicle got many American readers wondering about the safety of China exports of various sorts. And when a 4,000-word essay on environmental pollution appears in the New York Times and the International Herald Tribune, you can be sure that it is not just a matter of idle worry.

But is the issue a danger to the teas of China -- or/and, by extension, to those who drink them? CHA DAO recently asked several internationally-known internet authorities on tea to comment. Their responses follow.

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I. NIGEL MELICAN, Managing Director of TEACRAFT LTD and NOTHING BUT TEA LTD, sent this email:

I hadn't seen the SF Chronicle link before now. Reading it dispassionately, I cannot disagree too much with the underlying message (the elite look after themselves). But some of the examples are so laughable (e.g. eggs injected with dye) as to cast doubt on the whole. Working in China in the 1980s, I was impressed by how much the very successful administration of the country reflected the pattern established in Imperial times. Of course Soviet Russia also emulated in many ways (good and bad) the ways of the Tsars.

What the article did not touch on specifically was tea.

I recognize your concern that the record should be clear and honest about the effect (or lack of effect) of industrial pollution on China tea. However, my short time in China (a month each in 1984 and 1985, in Yunnan and Hainan) chasing an elusive tea development project does not really equip me to write with authority on current agronomic practices in their tea gardens. I am convinced (though without evidence) that the EU regulations on pesticides in imported teas have reduced the occasional excesses found 15 years ago. I chided a Chinese tea supplier with having included a very small mummified frog in a sample of silver needles and their horrified response and abject apology was assurance that 'foreign matter' in tea is taken seriously. In view of the stereotypical American belief that everything Chinese is polluted, one could silently be relieved that small frogs still thrive there sufficiently to hop into the tea dryers.

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II. STEPHANE ERLER, webmaster of the internationally renowned TEA MASTERS blog, writes:

Chinese tea has long been mass-marketed as a healthy, almost miraculous, drink, preventing heart disease, cancer etc ... However, in recent months, China is more and more associated with dangerous products (lead in toys, dangerous chemicals in toothpaste and even poisonous pet food) and with pollution due to its fast rate of industrialization. Now we are seeing some reports that question whether Chinese teas are in fact healthy. The way people now start to associate China with lax enforcement of quality controls is thus a real threat for the Chinese tea industry. This mostly concerns those teas that people drink 'for health benefits.' For the more advanced group of tea lovers who love tea for its taste and flavor, this is less of a problem. Our noses and taste buds have been trained by years of tasting to find good tea. And you can't have a good tea that is polluted or poisoned. High-quality tea doesn't grow in polluted soils. Good teas are not made by sloppy workers, but by careful professionals.

This is why it's so important for tea lovers to learn how to taste and test their tea. In this first step, you yourself are performing quality control. Chemical tests and certifications may be useful tools to get scientific evidence about a producer. But the lack of dangerous chemicals is just one side of the problem. A tea lover is more demanding: he also wants nice flavors and a sweet lingering taste.

The major problem we have with the awakening of China is that millions of Chinese tea lovers can now afford to purchase the best teas. These are not reserved for export or for the party leadership anymore. I recently drank a truly excellent Lapsang Souchong. The seller of that tea claims he's friends with Jiang Zemin (the former boss of the Communist Party). But he will sell to anybody (who understands tea) nowadays, provided you can pay the price. That means that high-quality tea prices are generally going up. From a short-sighted, egoistic point of view, this may seem bad for tea drinkers, but it also means that tea farmers have more and more incentives to make top quality teas for their increasingly affluent clientele.

For a single natural product like tea, our senses are really up to the task to select the best and safest leaves. I wouldn't worry about the quality of Chinese tea, as long as I control what goes into my mouth.

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III. SEBASTIEN LESEINE, co-founder and co-proprietor of JING TEA SHOP, had the following to say (these remarks are a revised and expanded version of notes he originally sent to the Teamail group at

Recently, in many media, including Internet fora, China has come under fire for polluting the environment -- and for its lack of intervention in the matter. There are two reasons for this. Contrary to what many people think, the Chinese news media do talk about pollution, and they do deserve some credit for taking the problem seriously. But the issue is a more personal one for me, as it touches on the topic of Chinese tea. Pollution, if not fought, will have effects on tea (and anything else); but for now tea growing areas are still well preserved and cases of tainted tea are related to wrongdoing in other respeccts -- not to ecological disasters.

