As spring just starts to break tea trees are busy producing their finest quality buds. The cold, foggy weather makes the buds grow very slowly giving them time to fill with the highest concentration of flavor and nutrient molecules of the year.
Those buds alone make it into our favorite green tea—Guizhou mao jian. Mao jian translates to furry tip as each bud has tiny soft white fur on it. Skillful hand processing retains this nutrient rich fur/down which adds an interesting turbidity to the brewed tea. Do you want even more good news? This tea comes from wild green tea trees that are between 90-100 years old, which is extraordinarily rare for green tea. Trees that old produce far more interesting flavor, fragrance and antioxidant molecules than young, cultivated trees could ever imagine. Make sure to use 175F/80C water--never use boiling water--for brewing and you will get a superior green tea carrying the fragrance of roasted chestnuts, pine needles and a wisp of cinnamon. The flavor is of roasted chestnuts and a shadow of cinnamon without delivering any bitterness or astringency.
Guizhou Province is the birthplace of this tea and home to our favorite food in the entire world--endless variety, creativity and great balance of complex flavors. Their main tea region is situated on a high plateau with excellent growing conditions. The cool temperatures, fog and vast amounts of completely undeveloped areas work together allowing skilled hands to make some of the finest teas in China. A place this great you can understand why three of us have homes there.
Storage: Store unused portions sealed in an airtight bag away from light in the freezer at 5F/-15C or below.
Brewing water: Poland Spring (called Origin Brand in some areas) brand mineral water is the first choice for making this tea. Soft water, distilled water and hard water will ruin this tea. Tap water varies wildly and is best avoided as well. If you don't have Poland Spring (called Origin Brand in some areas) brand mineral water available please see good substitutions on our water page.
Brewing temperature: 175F/80C. Don’t use boiling water.
Brewing method: 3g tea leaves (~1 heaping Tablespoon), 250ml (~1 cup) water each time in a clear glass for about 1 minute. Adjust steeping time to suit your individual taste.
Notes: This tea can also be brewed in a Chinese gaiwan or a small pot with quick infusions for sharing with high quality results.