|Name||Huángshān máo fēng / 黄山毛峰|
|English||Yellow Mountain Fur Peak|
|Manufacture||Classic: plucking-withering-rolling-pan frying-packing|
|Style||Bud with one or two leaves|
|Flavor||Clean, lightly sweet (apricot, gentle smokiness)|
|Aroma||Fresh floral (magnolia) fragnance|
|Liquor||Clean, light green|
|Brewing||Brew two or three two-minute infusions at 77-82 C. Drink plain.|
With the Spring teas coming on the market, we continue The Taobao Tea Trail with another one of the green teas in the The Top Ten List: Huangshan Maofeng. Again finding a highly-ranked Taobao vendor, I order 50g of tea leaves which arrived a few days later.
As with other green teas the water should be around 80 C and the tea leaves should be infused for 2-3 minutes.
Tea Tip – Tea Leaves to Water Ratio
One question I have struggled with has been the proper ratio of tea leaves to water. According to The Story of Tea:
“In the 1920s, when modern food pioneers perfected the ratio of brewing tea and coffee, their objective was the scientific exploration of pure taste…Tea tasters determined that 2 grams (one teaspoon) of leaf tea per 6 ounces (one cup, 237ml) water yielded excellent flavor that container the proper level of soluble solids considered the perfect cup of brewed tea.”
I have been using a 1.4L pot so should be using 6-7 teaspoons of tea leaves.
As an amateur tea enthusiast, I find it quite challenging to discern different flavors in the tea, but in comparison, Huangshan Maofeng is lighter than Xihu Longjing yet very clean and refreshing. While I have always had the impression that Xihu Longjing was in a class by itself above all other green teas, my impression of Huangshan Maofeng is that it is the classic, prototypical green tea to use as a baseline standard to compare other green teas. This makes it an appropriate early stop for The Taobao Tea Trail.
From Baidu Baike:
Huangshan Maofeng is one of the top ten greatest teas of China. Its reputation and status can be traced back to the Qing Dynasty. A type of fried green tea, Maofeng is a living testimony to the old adage ‘famous mountains produce excellent teas’. Its place of origin is the She County in Anhui Province. Maofeng is harvested between Qingming and Guyu (a period that covers early to mid April). Tea growers pick the most vibrant-looking buds before hand-frying them. The tea leaves are slightly curled, green in color with a tinge of yellow hue. When brewed, the liquor yields a light green color with yellow undertones. Such colors show the freshness of the tea. Maofeng tastes extremely smooth and aromatic with a lingering aftertaste. Maofeng tea leaves have a thin layer of frosty coat on their surface, resembling tiny hairs. This is where the name Maofeng, which literally means ‘hairy peak’ in Chinese comes from.
Maofeng is classified into four different grades, ranging from premium to third grade. Premium Maofeng has the following characteristics: tender buds, leaves shaped like the tongue of a sparrow with a frosty coating and golden sheen, mellow but lingering aroma and clear liquor when brewed.
Although a quintessentially Chinese tea, Maofeng partly owes its popularity to British settlers in late 19th century China. A few British merchants living in Shanghai had a chance to taste Maofeng and were deeply impressed by it. They encouraged tea traders to sell Maofeng in Shanghai. It was not long before Maofeng became an instant hit in Shanghai and later other parts of China.
Huangshan Maofeng continued its success into the 20th century. In 1955, China Tea Company held a nationwide tea competition in which Huangshan Maofeng was chosen as one of the top ten greatest teas of China. In the past few decades, the production of Maofeng has expanded from She County to other locales in Huangshan. The village Fuxi, which has high-altitude, has become the most renowned plantation site. Maofeng grown there is widely regarded as premium Maofeng.
She County near Huangshan:
Sources & Links: