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?


Tartelette said...

I had the same first impressions the first time I tried it, and like you I came to like it one morning that we were out of coffee. Lovely shots!

Patrick Price said...

yep, Bi/Pi lo chun always seems to benefit from cooler water, a mistake that i'm still learning after years of drinking it. i moved it with my white teas so i don't forget.
this blog is way outta hand. every time i check it there's like 6060694694949 more posts with pictures and everything. its like homework now. i am new to this "there's actually a blog i enjoy and want to read regularly" thing. i also like how i am basically writing a public email.
re: Cooking with Tea-- i haven't made any of the desserts. only 3 entrees. off the top of my head, one was a "salsa" of sorts and one was just a rub. fish dishes i think. end email.

ana dane said...

if this thing reads like homework, then i'm doing my job. it's all about "have to," not "want to" here.

i'm still a little mixed on the pi lo chun. but that might just be chinese vs. japanese greens in general- there's something so richly green tasting about the japanese ones that i really love.

Penelope said...

I like the tea leaves like teenagers. do these teenagers also sneak out to go to the rocky horror picture show?

Bonbon Oiseau said...

bold assertive and green? i'll take it. nice photos!

ana dane said...

they might sneak out, but then back in through an open garage door. you never know.

Jude said...

Love the post headline. This tea sounds like something that I'll really like.

Tea Escapade said...

Funny! today was was the first time I tried pi lo chun. Honestly, I did not like it - to bitter. BUT... this post is the second blog post I've seen today (without searching for it) that talked about pi lo chun and how GOOD it is. Thus, I am determined to try again. This time brewing less than the recommended brewing time.

Wish me luck!