Tag Archives: review

Green tea: Mao Feng

Mao Feng

Too expensive and too light.
Green tea » Chinese teas » Oven-dried, ★★★
Also known as: Dancing Mao Feng, 毛峰

Mao Feng traditionally comes from the Yellow Mountain region in China. “Mao” (毛) means “hair”, which represents the curled, brittle leaf structure, and “Feng” (峰) means “peak”, which refers to Mao Feng’s mountainous place of origin. Despite its delicate taste, Mao Feng is a rather common green tea in China, and its price tag is never excessive.

This particular Mao Feng, though, sells for $28 per 50 grams in Australia—a price that 3-star quality doesn’t justify. Tannin is more prominent than caffeine, and there’s no lasting sweetness at all. Mouthfeel is restricted to the lips and the tip of the tongue, and the usual back-of-the-throat warming feeling (茶气) is completely absent in this Mao Feng variety. All the flavours thus seem dull, or muted.

If you’re looking for a similar tea that’s both better and cheaper, then try the lively, fruity Bi Luo Chun (碧螺春) instead. ★★★

Green tea: Chinese Sencha

Chinese Sencha

Tastes like burned raspberries. Nothing like Sencha at all.
Green tea » Japanese » Sun-grown, ★★
Also known as: 中国煎茶 or, misleadingly, ‘Sencha’

This tea is a (cheaper) Chinese version of the Japanese classic, Sencha.

Japanese Sencha is wonderful. I gave it five stars and described it as, “Light, refreshing and minty-cool.” Unfortunately, this Chinese imitation is incomparable with the real deal.

First, the leaf is too yellow. It looks more like it’s been roasted than steamed. This is backed up by the lack of a light, vegetal flavour when you drink it—instead, I get a thick, smooth, berry flavour in my mouth. It’s drinkable, but it’s not Sencha.

Secondly, this tea has unpleasant burned undertones. This may have arisen during the steaming process, when the tiniest leaves (which are actually just powder) fall through and touch something hot. Dust from inside the steamer might then have been swept into the tea.

I brewed this tea at 66 °C and it still tasted too much of tannin. I didn’t enjoy this tea, but I did learn the importance of terroir by drinking it. I love Sencha, and you probably will too, as long as you get the real deal from Japan. Never buy Chinese Sencha. ★★