The Chinese Tea Shop’s 2006 High Mountain Shou Mei

2006 High Mountain Shou Mei by The Chinese Tea Shop
White Tea / Straight
$11.95 for 25g

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First Impressions

It’s another one of my Vancouver Tea Festival purchases, finally making its way to One More Steep. This tea comes from The Chinese Tea Shop, which is a fantastic tea shop located in Vancouver, British Columbia. I picked this one out because it just smelled so good.

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This is the 2006 High Mountain Shou Mei, which is a straight white tea. The packaging is fairly simplistic, primarily showcasing the tea itself. As you can see, the tea is primarily whole dried leaves. There is some broken tea leaves throughout – I’m not sure how much of that is because of how I had it stored (squished between other teas). The aroma that comes from the dry leaf is primarily floral, with a light sweetness to it.

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Preparation

The Chinese Tea Shop has so much information on their website regarding tea culture, and steeping tea. For this white tea, I opted to do an initial steep at 175°F (80°C) for 2 minutes. If I’m not too familiar with a type of white or green tea, I try to keep the water temperature as low as possible and do short steeps, this helps to prevent astringency and bitterness!

First Taste

High Mountain Shou Mei steeps to a fairly pale yellow for the initial steep. I found that the aroma from this white tea to be quite floral, with a slight fruity undertone that reminds me of apples. When drinking High Mountain Shou Mei, I found it to be smooth, with a sweetness that I wasn’t expecting. I could taste the floral and fruity (definitely apple!) notes, but there was a sweetness that was present. It wasn’t overwhelmingly sweet, it was just enough to highlight the fruity flavours and accents the gentle apple flavour that I get from this tea.

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A Second Cup?

I resteeped High Mountain Shou Mei six times (seven times total), adding an extra 30 seconds for each subsequent steep. Shou Mei got to be a deeper, darker golden yellow with each steep, the colour peaked at the third resteep. I found that the flavours got stronger as the colour got deeper. After the third resteep, the colour and flavour began to fade, but was still palatable by the last resteep.

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My Overall Impression

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I loved The Chinese Tea Shop’s 2006 High Mountain Shou Mei. This straight white tea was a delight to have over the course for a long morning tea session (which is apparently what I do when I wake up at 5am not on purpose). I loved tasting this tea over and over again, it resteeps so well and has such a great flavour. The apple-y sweetness was nicely balanced with the floral notes, I just love the natural flavours of this tea. This tea can be on the pricey side (although cost per gram goes down if you buy a larger quantity), but the quality is so high that I think you can definitely get your money’s worth out of each steep, especially if you push it to its limits like I do with multiple steeps.

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The Chinese Tea Shop’s Dongting Pi Lo Chun Green Tea

Dongting Pi Lo Chun Green Tea by The Chinese Tea Shop
Green Tea / Straight
$12.95 for 25g

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First Impressions

Dongting Pi Lo Chun Green Tea is also known as Dongting Bi Lo Chun. Bi lo chun means green snail spring, based on the shape of the tea leaves and when the tea leaves were harvested. I picked up this green tea at The Chinese Tea Shop’s vendor booth at the Vancouver Tea Festival. The tea came to me in a resealable plastic bag – clear on one side and white on the other (which isn’t terrible since I keep my tea out of light).

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This straight green tea came from a private farm, located on Dongting Mountain, Jiangsu Province, China. The tea leaves are thin, about 1-2 cm in length. The dark leaves have a slight curl to them, and are covered with feathery white down. The aroma from the dry leaf is primarily that of a light floral fragrance that comes from tea leaves.

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Preparation

While there were no steeping instructions on the packaging, The Chinese Tea Shop website has a tea brewing guide (17 page PDF). For green tea, it’s recommended 75-80°C (167-176°F). For the length of time, the guide assumes everyone is steeping gongfu style – and has times ranging from 6 seconds to 10 seconds. However, I’m not steeping that method. My first steep was for 1 minute with 175°F water (heated in my Breville IQ Kettle with the green tea setting).

