San Xia Ming Qian Bi Luo Chun (三峽明前碧螺春) is an early spring (Pre Qing Ming) green tea from Sanxia District of New Taipei City in northern Taiwan. Carefully handpicked leaves of the Qing Xin Gan Zi varietal are processed in a traditional style to create an aromatic herbaceous liquor with sweet and floral notes and a clean aftertaste. Grown at an altitude of between 300m and 400m, it was harvested and processed in March 2021 by the Lee family. We also stock a summer version of this tea.
Bi Luo Chun ‘Green Snail Spring’ is a classic Chinese green tea, with the original type hailing from the Dong Ting tea growing area of Jiangsu Province. Such is the popularity of this tea that the name became popular for other green teas made in a similar style. Typically they exhibit a tippy leaf with a coiled shape resembling a snail. Often however, the name is descriptive of the flavour profile rather than the appearance of the leaf. Such as the case in our pre Qing Ming Bi Luo Chun from San Xia, it is made of single leaf with some white buds but they are not coiled into the distinctive snail shape. Instead the name is attributed to the flavour, having a classic vegetal green tea taste and aromatic liquor common to other Bi Luo Chun teas.
The teas from Sanxia District are largely outliers from other Taiwanese teas in terms of picking standard and production. Unlike many other regions of Taiwan that have distinct harvest seasons and where the leaves are harvested with stalks, utilising the top 2-4 leaves and the bud, the harvest in Sanxia occurs when the leaves are picked every 10-14 days. Only the top leaves and buds are harvested, so the leaves are picked without stalk, in a style that is more common with the Mainland Chinese standard of picking. Furthermore, this tea comes from a small cooperative factory of Mr Lee. They work with about 200 very small scale growers in the area who sell their tea leaves to the factory. Depending on the quality and characteristics of each harvest the factory then decides on the best tea to make from each harvest, varying between styles such as Bi Luo Chun or Long Jing for green tea, various types of oolong or by making Hong Cha (red/black tea).
Our San Xia Ming Qian Bi Luo Chun consists of neat, tippy green leaves. It produces a bright herbaceous liquor that is aromatic, with a sweet grassy aroma. The flavours are light and clean with no astringency or dryness. The taste has a classic early spring green tea profile with fresh herbaceous flavours, floral and vegetal umami notes and a sweet mouthfeel. The aftertaste is very clean with a lasting refreshing flavour. This is an excellent green tea that will definitely appeal to fans of high grade early spring teas from Mainland China and Japan.
It is best brewed at 80°C for 2-3 minutes according to your taste and should be brewed multiple times, increasing steeping time with each brew if desired.