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. ★★★
- Scented tea: Organic China Jasmine (jameskennedymonash.wordpress.com)
- Green tea: Jade Ring Jasmine (jameskennedymonash.wordpress.com)
- Green tea: “Rolling Clouds” (jameskennedymonash.wordpress.com)
More refined stimulating breakfast brew that’s still as light as Rooibos.
Black tea » Chinese » Anhui Qimen teas, ★★★★★
Also known as: 祁门功夫茶, Ning Hong Jing Hao, Keemun/Qimen Congou/Gongfu (or any combination).
I’ve been lucky enough to receive not just Qimen Hongcha, which is a great tea, but also this Qimen Congou, which is the finest grade of Qimen available. Qimen Hongcha uses only the smallest, most tender leaves, and the dry leaf has a more powerful aroma than Qimen Hongcha.
Brewed side-by-side, the liquors (tea liquids) look exactly the same (amber or honey-coloured). The aroma of the Qimen Congou, however, is more floral and less woody than the Qimen Hongcha—even though both teas are very similar, and very light. It’s only by comparing these two five-star teas side-by-side that I can acknowledge their subtle differences in taste.
Qimen Congou is a little lighter, has more floral notes and a subtle dark chocolate aftertaste. The sweet aftertaste (回甘) is stronger in this tea than in Qimen Hongcha.
功夫 = Congou = Gongfu = Kung Fu = anything that’s done particularly well (including martial arts and tea).
Given a choice between the two teas, I’d choose the Qimen Congou every time. But each of these teas is delightful on its own. I recommend buying the Qimen Hongcha or buying both and brewing them simultaneously. Qimen Hongcha and Qimen Congou sell for $11 and $22 in Melbourne, respectively. ★★★★★