Experience buying from DeRen Tea http://steepster.com/places/2836-deren-tea-online-portola-california?visit=1354
Age of leaf: Advertised as spring 2011. Received samples late September. Brewed up a couple of days after I received it in the mail.
Packaging: Samples: silver translucent bags with simple label.
Dry leaf: Looks as shown on website and like one other Bi Lo Chun I have tried. Smelled fresh, woodsy, and somewhat sweet.
Brewing guidelines: Loose in glass Bodum, Stevia added. Two and a half teaspoons of dry tea = two and a half eight-ounce cups of water (I brewed this up a little longer than I would for a standard green tea):
………1st: 165 (I was shooting for 170), 2’
………2nd: 170, 2’
………3rd: 175, 2’
………4th: 180, 2.5’
Aroma: Pleasant: standard fresh green tea smell.
Color of liquor: Very light yellow-green.
Wet leaf: Not uniform in color—-ranging from pale yellow to dark green—-but looked fresh and smelled sweet and slightly roasted.
Flavor: light, sweet, and very pleasant, with a slightly roasted note.
Value: Sample was provided by DeRen Tea (Thank you Aaron!). Tea on their website is competitively priced for fresh, standard Bi Lo Chun.
Overall: I was pleased with the flavor of this tea (it reminded me of a H&S version I had weeks before). To me Bi Lo Chun seems to exemplify freshness (somewhat similar to the taste of Anji Bancha, but not as strong). It held flavor through to the forth steeping, with a slight astringency coming through (most of the leaves were on the bottom beginning with the first steeping). With the right price, this is a tea I would seriously consider buying and having around.