Saturday, January 31, 2009
Tea Tasting Saturday #5 - Pan Long Ying Hao (Dragon Silver Hair)
Last week, Janeen asked how I measure the temperature of these teas we're tasting, so today I thought I'd include a word about my tea thermometer. I believe I bought this from Upton Tea years ago, but I've seen these offered from many tea vendors. I've learned that if I let my clear glass stovetop tea kettle come to the boil and just start to whistle, that gives me water that's about 180 degrees according to the little thermometer popped briefly in the glass teapot I use for steeping teas. I'll have to let the water boil longer when I begin to taste the teas requiring a higher temperature, but for now I've gotten the hang of getting water to the 170-180 degree range. I love my little tea thermometer, and for just a few dollars investment, it's a useful addition to a collection of tea accoutrements.
Name of tea: Pan Long Ying Hao
Category: Green Tea
Purveyor: Upton Tea
When purchased: January 2009
Dry leaf appearance: Tightly furled little leaves, almost circular. Look almost shriveled up, like they were made of wool and thrown in the washer and dryer by mistake.
Wet leaf appearance: Surprisingly, these leaves unfurled and opened fully. The dry leaf appearance made me think these wouldn't expand as much. Wrong!
Steeping temperature and time: 1+ teaspoons of tea, 180 degrees, 3 minutes
Scent: Finally, a distinctive aroma I *know* I recognized: steamed asparagus! And there was also a hint of something that made me think of some sauce in a Chinese restaurant, but I can't figure out quite what that is yet.
Color: Pale golden yellow
Flavor: Shouldn't have steeped this for the full three minutes, as the first cup had that bitter green tea taste I so dislike. But then I re-steeped the leaves for just two minutes and LOVED it. A very strong but non-bitter taste. I like this a lot, and will make it again steeped for just two minutes.
Additional notes: I'm learning that when a range of steeping times is offered, my palate seems to prefer the shorter one.
Next week's tea: Jin Shan