Why is China having a hard time fighting pollution? The answer is simple: “It is caught between its response to outsourcing requests from Western nations (and their own industrial expansion), on one hand, and its inability to contain the harmful emissions all this activity generates, on the other.” All of this was very well put in an article recently published in Forbes Magazine.

In that same article ("America's Most Polluted Cities"), the top 10 most polluted cities in China are listed. I have added a few annotations of my own here:

1. Lin Fen, Shan Xi Province (Shan Xi province produces mainly coal and vinegar, but no tea)
2. Yang Quan, Shan Xi Province
3. Da Tong, Shan Xi Province
4. Shi Zui Shan, Ning Xia Hui (famous for Traditional Chinese Medicine [TCM])
5. San Man Xia, He Nan Province (this region is mainly famous for their Shaolin Temple. There was one tea famous from there: Xin Yang Mao Jiang)
6. Jin Cheng, Gan Su Province (famous for their ramen)
7. Shi Jia Zhuang, He Bei Province
8. Xian Yyang, Shan Xi Province
9. Zhu Zhou, Hu Nan Province
10. Luo Yang, He Nan Province

In an article recently published in The Guardian, Urumqui gained the title for most polluted city in the country. Linfen, meanwhile, moved down the list due to measures taken by the government. Some of these were quite drastic, such as shutting down 160 out of their 196 iron foundries (as mentioned in an article published on It wouldn’t be giving enough credit to China to think that their government isn’t taking this environmental issue seriously, knowing that in 2004 alone, pollution has cost them 511.8 billion Yuan (approximately US$65 billion) -- 3.05% of China's total gross domestic product. Moreover, at least 2,000 lawsuits are filed against polluters in China each year.

For the environmental situation in China, absolutely nobody -- least of all the Chinese people -- is trying to deny that China is having ecological problems. Polluters appear on TV; cases of poor villages' crops destroyed by pollution appear on TV; illegal mining accidents appear on TV. And for those who are caught, there will only be few options: a long prison sentence, the death sentence, or suicide. Sentences are not commuted. I am confident that soon we will also see some changes in the law. The first one might very well be the fixed fine for pollution which is set to $US25,000 no matter the gravity of the act.

An article on the China Daily website, which includes the same list of 'worst cities' as the Forbes list cited above, offers a list of the top 5 most environmentally friendly cities in China (see below). From the same article is another list as well, this one of the cities with the most effective pollution control. The key word here is “control,” and it should be enough to restore anyone's hope. Cleaning a nation's environment is possible only by taking the right measures for everybody: the government, the economy, and the people.

Top five most environmentally friendly cities in China:

1. Hai Kou, Hai Nan Province
2. Zhu Hai, Guang Dong Province
3. Zhan Jiang, Guang Dong Province
4. Gui Lin, Guang Xi Zhuang Autonomous Region
5. Bei Hai, Guang Xi Zhuang Autonomous Region

Top five cities with most effective pollution control:

1. Nan Tong, Jiang Su Province
2. Lian Yun Gang, Jiang Su Province
3. Shen Yang, Liao Ning Province
4. Su Zhou, Jiang Su Province
5. Fu Zhou, Fu Jian Province

We should look at China like a big football (soccer) team at the start of a season, with brand-new players. It takes at least 2 years to build up a true good team, so let’s imagine how hard it can be to do this with a country of 1.3 billion people. Although central and local governments do not envision the whole concept of management identically, sometimes they can be on the same page. And when this happens, it truly shows that the Chinese, like any other people, do appreciate green over cement. This is the case with an environmentally friendly vision of "eco-cities" as noted in an article in USA Today. A 1.3 billion Yuan project consists in a city three-quarters the size of Manhattan, and powered by solar energy, wind, bio-fuels and recycled organic materials. The project is so appealing that London Mayor Ken Livingstone, who visited it, wants to build one on his own near the river Thames.

China, which has a lot more to offer to the world than just cheap labor, and which has been under the most severe scrutiny for the last two years now, does deserve to be treated with fairness -- if not by governments, then at least by us. Pollution is a global problem that needs global solutions, which the main actors are not so interested in pursuing, as they will hurt their short-term goals. It may take a long time before real change happens as the majority of us, the victims, spend our time pointing the finger at each other -- while people holding the key to a better life “use statistics as drunken men uses lampposts -- for support rather than illumination” (Andrew Lang).

