First of all, I wanted to take this opportunity to thank the great people at Teagini for making this happen. They have given me the opportunity to try so many different teas over the past few days. You should really check out some of their stuff when you get a chance. Many of the teas are quite rare, and difficult to find elsewhere.
This tea comes to us from Qian Dao, literally translated as 1,000 islands because of the 1,000 mountains that encircle the land. This area is known for its beautiful scenery and for Qiandao lake, which is one of the best places for planting tea. The tea here is organic, pollution free and it is very mild. The weather here stays warm in the winter and cool in the summer, which makes it a great environment to grow some awesome tea.
Qian Dao Yu Ye Tea is translated as Jade Leaf tea because the leaves are as green and as precious as Jade. Unlike other green teas of this region, the Qian Dao Yu Ye tea is a very long lasting flavor and an orchid like aroma. I had already tasted the Grade “D” version of this tea, and I was excited to see how the flavor would develop as I moved up.
The leaves of this one were large, flat and unbroken. I knew it was going to be an amazing tea. I started to notice an enticing floral aroma coming off of the tea as it was steeping. I also noticed that this time, the water began to turn slightly darker than the last tea. The Grade “D” that I tried just the other day was almost clear, and this one is starting to take on a pale yellowish color like a ginger ale or a white wine.
As soon as I took my first sip of this tea, I was immediately overtaken by the wonderful astringency. I expected to have to search around for some of the more hidden notes, but this one really took me by surprise. I am really glad I started with the grade “D” because it will only continue to get better from here. This tea has much more of a kick to it than the last one, which I really love. It also has all of the elements about the last one that I liked. It has a sweet taste to it (although not as sweet as the last one) and it has some notes of fruit and orchid flowers.
The astringency hits you beneath your tongue, which is a little unique. Although this astringency is quite noticeable, I would not call it “strong” because that would imply that it was unpleasant. There is no bitterness to the tea, and not much of a lingering aftertaste. The last flavor you taste is probably the faint fruitiness in the back of your mouth. This is a very pleasant tea, with a high complexity of flavors.
I steeped the tea a second time at a slightly higher temperature, and I am starting to notice a slightly different color. This time the liquor appears to take on a more peachy color.
The tea has lost a little bit of its kick in the second steeping. The astringency is still there, although it does take a back seat to the floral notes which emerge in the middle of the tongue towards the end of the sip.
I really like this tea, and I am so glad that I decided to start at grade “D” and work my way up. This tea is a noticeable improvement from the grade “D” I tried yesterday, but even that one was an amazing tea in its own right. I would say the only advantage that the last tea had is that it is sweeter. The grade “C” tea has a stronger flavor, a more complex flavor profile and it has more astringency. It also has more flavor in the second steeping.