Biluochun Tea (Piluochun)
Dongting and Zhejiang Varieties
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Rated highly by our customers, these two superb Biluochun teas come from East Dongting Mountain (Jiangsu Province) and Zhejiang Province.
For a long time, I fondly called her the Elusive One.
What's the inner magic of this No 2 of Chinese green tea? I spent three long years looking for an explanation - and failed.
The breakthrough came only in 2008/09 when we finally discover these AAA grades.
Tender Tea Buds
In China, tender tea buds are synonymous with quality.
They have the highest concentration of soluble solids. When steeped in hot water, they release large amount of theanine and antioxidants.
What other teas can be more refined and delicate than a Biluochun?
See the picture above? The white patches are downy hairs, often a reliable sign of quality.
One kilogram can have 14,000 to 15,000 buds. It was said that the highest record ever known was 18,000!
This is a tea that you can drink with your entire body, and feel her refreshing effects rippling all day long.
In China, West Lake is regarded as the birthplace of Dragon Well tea, while Dongting Lake is regarded as the birthplace of Biluochun tea.
They are considered the No 1 and 2 of Chinese tea. One is famous for its nutty fragrance - the other its tender tea buds.
The Lake has some 90 islands and is a popular tourist attraction.
There are two mountains. The East Mountain is a peninsula. The West Mountain is an island in the Lake.
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Dongting AAA grade (March 2016) - 50 grams
This AAA grade comes from the Dongting East Mountain.
The moderate climate, damp air and slightly acidic soil make Dongting Mountain a paradise for growing tea and fruit trees.
Fruit trees and tea bushes grow together, side by side, giving Biluochun tea wonderful floral aroma and fruity flavor.
In China, we say she tastes "xian", a word that is probably best translated as fresh, unami or brothy.
The same word is often used to described seafood. How does fresh seafood compare to stale seafood? You get the idea.
Take a deep breathe when you open the tea packet. Can you smell detect the sweet, fruity aroma?
Pour hot water into your glass, and wait for the water to cool. Drop these tiny "snails" into the glass, and watch them transform into tiny tea buds. Understand that the smaller the tea buds, the higher the grades.
Swirl your tea cup gently, inhale the vapor, before taking a sip. Appreciate how sweet and fresh this tea is. Notice how good you feel afterwards.
My testing shows that 2-3 grams of this tea can withstand up to 3 infusions at 195 Fahrenheit (90 degree Celsius).
Every cup is pure and rich.
Zhejiang AAA Grade (March 2016) - 50 grams
The highest grade tea from Zhejiang Province, this AAA grade tea has become one of our best-sellers. Customers love her for her fruity aroma and rich taste.
Compared to her Dongting cousin, her tea buds are equally fine and delicate. While she may not have the same intensity of exquisite flavors, she more than makes up in value of money by costing just half as much.
Zhejiang AAA Grade (March 2016) - 350 grams
You can now save $13 by buying in bulk (350 grams).
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By Kris (Sacremento)
You know, it has taken me a while to figure out what I think of these green teas for a couple of reasons:
1) The differences between the teas are subtle and complex
2) I had to learn how to brew them correctly
I have learned that although the temperature is not that different for a perfect cup of tea (185-195 F), the steep times do differ. Some teas are stronger than others and if over-steeped, become bitter, while others do better with sitting a bit longer.
Also, the amount of tea leaves used varies for the same reason.
I have been trying the Dongting Biluochun 2011 (AAA) and it is FANTASTIC.
It has both a floral aroma and flavor as well as black pepper spice! I swear it reminds me of a fine European wine in some of its characteristics!!
(I've been a wine collector for many years.)
I have tried almost all of the green teas and I am having a hard time deciding if this one is my overall favorite or if the Huangshan Maofeng
By Jonathan (New York)
The Bilochun is excellent, and I find little if any difference between the AAA and the Jipin grade.
Good Bilochun is not easy to find, and when you do, it can have some off-flavors. This one is really quite good!
The Mengding Ganlu is a special tea with its own unique flavor profile, that I sometimes describe as toasted popcorn. I love this tea, but I frequently blend it with other things rather than drink it on its own.
The Shuixian is a wonderful tea for late afternoon or evening; very aromatic without any bitterness.