As a tea seller living in China and exclusively dedicated to Chinese tea, I fear for this most important part of Chinese culture, which at first blush seems set to disappear in the “meanderings” of big consumption and environmental destruction. Is the future of Chinese tea lovers encapsulated in either bottled tea or potentially harmful loose leaves? I do not pretend to know everything about the production of tea in China. But I do see things moving on the environmental issues in China. And, thanks to my master, whose family was one of the first to set up a tea shop in Guang Dong province during the Qing Dynasty, I am well situated to look at the history of tea -- past and present.

For the tea to be sold in Guangzhou's Fang Cun Tea Market (which currently includes over 3,000 shops for tea and tea-related items, and is still building), the tea must be taste-tested. There is a lab for this. In addition, tea buyers can also bring the tea they have bought there to be tested. This is offered as a public service.

On the private side, vendors (if they know where to go) can buy tea from "tea sellers" who buy from tea makers that will have the tea tasted by foreign companies. You can even choose your standards: USA, Japan, Germany. One of our suppliers at Jing Tea Shop is a tea company that meets the standards of both Germany and the USA.

As mentioned above, tea-growing areas in China are still very much in good shape. In these growing areas there are a few families that have been farmers/makers/sellers for decades, indeed for generations. These are the people that you can only approach if you know someone -- and it is always best to know someone when navigating a market of thousands of potential suppliers, and knowing that the best productions are reserved (often a year in advance) for good clients/friends. If you can make the connection and get in touch with these people, go to their location, and see with what love they do their job, then you will know that they are serious about the environment.

It is ironic that I now find myself defending China the same way I defended the USA when I was in Europe.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

READER'S CORNER: Corax on Ken Hom's A Taste of China

Ken Hom. A Taste of China: The Definitive Guide to Regional Cooking. London: Pavilion Books 1996. Second edition 2005. 239 pages. ISBN: 1-86205-707-9. Paperbound, $16.95.

There are plenty of great cooks who do not excel at writing about the food they cook. No doubt there are also many gifted food writers who are not so good at presenting or explaining actual recipes (the great Elizabeth David comes to mind). The rarity with which these two distinct skills coincide makes the event all the more welcome. The select group of those gifted in both areas includes such luminaries as James Beard, Madhur Jaffrey, Robert Farrar Capon, Deborah Madison, and of course Julia Child. And, I maintain, Ken Hom, the author of A Taste of China.

Hom is regarded as one of the world's leading authorities on Chinese cuisine. The fact that he is Chinese/American, born in Tucson and raised in Chicago, positioned him ideally for this, in terms of ready access both to his Chinese heritage and to western broadcast and print media: he was able, on the one hand, to absorb the lessons of Chinese culture, particularly cuisine -- in the conscious and poignant way that those from immigrant families sometimes do -- and, on the other, to turn his knowledge and experience into a product, making optimal use of the luxuries of the late-twentieth-century western economy in disseminating the Ken Hom brand to a very wide and receptive audience. This he accomplished via five television series, the first of which was the BBC's Ken Hom's Chinese Cookery; a cookbook, published along with that first series, and followed by numerous others; a line of Ken Hom cooking ingredients such as sauces, noodles, and such; the development of a wildly popular flat-bottomed wok, more easily adaptable to western kitchens; and even a chain of restaurants.

A Taste of China is, in part, the record of a sentimental journey -- a return to the ancestral home in Kaiping, a county-level city in Guangdong province. Hom made this journey with his mother, laying the groundwork for subsequent trips back to China and elsewhere in Asia (he has since moved to Thailand). The text of the first edition seems to have been largely complete by 1990; it is not clear to what extent the second (2005) edition has been revised.

