Yunnan Bi Luo Chun (云南碧螺春) is a full-bodied green tea consisting of one bud and one leaf that are expertly shaped into small coils. It has a smooth vegetal taste with a good degree of complexity and just a touch of dryness. This tea was harvested and processed in March 2020.
It is grown in Ning’er Hani and Yi Autonomous County, located in Pu’er Prefecture and next to city of Pu’er in Yunnan Province. Ning’er Country has a large population of Hani and Yi native people, who also inhabit areas in Vietnam, Laos and Thailand. Tea making traditions go back hundreds of years but it is estimated that tea cultivation in this area started 2,000-2,200 years ago, while the actual tea use predates that period.
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 a popular name for other green teas made in similar style. Typically they exhibit a tippy leaf with a coiled shape resembling a snail. Sometimes the name is descriptive of the flavour profile rather than the appearance of the leaf. In this case the name is attributed to the plucking standard and the shape of the finished leaf, even being more ‘snail’-like in appearance than the original Bi Luo Chun! The flavour here is a bit different as Bi Luo Chun from Dong Ting tends to be on the lighter, more refreshing side.
This Yunnan Bi Luo Chun is made from a Yun Kang #10 (云抗10) varietal that is a popular choice in Yunnan Province both for black (hong cha) and green teas. It is a developed varietal of the large leaf assamica tea plants prevalent in Yunnan. As such the teas produced from this varietal exhibit similar traits to other assamica based teas. When made into a green tea, this translates to a more complex vegetal flavour that is more full-bodied but with diminished fresh grassy notes.
This Yunnan Bi Luo Chun is produced from large buds and leaves shaped into coils, or snails. There is plenty of silver colour, indicating the tender young buds that are hiding in the coils. It produces a light yellow liquor with good clarity and a vegetal, woody aroma. The full-bodied taste is smooth and complex. The dominant vegetal savoury flavours are complimented by light woody and nutty notes. The aftertaste is tangy and vegetal with a light dryness present as expected from the assamica heritage of the plants.
It can be brewed at 90°C for 2-3 minutes according to your taste. If you are finding the flavours too strong, the tempereature can be decreased to 80°C for a lighter cup. It can also stand multiple infusions well.