Anji Baicha

Tea type
Green Tea
Green Tea
Butternut Squash, Cucumber
Sold in
Loose Leaf
Not available
Edit tea info Last updated by Kelly
Average preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 45 sec 8 oz / 236 ml

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From Harney & Sons

Another fabulous tea from northern Zhejiang Province. This is a green tea loaded with asparagus and citrus flavors. “Baicha” refers to the special culivar (tea plant) used to make this tea. The first few leaves are lighter (or whiter) than normal. There is less green chlorophyll in the immature leaves.

About Harney & Sons View company

Since 1983 Harney & Sons has been the source for fine teas. We travel the globe to find the best teas and accept only the exceptional. We put our years of experience to work to bring you the best Single-Estate teas, and blends beyond compare.

5 Tasting Notes

390 tasting notes

first off, i won’t rate this one numerically… i don’t feel i’ve had sufficient experience with straight green teas to give a number.

i really like other languages— i’m fluent in french and learned latin for long enough that spanish and italian… and german…. and old and middle english are understandable and moderately speakable. however, one of my frustrations with other other languages comes into play with teas. i love puerh, but the word itself means nothing to me— there is no sexiness. if i were not the curious type i never would have tried a puerh! variations on a theme here: anji? baicha? okay, asian in origin… cantonese? mandarin? japanese? cambodian? well, maybe not cambodian because to my ears that language had distant ties to french. as always i digress….

anji baicha means nothing to me. there is no suggestion of alice in wonderland with it with a high squeaky subliminal ‘drink me!!!’. when my harney and son’s order arrived and idiscovered there were some things i had expected to like that i didn’t and vice versa and as a result left this one for last: my score at that point with my 8 samples was about 60/40 and (as i previously mentioned) the name wasn’t terribly inspiring.

i like sleep. i haven’t had an abundance of it lately. i love tea. i need both, how can they coexist. hmm. i concluded that black tea was a no no. same for puerh. absolutely no oolong and i’m out of white…. that left me with an anji baicha which i could only hope was none of the tea types i’d ruled out.

indeed it is a green tea (for anyone not speaking anji baicha). and while i don’t have much experience with green teas i will say it is one of the best!

the dry leaf reminds me very much of pine tree snippets… the sad leavings of christmas tree. light green. after hot water the needles unfurl and become basil like! the smell is light and sweet, i swear i smell a bit of lemon basil in there very mildly. there is a fruit LIKE essence that is undefinable— muscat grape would be the closest, but again it’s fleeting.

at this point i would like to strut just a little bit (we’re all allowed from time to time. i am drinking this without sugar. or honey, or sweetener of any kind (yay cold turkey!)… and again i don’t miss the sugar with this tea!

the last point in this teas favour is that there is no pungency. i don’t know if that that’s a common thing with greens, or whether it’s been bad luck on my part, but aside from this one and a verdant’s spring green every green i’ve tried has had an stale genmaicha like flavour while not being a genmaicha.

this is a lovely tea. i would highly recommend it. and i may buy it again, or at least try more greens in future. i’m narrowing down what i like with green tea!

oh, and i oversteeped to boot! lol.

190 °F / 87 °C 3 min, 30 sec

I also have that same problem with tea names sometimes… I like to know the meaning, but a lot of the tea names are just a jumble of syllables. I admit I am attracted to buying tea with catchy or understandable names. Part of the reason I like Verdant is that they make their tea understandable by giving it a region or attaching it to a person’s name Laoshan black or Mrs Lin’s dragonwell gives the tea some context. I’ve been trying to take more risks with trying teas with names that seem foreign and incomprehensible


you can start to slowly, painfully eke out meaning syllable by syllable in the way one starts to grasp any language with enough context. i mean, nothing comprehensive obviously, but it’s only been a few months since i started trying chinese teas really and it didn’t take too long to at least catch on about stuff like shan referring to mountains/high altitude, -cha referring to tea, i don’t even remember some of the others now…but yeah. i do totally understand this frustration though. one cool thing about chinese is the way it is in fact like building blocks-i never became even fully reading fluent but for a while i was studying chinese classics and it’s amazing how fast you can pick up on some things because of the building block nature of the grammar. but i digress, sorry.

and i don’t know, in terms of magic and evocation, i would say china is pretty awesome at that (but only once you hear the stories which as a westerner isn’t as obvious, granted). i mean, stories of fire goddesses and gifts of tea bushes and robes and the oldest tea shrub in the world and the woman who stored tea between her breasts and it emitted a unique startling fragrance as she walked home, stuff like that. and the pretty descriptions—twisted snails, gunpowder pellets, blah blah blah…sorry, i may be off my rocker. (:


oops formatting. i would delete that and edit it but i’ve been having a bear of a time trying to even post and delete settings aren’t showing on the dashboard, which is the only place that works for comments on steepster for me. sorry.


ifjuly… that is so cool! i was in chinese school in china town here on the island when i was 7… and although i enjoyed the language i didn’t absorb it the way i otherwise may have because i was being harassed pretty fiercely about being there (ie: hardcore bullied).

i loved learning the calligraphy but retained only a handful of words.i did not know it was that predictable in terms of reading. i actually (arguably) know more about the nuance of the spoken language.

i would be more okay if the tea names were in latin or ancient epyptian. the history, the stories, the myths… when i was a kid and people asked me what i wanted to be when i grew up my answer was very specific: an egyptologist! … …. and then i went to school for english and liguistics and now i’m going back for occupational psychology, but i can tell you bunches about egypt and be amazed by your knowledge of china!

