Review of Long Mei Yunnan Green Tea of Zhenyuan

9 of 105 of 54 of 584 of 100
SuperbExcellentGood Value

This was a robust green tea that was challenging to brew, but rewarding when I got it right. Thank you to Dewey for sharing this one with me!

The leaf is beautiful, wiry, slightly curly, and diverse in color, from dusty dark green to silvery-gray with a yellowish tinge. It has a potent fragrance, with a hint of camphor and smokiness, and some spicy and vegetal notes. Fresh and strong smelling, suggesting a strongly savory flavor.

I found this tea was highly sensitive to brewing temperature, more so than even most Chinese green teas. Using water that was too hot brought out a harsher flavor, and more of the smokey / camphor notes. Brewed to my liking, with lower temperature water (about 160°F/71°C) the camphor notes are subdued and the smokiness minimal, and there's a honey-like floral quality. I notice the nuttiness in the description, but only when I pay attention. Flavor is quite bold, but balanced, with some sweetness, bitterness, and sourness, as well as savory/umami qualities. Astringency is moderate. The finish has notes suggestive of artichoke and olives. Overall this tea is brisk and has a complex aroma that I'd imagine some people might not like, but I enjoyed it.

I find the astringency extracted by this tea pretty closely follows the steep times, and as a result, you need to time the resteep less than normal. The resteep is even trickier to get right than the first cup. Too short a steep and it comes out watery and aroma-less, too long and it's too astringent, and it also is still sensitive to brewing temperature.

Overall, I liked this one, but it was tricky to brew and there were quite a few times I botched it and one cup, perhaps the first, perhaps the second, was a bit harsh and less-than-fully enjoyable. Once I even poured it out. But it was worth the challenge because when I got it right, it was great.

I liked this tea markedly better on hot, or at least warm days, and I found it paired well with fatty or salty snacks like peanuts or pretzels. The bold flavor both holds its own with, and pairs well with hearty foods that have a strong flavor of their own. Although I liked how I felt after drinking this tea, I found it is not good to drink on an empty stomach. Price is good. But there are a lot of teas that I prefer from Yunnan Sourcing over this one, not because I universally like them better, but because they're so much easier to deal with.

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