Hom's Cantonese background seems to account for the place of honor occupied in this book by that particular cuisine -- the only one to have an entire chapter devoted to it. Indeed he says so explicitly:
There is a well-known Chinese saying: 'To be born in Suzhou (famous for its beauty and beautiful women), to eat in Guangzhou (where the food is by general repute the best in China), to be attired in Hangzhou (home of the best silks and fabrics), and to die in Luzou (where the best wood for one's coffin is to be found), these are the great wishes of one's life.' I was born in the United States of Cantonese parents, nourished by my mother's delicious Cantonese food, and I grew up with the conviction that Cantonese cooking is the best in the world. Certainly, although I enjoy all of the many regional variations of Chinese food, the offerings of Guanzhou (Canton), the capital city of the thriving, teeming province of Guangdong, remain my favorite.' [p. 99]
He goes on, in this passage, to argue extensively for the supremacy of Cantonese cuisine. Nonetheless, A Taste of China does offer a number of glimpses into other Chinese cuisines -- notably, that of Sichuan (with a valuably explicit description, on page 150, of how one Sichuan cook creates 麻辣 [ma la, lit. 'numb/spicy'], the signature Sichuan paste of chilli peppers, garlic, and 花椒 [hua jiao, lit. 'flower pepper']) -- the irreplaceable Sichuan peppercorn, with its sharp, mouth-numbing essence). Readers of this blog who favor the teas of Yunnan may be interested to know that Hom also includes a fair amount of information on the cuisine of that province. Those whose experience of Yunnan food is limited to the offerings of P. F. Chang's (or less) will find a veritable mini-course in Yunnan cuisine here, with recipes and other information on pp. 70, 71, 73, 77, 79, 81, 96, 136, 142-6, 151, 170, 171, 173, 180, and 230.

The book begins with a 'personal odyssey,' briefly sketching out how and why Hom came to write this particular work, and then (cleverly) moves to a quick volley of recipes, the better to whet the reader's appetite for the rest of the book. Then he offers a catalogue raisonné of the ingredients (pp. 29-58) and utensils (58-63) that he deems most essential to Chinese cooking. Many books on Chinese cuisine include such lists, but this one is particularly helpful and clear.

Despite the subtitle of the paperback second edition -- 'The Definitive Guide to Regional Cooking' -- this book is not that, and it would be unrealistic to expect any book of a mere 239 pages to achieve such a herculean task. (In fairness to Hom, who may not have added that subtitle himself, he does say, 'This is not the definitive book of the foods of China; no such volume can be written' [7].) There is nothing here of Hakka or Hong Kong cuisine, for example, and certainly no mention of the specialties of Taiwan. But one of the interesting tidbits that Hom includes is a reference to what does stand fair to become the definitive guide to regional Chinese cooking:
... the [Chinese] government has sponsored a massive publication project, a nine-volume series, Authentic Chinese Cuisine. Lavishly illustrated and drawing on expert scholarship and the knowledge of China's best chefs, the series represents a lasting testament to one of the world's great cuisines. The government has finally recognized that in resource-poor China, one of its greatest treasures is its cuisine. [page 169]
(Americans with no Chinese reading skills can only hope that some hardy translation team will render that series into English sometime soon.)

Within the fairly restricted compass of its page-limitations, Hom's book does offer an endlessly interesting piece of culinary anthropology, furnished with plenty of recipes. (The book's table of contents is reproduced at the end of this review.) Relatively little is said about China teas, though there is a very interesting snapshot of tea-house culture, including the dim sum experience (pp. 189-192). This would not be evident from a consultation of the book's rather desultory index, which is one of its weakest features; as often in such cases, I took to annotating the index myself (and can now tell you that other references to tea occur on pages 68, 87, 124, 141, 146, and 187). There is, I think, only one recipe that actually uses tea: Prawns in Dragon Well Tea (p. 178). Though they will not find it in the index, antiquarians will likely share my excitement to read that
Today, Mr Xu Hairong, general secretary of the Chinese Cuisine of the Southern Song Dynasty Society, is trying to revive and preserve this aspect of Imperial legacy. In his Bagua Lou restaurant in Hangzhou, he offers many dishes of that era that he has re-created from ancient texts. Those who dine there get a glimpse of the glory of the Southern Song [page 89]
-- and to read re-creations of the recipes for several Song-era dishes: dofu chai (Cabbage with Bean Curd, p. 91); zha li rou (Fried Stewed Country Spareribs, p. 92); leng yacai (Bean Sprout Salad, p. 94); and leng dong gua (Winter Melon Salad, p. 95).

