Monthly Archives: October 2012

Green tea: Biluochun

Biluochun

Tippy and delicate with light citrus notes. An everyday green tea.
Green tea » Chinese » Basket-fired » Tender leaf, ★★★★
Also known as: 碧螺春, Pi Lo Chun, Green Snail Spring, 吓煞人香, Xiasharenxiang

Biluochun is a lighter green tea with a yellowish green liquor (I’m going to start using the word liquor, 茶汤 in Chinese, to describe what I used to call the ‘brew’). The dry leaves are long, curled and so delicate that they snap easily when you pick them up.

Some people note ‘chesnuts’ and ‘citrus’ among the aromas present. Biluochun tastes light with hints of sweetness, and it doesn’t bitter easily.

Biluochun is another delicate green tea suitable for everyday drinking. ★★★★

Green tea: Organic Genmaicha with Matcha

Organic Sencha Sprinkles

Toy!
Green tea » Japanese » Shade-Grown, ★★★★
Also known as: 抹茶入り玄米茶, Organic Sencha Sprinkles

Genmaicha with Matcha is actually three products mixed together:

  1. Sencha (煎茶) — a steamed Japanese tea with a fresh seaweed flavour
  2. Dry rice (干米) — gives a roasted, nutty, popcorn flavour which dominates the brew (these first two ingredients together constitute Genmaicha).
  3. Matcha (抹茶) — powdered Gyokuro, which gives a cloudy, sweet, invigorating dew-like infusion that’s extremely nutritious. I love Matcha!

The first brew is fluorescent green and tastes of Matcha (sweet dew). The powder then washes off the bright green rice pieces almost immediately, revealing their natural brown colour—you’ll also see them puff up as they absorb water.

The second brew is less sweet and more kelpy. The brew looks a little less cloudy, but still has a fluorescent green tinge from the Matcha that hid somewhere in the Sencha leaves.

Subsequent brews taste of Genmaicha, then eventually just of dry rice pieces, which survive seemingly infinite brewing—or until you eat them. This tea just keeps changing in your cup.

This is a fun tea, a plaything, and is more interesting than Genmaicha on its own. But even though Genmaicha with Matcha has a long history in Japan, I think this tea is too complicated for everyday consumption. For everyday consumption, choose Longjing, Meng Ding Huang Ya or Biluochun instead. ★★★★

Book: Getting Ahead as an International Student

Getting Ahead as an International Student

Gives you no advice. Just makes you think, like counselling.
205 pages, ★★★

I’m about to become an international student! I have been accepted to study Education at a major university in Australia, after which, I will be able to register as a secondary school science teacher. Finally, it looks like I have a long-term career!

In preparation for one year of study, I got this book from the library.

This book doesn’t actually tell me anything. It instead uses counselling techniques to ask “what are your expectations?”, “why?” and “it might not be like that, which is okay”. It asked me to write my thoughts on preferred teaching styles and the role of lecturers in education, then quoted me four largely conflicting opinions of students from different international backgrounds. (It’s easy to see, then, how each of these students will be disappointed by at least one aspect of their university experience.) By opening your mind, Getting Ahead prevents the disappointment that arises when expectations differ from reality (the sole root of disappointment, actually).

Getting Ahead didn’t give me any information but it did help—CBT-style. So I’m going to university next year with no assumptions about what it should be like, and hopefully, I won’t be disappointed. ★★★

Scented tea: Jasmine Pearls (Buddha’s Tears)

Jasmine Pearls (Buddha's Tears)

Not as good as they look.
Scented tea » Jasmine » Modern, 

Maybe I didn’t brew these right. They have very little taste.

Jasmine Pearls (Buddha’s Tears) are tight, hand-rolled ‘pearls’ that open when brewed. The ‘pearls’ looks beautiful when it’s dry (when you can see their two-tone colour—a mixture of tender buds and young leaves), and wet, when they extend their long, spindly leaves vertically in the glass.

Brew around 3 grams of this tea (that’s about 25 pearls—I weighed them) in a tall glass. Don’t obstruct the leaves (with a filter or tea infuser); just brew them directly. These leaves won’t float because they’re packed so densely—so they’ll stay away from your lips when drinking! Do not follow T2‘s directions, who recommend “4-5 pearls per cup”.

Jasmine Pearls (Buddha’s Tears) is similar to Jade Ring Jasmine in that it looks good but is uninteresting to drink. I’d prefer to drink Rolling Clouds (a green tea) or, better still, Organic China Jasmine, whose leaf isn’t rolled, but tastes better than all of the above. Maybe I care too much about taste. ★★★