Topic: Appearance of Bi Luo Chun(碧螺春) Leaf

I've tasted a moderate number of samples of Bi Luo Chun(碧螺春), and some have been better than others, but I'm not convinced I've tried much of the best-quality stuff available.

One thing that I have noticed is that there is a considerable amount of variability in the level of rolling of the leaf.  Some is tightly rolled, not quite into pellets, but approaching so, whereas other looks mostly extended, and only slightly curled or wavy.

I've heard suggested about oolongs that higher-quality teas tend to be more tightly rolled, but I'm not 100% convinced that this is always the case, and I'm also completely unclear as to whether or not this same rule would extend to a curled green tea like Bi Luo Chun.

Any insights?

2 (edited by brandon 2012-07-13 22:31:01)

Re: Appearance of Bi Luo Chun(碧螺春) Leaf

My understanding, from some folks who have been at it longer than me, is that it is not based on the rolling, but the overall size of the leaf - smaller is better. Indicates earliest possible harvest and most selective plucking. A powerful visual description is "like sawdust." Now, I also think Chinese qualitative judgements of green tea might be somewhat opposed to American value judgements. The most valued green teas tend to have very subtle characteristics and very high prices.

I have a new batch of Bi Luo Chun just arrived from a mutual acquaintance, I will make sure you get some.

Re: Appearance of Bi Luo Chun(碧螺春) Leaf

Thank you!  What you said about the leaf size being more important than the rolling shape, and smaller leaves corresponding to earlier plucking, and thus more subtle characteristics, makes sense.

I also found your comment about Chinese vs. American judgments of tea interesting.

I have not noticed a clear pattern of whether I prefer higher-priced teas or not.  In some cases, the higher-priced teas lack qualities (like astringency or sourness) which I often find objectionable, but in other cases, I prefer some of the lower-grade teas.  Some of my favorite teas have been high-quality batches of moderate-to-low grade teas.  I've found this to be more the case with white teas though, in which my favorite teas are higher-quality batches of shou mei(寿眉) that I've tried.  With green teas I think I am somewhat more likely to prefer higher-quality teas, mainly because of the astringency in low-quality teas.

I suspect people would not describe my tastes as typical "American" tastes though.  When I think of typical American tastes I think of people being relatively averse to vegetal and herbaceous qualities, and also to bitterness, and to seek out sweetness, and this doesn't describe me at all!

Re: Appearance of Bi Luo Chun(碧螺春) Leaf

I too prefer small leaves of Bi Luo Chun as I had the best experience while choosing the one. However in some parts people go with rolling shape option as well  so you can try with it.

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