Empress Green - Lu Huanghou

"Fresh tea", strong, nuanced and refreshing
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Lǜ huánghòu 绿皇后

There is a class of teas harvested early in the spring & processed to local customs of appearance, flavor, and aroma. Typically made in small lots and rarely exported, these teas are often exceptional and offer a window into the great variety of China's tea offerings. Sold locally in tea markets and directly from farms, "fresh teas" are made with cultivars that, in time, have adapted to the local terroir and now have taste characteristics unique to the area. Each year, we are invited to meet (this year, we did not meet given restrictions on travel) with a longstanding supplier, who produces select lots of whites, greens, and blacks in this "fresh" style. This year's lot was harvested April 2021. 

Lot Notes. This year's lot is made with a small-sized leaf, cut, and curled with a deep green coloration. The pluck was early April. Processed by pan-firing, the leaves are highly aromatic. In tasting, we found this tea offered stone-fruit notes at the front and a sweet, lush finish. From our perspective, this lot offers a vibrant spring tea.

Tea Facts. Empress Green is made using the Mei Zhan cultivar. In time, the cultivar has developed nuanced layers of flavor, preserved, and then developed in the pan-fire processing. The farm operates using organic traditional practices but has no certification. Each year, this green will be made with subtle changes in taste. It well exemplifies the Chinese tea farm model wherein there is wide variation in flavors and aromas from region to region. Farm is at an elevation of approximately 800 meters.  

Tasting Notes. The leaves offer an aromatic, sweet aroma, hints of anise. It is more naturally sweet than vegetal in flavor. Steeped, the taste is nuanced, offering light grassy notes and stone fruit. There is a pleasing tension between sweet and astringent underscoring the strength of the cultivar. The tea cups clear, light green to gold color.

Brewing Suggestions. As this green tea is strong in flavor, we suggest 3 grams per 7-8 ounces and 4-5 grams for 12 to 16 ounces. Steep 2 minutes and taste. This should yield a balanced cup. Use water at a temperature of 185-198 F. Leaves will yield multiple steeps!

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