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2012 Lishan Winter Sprout

2012 Lishan Winter Sprout

Notes of English peas, barley flour shortbread, and violet.


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January 2012

Notes of English peas, barley flour shortbread, and violet.

Oolong tea from Taiwan・January 2012・陳年梨山不知春・Unsprayed

Lishan Winter Sprout has long been one of our most unusual teas, and ten years of aging have transformed these bright green pearls into something even more arresting. Fresh, this tea is immediately striking, with vibrant green leaves flecked with gold, several shades lighter than a typical Taiwanese oolong. The hand-crafted pearls are loosely rolled, unraveling into clusters of three or four leaves on a stem, with a liqueur the color of a glow-in-the-dark martian. Aged, this tea is milder, calmer, and even more mysterious.

The tea maker calls this tea huang jin cha, or gold tea. We prefer its more poetic name, bu zhi chun, meaning "never know spring.” The name refers to this tea's pre-spring harvest, picked after the leaves have matured slowly through the winter months. At 2000m, the tea plants often receive a dusting of snow - weather conditions that encourage sugar storage, a process that hardens the plant against winter’s cold.

The result is a base leaf that has all the necessary components for an extraordinary tea: one with texture, floral characteristics, and sweetness, without any hint of astringency or bitterness. It’s withered indoors, followed by long, low-temperature oxidation before the tea is gently rolled to bruise the leaves. A second, shorter oxidation period is followed by a final round of bruising, rolling, and roasting to finish the tea.

Lishan Winter Sprout has an altogether different character than any Taiwanese oolong we have tried. It's one of our most viscous brews, coating the palate with a sweet, creamy texture. This 2012 cache of aged Lishan Winter Sprout has lost some of the sharp corners of its freshly harvested counterpart, with subtle floral notes, and a clean, smooth finish. This is a gentle tea, friendly and playful. Multiple rounds of brewing give way to notes of violet, green pea, and barley flour shortbread. Long steeps yields a textural marvel: thick, and sweet in a way that is unlike any other tea in our collection.

Brew: 6 grams・150 ml・210° F・3 min

This tea takes well to very long steeps. Please use our suggested 3 minute brew time only as a starting point. Left in a bowl to brew, this tea becomes thicker, richer and sweeter.

6 g
150 ml
210º F
3 min
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