Leaf Type: Green
Where to Buy: Nannuoshan
Anji Bai Cha owns a delicate, soft and relaxing taste, with a light sweet aftertaste.
Characteristic of this green tee variety is the colour of the leaves, rather white than green; in Chinese, bai means white. The lack of pigment is due to the low chlorophyll content of the plant.
The leaves are long and thin, with the necessary self-tension to maintain, thanks also to the roasting technics, their straight shape while drying. Upon steeping, the leaf opens and doubles its width.
The origin of Anji Bai Cha is protected. Only the tea produced in the certified area of Zhejiang province can be labelled Anji Bai Cha.
Learn more about this tea here.
I’m more open minded about green teas these days, after discovering that there are some I actually like (and some I even love!) That they’re not all bitter, astringent and brown came as a bit of a revelation to me. This one is a stunner just to look at. The leaves are long and spiky in appearance (a minimum of 2cm long, and broader across the middle than at the tips), and a fairly uniform grass green. They appear to have been rolled horizontally, and unfurl a little when wet. The scent of the leaves, once brewed, is of asparagus and spring greens. I used 1 tsp of leaf for my cup, and gave it 2.5 minutes in water cooled to around 175 degrees. The resulting liquor is a very, very pale yellow – really almost colourless.
The taste is very mild also, although a lot sweeter than I anticipated based on the scent of the brewed leaves. I was expecting something vegetal, and while there are hints of that, the main flavour I’m picking up is actually reminiscent of sugar beet. It’s thick, sweet, and a little syrupy. Once the initial flavour fades there’s a touch of fresh pea, but it’s pretty faint. It’s not at all what I was expecting from a green tea. As my cup cooled, I did find that the vegetal flavour intensified a little, although it’s still mild in the grand scheme of things. It remained smooth throughout, though, with no bitterness or astringency to be found.
This one makes for a very pleasant, and unusual, cup. I like it when I come across teas that challenge my expectations – often they’re the ones I end up enjoying most because they’re so unlike anything else. This would be a good green tea to introduce those who are wary of the variety, simply because it avoids the characteristics most likely to put someone off. I’d also recommend it to those who love green tea, as an example of something honestly quite different and unusual. An intriguing tea!
I still have a deep rooted (and probably life-long) preference for black tea. My all-time favourite is Assam, but Ceylon and Darjeeling also occupy a place in my heart. Flavoured black tea can be a beautiful thing, and I like a good chai latte in the winter.
I also drink a lot of rooibos/honeybush tea, particularly on an evening. Sometimes they're the best dessert replacements, too. White teas are a staple in summer -- their lightness and delicate nature is something I can always appreciate on a hot day.
I'm still warming up to green teas and oolongs. I don't think they'll ever be my favourites, with a few rare exceptions, but I don't hate them anymore. My experience of these teas is still very much a work-in-progress. I'm also beginning to explore pu'erh, both ripened and raw. That's my latest challenge!
I'm still searching for the perfect fruit tea. One without hibiscus. That actually tastes of fruit.