Despite the colder weather, I found myself craving a green tea. The holiday week went by quickly, but I was glad for a brief reprieve and a chance to share meals, stories, and jokes with friends and family. Times like these are useful for offering a sense of fellowship around the table, although they also offer chances to eat richer and sweeter foods than I’m accustomed to. Because of this I was left with a lingering heavy feeling after a couple days of eating well, and wanted to drink a lighter more astringent tea that would cut through some of these heavy feelings.
The tea I chose was grown during the springtime of this year. It is a Chinese green tea called Bi Luo Chun (碧螺春), and this particular Bi Luo Chun was grown on Wu Liang Mountain in China’s southwestern Yunnan province.
Bi Luo Chun means blue/green spirals (this type of spirals that a snail’s shell will have) of spring. They are named after the shape of the tea leaves, which are curled into this spiral type shape.
The dry leaves of the Wu Liang Bi Luo Chun are tightly twisted into spiral shapes.
This tea had an aroma that was grassy, vegetal, and also had a hint of smokiness. It smelled similar to raw pu’er tea that I’ve had from the Wu Liang Mountain in the past. The first infusion had sweet grassy and vegetal flavors, and the texture was creamy. After the first infusion, the spirals started to open up. Looking at the leaves you could see that they were larger than they initially seemed. This would make sense because a lot of large leaf varietal tea grows in Yunnan Province.
The photos above show how the tightly twisted leaves look when they unfurl.
As the spirals opened up, the flavor became more robust. The smoky note became more pronounced in the flavor of these later infusions, and the texture lingered longer with an astringent quality. The overall texture and flavor of the tea were less complex than the sheng pu’er from Wu Liang Mountain, and the tea lasted over less infusions. After about 4 – 6 infusions the tea was fully brewed out, and I was comfortable ending the session. Below I will put some photos of the fully unfurled tea leaves.
The Wu Liang Bi Luo Chun had a pale and clear yellowish / green color. This photo also shows how much the unfurled tea leaves fill the gaiwan.
A single leaf and bud set unfurled after brewing.
I thought that this Bi Luo Chun was simple but enjoyable, and offered good qualities over a decent number of infusions. I would probably choose sheng pu’er from Wu Liang Mountain over this tea, but would go for this if I wanted something a little mellower than sheng pu’er. Normally I don’t drink green tea in colder weather, but this tea had just enough robust and smoky qualities to make it enjoyable on a chilly day.