Sample provided by TeaVivre, thank you!
I haven’t tried Mao Jian before and I was a taken aback by brewing instructions (90C water) and 36-month shelf life which is like a double for random green tea.
Dry leaves have a dark olive tone and are long and twisted with some white tips and mild toasted aroma. I quite experimented with this one (still have to try cold brew method though) and I find it to be sensitive to both steeping time and temperature.
TeaVivre’s brewing instruction for this tea:
" Just like all green teas, brew Taimu Maojian at approximately 194 ºF or 90ºC for 1 to 2 minutes. TeaVivre’s Maojian can be infused 6 or 7 times, and you should add about 25% to the brewing time and using slightly hotter water for each infusion."
When I first brewed it (followed the instructions) I used minimum 60 seconds for first steep and added 15 seconds to second steep. What I got was delicious first infusion with clear jade tone and similar profile as Bi Luo Chun: fresh, slightly vegetal with sturdy chestnut background and some pleasant astringency that quickly fades and turns into sweet finish.
Second infusion seem to keep all the previous characteristics with a big scoop of bitterness. It wasn’t the one that would wrinkle your face but still it makes one focus more on bitterness itself than on savoring nuttiness and sweetness that are included.
I kept on brewing it with 15 second increase per steep, and third infusion brought less bitterness than previous with accent on sweetness and nutty aftertaste. There was a significant drop of astringency as well. I also got some kind of tickling sensation on tongue.
Forth steep (105 seconds) is where I pulled the plug. Taste started wearing out to the point that I might not want to drink 5th infusion. It still retained some sweet and vegetal notes with fair nutty background. Tickling sensation on tongue is more notable than in 3rd infusion.
I think I got seldom results for my first try.
On second try I managed to make it right! First two 60 second steeps (and 90C water for all) brought out an even profile of first infusion in my previous attempt. I also noted some starchy dryness this time. As I moved toward third infusion I noticed how that nutty background reminds me of dry leaf of particular Long Jing I had recently. Sweetness lingers and lasts long after sipping. This tea reminds me somewhat of Bi Luo Chun, that I don’t particularly enjoy due to its astringency, but astringency of this Mao Jian fits perfectly to my taste.
Wet leaves have accented nutty profile and I could toss them in salad or something (it’s organic after all).
I noticed that there’s only 200g left of this tea in TeaVivre’s stock. I immediately snatched 100g … only one more bag left…