Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Review: An Ji Bai Cha '09, Grand Tea

It's amazing what you find when you just start searching for crazy things on Google. I typed in, "wolf drinking tea," and lo and behold, this image is what I discovered. Thank you, Migy Illustration, for the great image. Please go to their Web site for much illustration goodness.

Grand Tea: An Ji Bai Cha

Today I find myself wolfing down Grand Tea's An Ji Bai Cha like it's going out of style. Of course, if wolves drank tea and dressed as snappily as the ones in the illustration, they might not have quite the public relations nightmare they've developed.

An Ji Bai Cha has quite a unique story: it's a long-lost tea that was recreated only a few years ago by tea sleuths putting together hints found in various ancient texts. I wrote about it in detail here, and I hope you'll go there to read about where this enjoyable tea comes from.

When I open the package from Grand Tea, provided to me via the folks at, I am confronted with a singingly fresh, bright, grassy fragrance that instantly takes me outside. The leaves look much like a longjing tea: two fresh green leaves and a bud, carefully formed by carefully orchestrated movements, whereby the tea processors place the green leaves into large woks coated with a small amount of tea oil, and they pan fry them using special hand movements (usually 10) that fold and refold the leaves into flat spears.

My notes, and I quote: "SOOOO GOOD."

In a Japanese teapot, I used 1 tsp/cup at 70C, for 4 minutes.

As is typical with an An Ji Bai Cha, it is a pale gold with a very slight greenish cast. Beautifully sweet with slight hint of bitterness to the tongue (maybe less time steeping would work better). This tea has much the same effect on me that good cranberry juice has: I can drink it endlessly, insatiably, and never feel like I've had enough. I would get to the bottom of the cup, surprised that I was done already, and ready for more.


Marlena said...

Loved the wolves - really a great visual. You make me want to run right out and buy some of this wonderful tea!

CM said...

Sounds brilliant!

Anonymous said...

The processing of these leaves makes me hungry or thirsty for them. I don't know which. Perhaps I'm "hungry like the wolf." At least I'm not in sheep's clothing. --Spirituality of Tea

Unknown said...

Thanks, all! The visual is really fun, I agree. I was seriously surprised at how quickly I was drinking this tea, and kept wondering what happened to the rest of the pot. Tea gremlins drinking my An Ji Bai cha!