First Taste

Dongting Pi Lo Chun Green Tea steeps incredibly pale yellow after the first minute. The initial steep has a very subtle aroma. It’s a light mix of floral, sweetness, and saltiness that I smell.  The tea is smooth, and has an almost grassy flavour to it. There’s a mild saltiness that reminds me of seaweed, with just a hint of floral sweetness at the end of each sip. At the length of time I steeped it for, I noted zero astringency or bitterness.

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A Second Cup?

I resteeped Dongting Pi Lo Chun Green Tea a total of 5 times (6 steeps total). I kept the water temperature the same and increased the steeping duration for an additional 15 seconds per subsequent steep. I found that the tea got a little bit darker in colour and became a light yellow. The flavour was the most intense by the third steep, but remained the same in terms of complexity and the overall flavour profile.

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My Overall Impression

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I loved The Chinese Tea Shop’s Dongting Pi Lo Chun Green Tea. I wasn’t blown away by the initial steep of this tea, but I would liken it to the dress rehearsal while the subsequent steeps were opening night and there rest of the nightly performances. I found the flavours to be nicely balanced – salty and sweet, floral sweetness versus the umami of the salty seaweed. It resteeps very well, and I quite enjoyed having it again and again. Because of the balance of salty and sweet, I would suggest that this tea could be paired with either a savoury meal or sweets/desserts.

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The Chinese Tea Shop’s Finest White Tips Dragon Pearl Jasmine Green Tea

Finest White Tips Dragon Pearl Jasmine Green Tea by The Chinese Tea Shop
Green Tea / Straight
$22.95 for 50g

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First Impressions

And the winner for the longest name possibly ever to grace a review here on One More Steep goes to… the Finest White Tips Dragon Pearl Jasmine Green Tea! This was a tea that I picked up at the 2016 Vancouver Tea Festival from The Chinese Tea Shop’s booth. Part of the reason why I picked it up is because I love watching rolled tea open up when steeping, and also because it smelled amazing.

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There’s a strong jasmine smell with these pearls, which is understandable given the name. I love that I can see the variation in colour in the leaves with the tips being white, ans well as seeing the tiny hairs of the tea very easily. This tea is described on The Chinese Tea Shop website as being made with the “finest silver pekoe tips rolled into small balls”.

Preparation

The Chinese Tea Shop recommends making most, if not all, of their tea gong-fu style. I still lack the proper tea ware for that, so I made it in my normal glass tea pot. I steeped the tea in 79°C (175°F) water (the ‘green tea’ option on my Breville IQ Kettle) for 1 minute for the first steep.

First Taste

Finest White Tips Dragon Pearl Jasmine Green Tea steeps to a very pale yellow after the first steep, it’s barely noticeable in my white tea cup. There’s a great jasmine flavour that is immersed into the tea. With the short steep in the low temperature water, I’ve found zero bitterness. There’s a slight sweetness that I quite enjoy and found to be pleasant. The tea itself is very smooth and that makes for an easy to drink tea.

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A Second Cup?

I resteeped Finest White Tips Dragon Pearl Jasmine Green Tea a few times, increasing each subsequent steep time by 30 seconds. The colour of the tea gets to be a pronounced golden yellow as each steep occurred. I managed to get a total of seven steeps with this tea before it started to get a little bit lacking in flavour.

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My Overall Impression

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I loved The Chinese Tea Shop’s Finest White Tips Dragon Pearl Jasmine Green Tea. Yes, it is on the pricier side when it comes to jasmine green teas – this I will fully admit. However, the ability to steep again and again just goes to show that it’s a high quality tea. Less expensive jasmine green teas lack the ability to be resteeped over and over again. I loved watching these dragon pearls open up, and found the tea to be smooth and delicious. It’s not a tea that I would have every day (I don’t think I could afford for it to be a daily cup of tea!) but it’s definitely one that I could see having on special occasions or when having company over as a little bit goes a long way.

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