The only tea I am trying for the first time is the Anji Baicha, and I am not that fond of it yet. It looks beautiful and is obvioulsy very good quality, but it has a very vegetal character that is not my favorite style. It is quite good to blend with some other teas that have a bit more pan roasty quality.
Of the three, the Mengding Ganlu is the "must try" because of its unique flavor/aroma profile.
By Urs (Utzenstorf)
This Biluochun is all it takes to make it a "5".
Starting by opening the box I first enjoy it's fine silvery green appearance.
Holding it to my nose there are subtle fragrances emanating from the bundle of curly leaves. It is a mix of sweetness and hints of herbs reminding me of walks through small alpine pastures in summertime with freshly cut grass drying in the sun.
Steeping it the aromas starts surrounding you. Then sipping and keeping it in the mouth and under your tongue for a while there is again this blend of flavors hitting your taste buts.
After swallowing a remarkable after taste lingers encouraging you to go on.
By Jari (Finland)
Now I have more insight on the Biluochun also, and I will have to say that I do prefer the Dongting variety as far as Biluochuns go.
However, it was interesting that when tasting it with my friends, we found some similarity in the base flavour to other Zhejiang teas, even a hint of Longjing. At least the infusion that we managed to get not so overly sweet. :)
The options seemed to be either very sweet and fragrant (to the point of making me even suspect if I'll get a headache from it), or with quick infusions with very few leaves it remained somehow weak.
But if one likes very strong sweetness, this is a good one. Let's say 3/5.
By Rodney (Saint Paul)
The Anji Baicha, Biluochun, Wuyi and Tieguanying Oolong teas are a delight.
I rotate the teas at breakfast time. I steep the teas in a porcelain pot that holds two or three mugs. I steep at 180° F. I steep it three times.
This is probably not a good Chinese method and I am probably missing something. It works for me. I enjoy the aroma and the taste.
The first pot is for me while I read the morning newspaper. The second two pots go in a pitcher in the refrigerator for iced tea in the summer and I drink it in the late afternoon and evening.
I really like the Anji Baicha and the Dongtin Bilouchun, both a 5.
How to Brew
Being the most delicate of Chinese green tea, Biluochun tea can be sensitive to high temperature.
The problem is exacerbated by its deceptive "lightweight" appearance. If you are not using a scale, chances are you are using more leaves than you are supposed to!
Don't get me wrong, they are not low quality. I have got away with using off-the-boiled water. But she is different from other green teas, and if you are used to brewing Dragon Well tea, you would need to adjust your expectation.
A good starting point is to use 2 grams of tea leaves with 8 ounces (225 milliliters) of water.
Pour hot water of 160 Fahrenheit (70 degree Celsius) into a glass. Slow drop your tea buds into the hot water.
Steep until most of the tea buds has sink to the bottom of the glass and the tea liquor turns yellow. This will take 5 to 10 minutes for the first infusion.
Also, if you haven't got a thermometer and a scale, and have got plenty of time on you hand, you can try using the "Fish Feeding" method as recommended by my customer Konrad below.
Fish Feeding Method
I have a dummy proof method of brewing Bilochun and Mengding Ganlu.
I pour boiling water into a pot or glass, then wait until the water no longer sting the tip of my finger. I do this by quickly dip and retract my index finger.
I then drop a small amount of tea leaves at a time. They should sink quickly. Once the leaves start to linger at the top, I stop and let it infuse for around 20 minutes.
I can get two brews of very sweet tea this way; second brewing will require that I pour the same amount of water onto the wet leaves.
Now, the tea leaves are dropped into the water slowly, not all at once, much like feeding fish.
(You feed fish over a 1 to 5 minute period depending on how many fish you are feeding. If you dump the entire food altogether, a lot will be wasted.)
With these lower temperature brewing teas, I think I take around one minute to drop the tea leaves, to give time for the sunken leaves to release their nutrients.
Once the water is saturated enough with the released nutrients, the newly dropped leaves will not be able to sink readily. This is where the experience will tell you how much more tea leaves your glass can take.
For further information about packaging, brewing, maturation and storage, read Dragon Well Tea - Further Guide.
Also In This Section...
Biluochun Green Tea (Pi Lo Chun) - Three Different Types To Know
Also known as Pi Lo Chun, Dong Ting Biluochun tea was once considered the No 1 of Chinese green tea. It is renowned for its delicate appearance, fruity taste and downy white hair.