We're spoiled, with tea at least. We have many wonderful friends who continue to bring us some very special teas from their travels in China. This is one of them, a varietal that was renowned from the Ming Dynasty. From AnHui Province, 涌溪火青.
The leaves are rolled into balls, and have an almost oily sheen to them. Wonderfully fragrant before they ever touch water, I'm careful to ensure that the water used to steep them isn't too hot. As you can see from the steeped leaves, this particular sample is very fine. Tender, whole shoots, just an incredible quality.
The tea is so fragrant, herbal and slightly green. Rich in the mouth, well-structured and tannic. Develops a lovely sweetness with continued brewing. Delicious, a very special tea indeed.