The book is full of interesting snapshots of Chinese culture, such as Hom's description of a traditional Sichuan kitchen (148-149). (This sort of ethnography may, ironically, date more quickly than his pages on Song or Qing Imperial China, as the effects of what we may term 'the real Cultural Revolution' -- the assimilation of western mores and consumerism into Chinese civilization -- make themselves more pervasively felt in the People's Republic.) Hom pays attention to the connection between food and festivals (such as Qing Ming, the New Year, the Autumn Moon Festival, and the Dragon Boats Festival), and the importance of offering food to the dead (p. 119). He reminds us (p. 118) that foods may be used as rebus puns (雞 'chicken' and 機 'chance/luck' are both pronounced ji1 in Mandarin). And he remains aware of the nuances that distinguish home cooking from restaurant fare, the urban from the rural, and the everyday from the festal.

In sum, readers who wish to situate their knowledge of tea against the backdrop of the larger alimentational culture of China would do well to read (and re-read) A Taste of China -- and perhaps to keep it on the shelf along with Hom's detailed earlier work, Chinese Technique: An Illustrated Guide to the Fundamental Techniques of Chinese Cooking (Simon & Schuster 1981).

Table of Contents
A Personal Odyssey
The Tastes and Flavours of China
Influences from Within and Without
The Imperial Legacy
The Glorious Cuisine of Guangzhou (Canton)
Family Traditions
City and Country Lore
Restaurant Cooking
Snacks and Street Foods
Food for the Body and Soul: The Medicinal and the Vegetarian

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Innovative Uses for Your Tea-Cup

1. A Tea-Powered Stirling Engine?

Finally ... a practical use for that steaming cup of cha gao you didn't really feel like drinking! See the article posted here [charming translated, moreover, from the German]. Be sure to scroll down far enough to see the cunning animated gif.

2. Tiny Rescued Ducklings

A pair of terrified ducklings, washed out to sea off the Devonshire coast, were rescued and taken to a farm for resuscitation. Could they be any cuter? Online details here.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Anodyne in the Company of Greens, Part 2 (or, When is Tea Like a Sunset?)

I've been living here and there and now and then with a few different green teas such as these early spring 2007 Long Jing teas from Jing Tea Shop.

Ping Yang Zao Long Jing
Long Jing #43
Shi Feng Long Jing
Wu Niu Zao Long Jing (packet is labeled "zhao" though the website says "zao")

The Ping Yang Zao Long Jing has a deeper and more dominant roasty note with underlying sweetness and is a touch more nutty in the cup. It has less vegetal-citrusy twist compared to the others.

Long Jing #43
is surprisingly and pleasantly vegetal with a citrusy twist. It has a softer aroma than the others but a very vegetal greenbean presence in the cup...much more there than in the other Long Jing teas.

Shi Feng Long Jing is silkier in body with a very soft but pervasive aroma.

And the Wu Niu Zao Long Jing has that green vegetal against a very nice citrusy note. It has shifted a bit as I made it today and has a more savory character with a pleasant green edge. While some of these teas do have the nutty aroma, none of them have that heavy nutty-toastiness in the cup. They are going in very different directions.

Sampling continues as perspectives shapeshift: Today I am back to drinking the Wu Niu Zao against the Ping Yang Zao Long Jing. Tasting them both side-by-side, I really notice again the more roasty-toasty character of the Ping Yang Zao as I compare the two. It comes across more in the aroma than the taste. The Wu Niu isn't as roasty-toasty in scent and has a softer silkier sweetness to the aroma with that lovely greenbean vegetal that comes into the finish of the tea. Something about the Wu Niu gives it a crisper finish than the softer edge of the Ping Yang Zao as I brewed them today.

When I first drank the teas, the Wu Niu Zao and the Ping Yang Zao were the two that separated out for me on opposite ends of the spectrum even though I couldn't exactly articulate why. The Wu Niu Zao is visually like the morning's unfiltered sunlight in that bright and crisp clarity to the cup. The Ping Yang Zao tastes/feels more like the filtered late afternoon sunlight through gauzy curtains.

They just do have a different presence based on that clarity and crispness versus the softer toastier edge.

And later: Today, the Shi Feng and #43 Long Jing are cup companions. Of all of these teas, the #43 seems to bring forward the sharpest notes--a teetering balance of the greenbean vegetal against a brisk edge. The contrast is a pleasing one to me. It is not as softly rounded in the cup as the toastier Ping Yang Zao. The Shi Feng has a comparatively more subtle presence.

