Chinese Teas

(For the Horde!) #21

So you like Oolong tea… I have some Oolong tea, but that is not my focus now. I do drink pretty decent Sencha ($40-90 per 90-100 gram), but I do know there are better ones. I just kind of cap my budget now at $100 Sencha per 100 gram can. Well, I just heat my tea leaves up if they are too old. Basically, if I have fresh green tea, why would I drink expired old green tea? This is not mine, but basically something like this:


You can heat up water properly at work? You have proper tea ware too? Lucky you. At work, I have tried, the water was not hot enough with the stupid water machine. Microwave was too far away.

(For the Horde!) #23

I could do better, but I have enough to prep my tea to the level I need. I have a Japanese teapot and a gaiwan, so at least controlling the volume. I am going to bring in some more teaware to my office later. I have a tea drain table on my desk. Here is a live shot. Drinking happily at my Chenpi Pu Erh. Look at the awesome bright golden/orange color. (poor grade tea won’t be so clear).

As for hot water… water is hot enough for me. Moreover, it does not need to be very hot, especially not for good Gyokuro (which only need <60oC). If water is too hot, one can ruin the tea.


True for young delicate green tea. As for Pu Erh, I was always told to use water at 90ºC.

(For the Horde!) #25

Yes, but you said you like green tea (like Long Jing tea) and blue tea (like Oolong tea).


I have some Pu Erh at home too, and white and red tea… :wink:

(For the Horde!) #27

Well, at home you can make hot water. At work, your semi hot water maybe fine. I have sufficiently hot water at my work.

(For the Horde!) #28

I brought another teapot now to work (left)


Any concerns about pesticides used in growing tea leaves?

(For the Horde!) #30

Not too much from me. One can always go for organic tea if it is a concern.


Not only pesticides, but also problem of heavy metal. If worry, choose white tea as they are the new growth buds and leaves, the worst is black tea. Or else avoid tea coming from China and India.

But according to this article, “good tea and pesticides simply don’t mix.”


I was talking to a tea shop in Hong Kong. They said this year’s top quality Dragon Well that was harvested the earliest in the year will likely arrive some time next week. The lesser quality will arrive later.

(For the Horde!) #33

Yep. I saw it here already. The very first batch came here in LA about 2-3 weeks ago. Today, I went to LA, and it is from a different farm. Unfortunately, they are a little more expensive than I am will to pay for now. The first batch (I missed anyway) was $1000. This one today is $699-ish. You are right. The latter quality will come a little later. Currently, these are “first pick”. I guess I will not be buying the first-pick Dragon Well this year.

(For the Horde!) #34

Just FYI. The one I saw today is: First Pick of Plum-Dragon Well (梅家西湖塢龍井) which is pretty damn good even compared to Lion Mountain Dragon Well (獅峰西湖龍井). The price for the First Pick is ¥3500 Chinese yuan for 500 gram. ($555). Most likely you will find price higher than this, but it is not impossible you may find a little lower than this. The lower quality tea grades will come out later which are still good.


LOL with the price, one needs to be a billionaire!

Actually one year I bought a small batch of Dragon Well from an organic grocery store, the now defunct Bon Bon Bon 有食緣 in Hong Kong, the tea was from an independent farm in the Lion Mountain region, it was a batch of organic whole leaves, harvested before the rain of Ching Ming, the colour was rich light green, slightly yellowish, not like the general pale green. The tea was the best I had ever drank, very rich in taste, the colour of tea made was amazingly green and I could steep at least 3-4 times the same leaves, and you need very few leaves to make a cup. If I remembered correctly, it was about $150 HKD for 70g around 8 - 9 years ago! I doubted they were the best of the best with the price, but they were very good for me already.


Do you always buy the first pick?


Which shop was that?

(For the Horde!) #38

It sounds like you probably bought something between “April to middle of April batch”.


I sometime buy first pick of Sencha 煎茶. First pick of Sencha does taste different than spring tea of Sencha.

“LOL with the price, one needs to be a billionaire!”

Well, billionaire or millionaire not needed. It is just about how much a person appreciates and willing to invest in tea. We are talking about the rarest of the rarest here. Most Dragon Well tea 龍井is NOT from West Lake 西湖. Just to share some perspectives, on the left it is Money Pond Dragon Well (錢塘龍井), and on the right, it is Yue Dragon Well (越州龍井). Vast majority of restaurants do not use West Lake quality.


The small area (highlight in green) in the middle is the famous West Lake 西湖. If a tea is advertised as Dragon Well alone, then most likely it is not from West Lake. Like they say, you learn more about what is not said than what is said.

Zooming into West Lake (西湖), there are five famous regions: Dragon, Lion, Tiger, Cloud and Plum area. These are the top among West Lake. For example, Twin Peaks Dragon Well (雙峰西湖龍井) is West Lake nonetheless, but not from the top five regions.


Any of the region is already the top of West Lake, and lion is a little bit more famous. Then, now we are talking about the first pick of the spring tea of these regions (a very small window in an entire year). Just think how small of a percentage of Dragon Well we are discussing.

Tea is a personal. For example, so far, I like Senchu a little more than Gyokuro, but I do appreciate Gyokuro as well and is drinking one now. Then again, there is the question of skill. Just because a person can buy a first grade Waygu beef steak, it doesn’t mean the steak will come out amazing. I think we talked about this earlier. Most restaurants do not brew the tea at the right temperature and time and ratio. Some people may have the ability to buy First Pick of Lion Peak of West Lake of Dragon Well tea.:joy: But do they have the skill and tools to brew it right? Based on what I see, not many people have the skill to brew a high quality tea.

(For the Horde!) #39

Just found this. This may be a useful link for a more official literature in English:


I never get anything right in a restaurant in whatever cuisine (even the higher end, which made individual tea in separate pots). Though I had a few good drinks in tea rooms.