Mariage Frères are characteristically coy with their descriptions. Their website claims Hunan, but my sources tell me this is similar to Anhui’s Huo Shan Huang Ya (Yellow Sprouts). Whatever the origin, this is a difficult tea to make, or at least I found it to be so. Strictly 75 degrees Celsius, and keep the cup/teapot open so that the water is cooling down as the tea is steeping. And it’s properly steeped after about a minute. Keep it steeping for a longer time and it loses most of its aroma and taste, and becomes an average green tea. I think I only got this two times out of ten.

But the results, oh the results! Impossibly beautiful flavor and aroma, gentle and full-bodied at the same time, layer upon layer of different kinds of sweet and floral taste and smell. And if you keep the wet leaves after steeping, they give off a yet another kind of sweetness. Breathtaking, really. Just very demanding to make.

170 °F / 76 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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I work in a tea shop. The shop in question mostly sells Mariage Freres teas, so I drink a lot of those.

Chinese black teas are currently my favorite teas, especially Dianhongs, Keemuns, and occasionally Lapsang Souchong. I also love Thai black teas when I can get my hands on them. Of herbal teas, I only drink rooibos and have a strong dislike towards anything that has too much camomile, lavender, etc.

At this point, I’m trying to get a working knowledge of Chinese green teas and Chinese and Thai oolongs.


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