100g Taiping Houkui 太平猴魁

He Xiaoling

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100.00 Grams
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Taiping Houkui (太平猴魁, Tài Píng Hóu Kuí, "Great Peace Monkey Chief") - Everything about this tea is remarkable, from the unique cultivar used, to its laborious and intensive processing method, down to its name which means “Great Peace Monkey Chief.” Hailing from Anhui province’s famous Huang Shan (Yellow Mountain), Tài Píng Hóu Kuí is one of China’s most famous green teas, and won global recognition by being awarded a gold medal at the 1915 World’s Fair in Panama. For starters, Tài Píng Hóu Kuí is the largest-leafed Chinese green tea, grown from a cultivar known as Shì Dà Zhǒng 柿大種 (“Persimmon Big Type”) because its leaves are as big as those of a persimmon (not really, it’s hyperbole). They are processed over the course of more than 24 hours, with picking beginning at dawn and ending once the morning dew has dried. The picking window can be as short as a week or two depending on the weather, and there is an entire ephemeral village at the top of the mountain that is uninhabited for most of the year that exists just for this brief flurry of activity. The freshly picked tea is allowed to rest before being fixed through the Shā Qīng 殺青 ("Kill the Green") process and fastidiously hand-straightened and subjected to a gradual drying process involving 6 different treatments of charcoal at varying temperatures. The result is instantly recognizable by its huge, flat leaves, full, sweet taste with no bitterness, and vibrant Qi. As with many famous Chinese green teas, counterfeits abound - the most traditional, such as the one we source from master He Xiaoling, are large and flat but not completely irregular, and lack the distinctive grid lines of the half-handmade versions. These half-handmade teas are pressed using a roller between canvas, which hastens the processing but squeezes out the juice of the tea, reducing its flavor. Completely counterfeit versions are produced from other varieties of tea and are flattened to make them appear larger. These also lack grid lines but can be identified by their exaggerated size, larger than real Tài Píng Hóu Kuí, and being flattened to the point of translucency.