12 August 2008
Pi Lo Chun, You Had Me at Ni Hao
Remember that lonely little package of Pi Lo Chun that has been languishing in my refrigerator since last month's tea spree? I didn't either, until this morning.
This green tea, also referred to as Green Snail due to the characteristic swirl and small tail of the leaves, is a specialty of the Jiangsu province, on the east coast of China.
When brewed, however, these snails are suddenly 16 years old and headed off to their first high-school dance: The tiny spirals unfurl coyly, giving off a soft, sweet aroma that is matched by the tea's pale golden color.
But the taste is a surprise: once the dance gets going, you realize these teenagers aren't as innocent as they appeared when Mom and Dad cooed over them before they left the house. This tea is bold, assertive, and somehow already knows all the right moves on the floor.
My first cup was a bit too astringent- a quality that this tea is praised for- but on a shorter second brew and slightly cooler water (about 2 minutes at 180 degrees), the edge was blunted and that classic, earthy, strong Chinese-green flavor came through.
Pi Lo Chun isn't the type of green tea I usually go for, but it was a perfect choice to wake me up on this first fall-feeling morning and savor, warm, over two postcards. When's the last time that happened?