Shi Feng, in terms of light, is like a silvery muted Lake sunset without the blazing colors or glare. I keep seeing these teas in terms of light and sunsets particularly, since we experienced so many different kinds of sunsets recently during a stay on the Lake. Some sunsets were blazing and aggressive and splendid. You could hardly watch them. Rather than put you to sleep, they were stimulating. Other sunsets were muted through mist and developed a silvery-golden color palate that was gentler on the eyes. Soporific. These two teas visually bring to mind those different kinds of sunsets.

For me, the Shi Feng and the Ping Yang Zao have been the softer experiences of light. Soporific. Contemplative. Meditative.The #43 and the Wu Niu Zao were the blazing sunsets. Wake-up call. Refreshing. Thirst-quenching. I actually feel more compelled to drink these latter two in a thirstier frame of mind, while the first two teas I am sipping more slowly.

It is an on-going and rather meandering musing here as I live in stolen moments with the teas and try different ones side-by-side as the teas themselves shape-shift a bit, brewing to brewing.

The other greens I have been keep company with are from TeaSpring:

Jun Shan Qing Zhen (Mount Jun Green Needle) is from Jun Shan, Hunan Province. It has a savory-smoky note to the dry spear-shaped leaf ("silver unopened buds" according to TeaSpring) with a pleasant deep vegetal--a green tea that has a bass and very full presence. The suggestion of the dry leaf is what carries into the cup, too. This is a very savory green. It is one of the green teas I think of as rich and nourishing with almost a soup-like character. The website notes that it is "the sister of Jun Shan Yin Zhen (a rare Yellow tea and one of China's Famous Ten)." Both are similar in appearance and the website notes that some vendors will sell this tea as the more expensive one. The smoky note comes thru from start to finish, apparent in the dry leaf and leaving a kind of spicy-smoky (but pleasant) note in the aftertaste. It's a clean smoky note, not ash-tray-like at all. There's a vegetal slightly sweet presence and a hint of a nip, which is a good contrast against the richer flavors. Harvest period, according to the website, is Spring '06 (Ming Qian Cha)--and if that's the case, the small sample packet (gratis with my order) was extremely fresh smelling and tasting. This definitely isn't one of the ethereal or delicate greens. It is packing quite a full range of flavor and aroma.

Lu Shan Yun Wu
is a green tea "harvested from the peak of Mount Lu," Lu Shan, Jiang Xi Province. I gather from the website that there are different styles of this tea, and that TeaSpring has the Yin Zhen style. The dry leaf is made up of tiny buds that have a very piercing almost green-grassy-herbal scent in the packet. It's also known as "Lu Shan Yun Zhen, Mount Lu Cloud and Mist (Silver Needle Style)" according to the website. This is listed as a spring '06 harvest, not a current one. Unlike the China greens I think of as savory or nourishing, this tea has a richness that goes in a different direction. Cleansing is the word comes to mind. As it cools slightly, the liquor develops a very sweet and slightly nutty note in aroma that carries into the finish and aftertaste. There's a piercing edge to this tea against an aftertaste that seems to carry an almost fruity quality. A not-quite-ripe-green fruity-ness. It is not nearly as vegetal as some China greens and has only a hint of something savory in the aroma. The aftertaste really does linger. I have to wonder what this tea would be like from a '07 harvest since this is listed as an '06. When one gains "points" for ordering from this vendor, you are given a selection of ways to redeem them--this was one of the choices and why I ended up choosing this particular tea.

My only other notes on this tea go way back to 1997 when it appears when I had a sample from Upton Tea Imports. From old notes: When the leaves are first wet, they develop a very fresh pungent aroma that reminds me of certain crushed herbs I can't pinpoint. This aroma softens while the tea steeps and becomes mellower while still retaining that fresh green scent. After the leaves are removed, the liquor has hints of soft floral aroma and sweetness. The first sip rather surprised me--the taste in proportion to the aroma seemed much less intense. Yet as you sip the tea, you realize that while it initially has just a clean taste, the mellow flavors that echo the aroma sort of sit in your mouth as an aftertaste. Nice.

Back to this TeaSpring 2006 harvest: what seems a point of continuity between the two tastings of this tea, years apart, is that unique herbal-green note that I can't really describe.

Holly L. Hatfield-Busk