Monday, 27 August 2007

Xue Ya

This white tea was bought from Sencha, a Tea Lounge I stumbled across in Newcastle.

From the pack:

Xue Ya "first flush" Special White Tea

A very special white tea, high in antioxidants, unforgettably fragrant. The first pickings from the Sheng Li tea fields.

I understand this tea is from northern Fujian province and is grown at high altitudes.

The leaves are long and twisted. Many are coated in a white downy jacket.

The taste is reminiscent of Japanese greens with a certain fishy element to it. The liquor is surprisingly full bodied when compared to something like Bai mu Dan.

The durability of the leaves was also rather impressive, certainly much more tea for my money than I expected.

The tea was a nice departure from the rather heavy flavors in the Kashanganj snow bud kindly sent from TChing and also from the rather lacklustre performance of Jing's zheng he bai mu dan that have been dominating my white tea drinking recently. This is certainly a tea a will keep an eye open for whilst browsing.

The cost, at £7.50/50 grams, is a little higher that I would like to pay for such tea but considering it was bought in Newcastle city center and not ordered over the internet from the other side of the world, I will not take issue with the cost.

Whilst the Sencha Tea Lounge was no my ideal venue for tea I believe it may be exactly what is required to help this nation pay attention to the tea it is drinking. The lounge appears to based around the well established coffee shop blueprint, selling cakes, sandwiches and hot food. Hopefully the coffee shop feel will prove more welcoming than the apparently daunting Chinese tea house. The sencha and oolong I had in the lounge were both served in one of those plastic gung-fu cha devices, a kind of pimped up cafeteria, which I now know I'm not very keen on.

Anyway, a resounding cheer to the folks at Sencha. It brightened up my day to find a tea shop selling decent quality tea on a main st in a major UK city and even more impressive was the fact that the place always seemed reasonably busy. On close inspection many people were drinking coffee, perhaps coffee in a tea lounge will be the first step on the road to national great tea addiction.

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