Today I continue my exploration on mug brewing, and use my lovely glass mug to brew this tea. I will post some mug brewing photos on my blog in several days.
This tea is one of my favorite varietal, partially because of its unique flavor, partially because it took me a long time to find it. It used to be a very popular tea in its producing region, as well as in southeastern Asia. But in recent years, it’s not commonly seen, when most efforts are put in cultivating and selling Tie Guan Yin, the “popular” varietal.
Overall, I do believe Tie Guan Yin has more prominent characteristics and can usually yield more infusions with rich flavor. But this tea is unique. It has very pleasant aroma and flavor of green fruits, a little bit of citrus taste, actually quite comparable to the aroma of bergamot (Fo Shou, or Buddha Hands).
This is the first time I’ve used a mug to brew this tea. I counted 15 grains of dry tea to put in the mug, and pour in newly boiled water. The green fruit fragrance comes out immediately. It is very pleasant, but also makes me somewhat worry what if all the fragrance escapes before I drink the tea. What’s great about gong fu brewing is, the teapot or gaiwan retain the fragrance to the maximum degree and doesn’t allow it to escape. In the glass mug, it takes the leaves around 2 minutes to expand and sink to the bottom. The first a few sips taste rather light. The flavor is not as strong as the fragrance suspending in the air. After a short while, when less water is left in the mug and the tea leaves further expand, flavor gets richer, with hints of green fruit and some metallic cool. The aftertaste is slightly grassy. The second and third infusions taste stronger than the first one. Sweet aftertaste appears from the second infusion and lasts till the end.
Overall, I think in mug infusion, the characteristic aroma of this tea is only weakly expressed, while in gong fu brewing, it can be better experienced. In mug brewing, the flavor is still very pleasant, and the tea tastes very close to green tea, but with more interesting fruity notes than what most green teas have. I guess this tea will be favored by some green tea lovers. I personally will choose gong fu brewing to get the most aroma from this tea. My usual dose in gong fu brewing is 5 grams tea in 2oz. gaiwan. In mug brewing, it will be only about 1-2 grams tea in 9oz. mug. The tea is more diluted in mug brewing. If someone likes green tea but doesn’t like prominent floral fragrance in tea, then mug brewing may be a better choice. And of course, mug brewing is always convenient and easy.
I have charcoal roast version of this tea too, and have a feeling that mug brewing may works better for charcoal roast oolong. Will try it next time!