Fuzzy_Peachkin: i am especially succeptible these days to teas with the suggestion of baked goods, lol. cinnamon swirl bread, brioche, the presence of almonds…. which is why i am even more amazed by this tea! there is really no suggestion of donuts or western confections! lol.


Oh, I hate to hear that about the bullying, yuck. Sorry you went through that.

Ooooh Egypt. My mom used to teach students about Egypt; I’d love to pick your brain about it. Now I’m imagining swapping stories about ancient cultures over tea. It’s a pretty great picture, thanks for it!


oh, no worries…. long ago, far away, and i was the outsider. it doesn’t justify it, but it offers some insight. one of those defining experiences though, you know? realizing something that i would never do to another human being.

an egypt an asia tea party. happy day! you could do the kanji and i could do the hieroglyphs!


Can I get in on this? LOL LOVE Ancient Egypt. My whole back is tattooed with Egyptian symbols………

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171 tasting notes

Backlogging (so based almost entirely on my notes from late summer 2011; I think I previously had something written electronically and stored about this tea but it was accidentally deleted. Bummer.)

Experience buying from Harney & Sons

Age of leaf: I don’t have it in my notes, but I remember that all of the samples from H&S I bought over the summer of 2011 had a relatively recent lot # on them.

Appearance and aroma of dry leaf: Amazing. Looks like pine needles; the aroma was both very unusual and yet familiar, definitely fresh and good: possibly like pine needles?

Brewing guidelines: Loose in glass Bodum pot, Stevia added.
……….1st: 170; 1.5’
……….2nd: 172; 1.75’
< I only see two steepings in my notes, but I am certain I did at least four steepings, as I almost always do the first time I steep a new green >

Color and aroma of tea liquor: Light green, (and I don’t have it in my notes, but I think it had an aroma I really liked).

Flavor of tea liquor: Note after second steeping, “still incredible flavor, fresh, spring, incredible”

Appearance and aroma of wet leaf: “looks fresh, smell eludes me: vegetal, but some other smell is beneath it, hiding from me!”

Value: VERY expensive ($20/oz), but definitely worth trying once as a sample (it was only $2, as all of their samples were, but now it’s either $3 or $4).

Overall: Based solely on memory, this was the most amazing green tea I have ever had. I have had nothing since to match it (although some of Verdant’s green teas come close). It was so amazing, when I originally sat down to write the review, sipping at it and taking in its amazing flavor, wrestling with how to describe it, I was moved to write this little piece (I had to really dig to find it, but thankfully I finally did. I think I made edits to a version of this that was lost. Again, bummer). I hope you will allow me to share it with you as a tribute to this incredible tea:
I imagine my wife and I, having wandered peacefully along a mountainous-forested path, discover ahead a clearing, and finally, a ridge. As we approach hand in hand we stop at the rim, and wonder at the beauty of the deeply forested mountain range that stretches away from us, quietly giving way in the distance to a hazy multicolored landscape as it meets the azure sky. Then, closing our eyes, we slowly and deeply take in the scent of pine, feeling the firm yet moist earth beneath our feet. And, upon hearing a beautiful song, we look out and into the windswept vista before us. Tiny movements catch our eye as we look skyward to witness the graceful song sparrow with her colorful mate, both spinning and weaving, freely trilling out their bliss at the wonder of the day as they soar up, up into the deep blue sky. And we, simple beings bereft of the gift of flight, allow ourselves to be transported with them, sharing in the simple joy of being alive.

170 °F / 76 °C 1 min, 30 sec



Thank you. : )

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39 tasting notes

This tea was being offered for tasting at the Soho location, otherwise I doubt I would have selected it on my own. Nonetheless I was pleasantly surprised.

The leaves are drier and more needle-like than most Japanese greens, keeping with the motif of many Chinese greens. The brew is lighter than I expected, and tints yellow, with a pleasant and soothing aroma reminiscent of yellow teas. In fact, the aroma is rather more complex (and subtle) than most other green teas I have tried.

The taste is smooth, an oasis between a sweet white like the Ceylong Silver Tips and the highly vegetal Heavenly Gyokuro. The flavor has doppelganger properties – when you think vegetal it is apparent; when you think light sweetness, it is apparent. Hence there is something here for fruit and vegetable lovers.

Steeping time: 3.5 minutes
Temperature: 176 degrees F

175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 30 sec

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10 tasting notes

One of my all time favorite light chinese greens. A go-to for me.

Flavors: Butternut Squash, Cucumber

175 °F / 79 °C 3 min, 0 sec 1 tsp 8 OZ / 236 ML

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161 tasting notes

A new 2013 crop of this tea arrived in the shop this week! The thin leaves are a brighter green than years past, and have a lovely fresh aroma. The post-brew leaves are less uniform than last year’s crop, but have the same amazing citrus scent. The flavor is at first light, but quickly blossoms into a lush and bright citrus. This tantalizing flavor tingles and endures, fading into a darker, softer vegetal after taste.
An excellent tea.

175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 30 sec

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