I'm tasting some Lu Zhen Green Needles for the first time this morning. It's a little-known tea from Hubei, China. This current batch from Rishi Tea is the result of a revival of an ancient tradition in that region.
I've learned over the years that when a tea is really fresh, and I get to be the first person to cut open the vacuum-sealed package that contains it, it usually means I'm in for a treat. I get really excited when I hear that rush of air and feel the bag expand.
I have two types: roasted and steamed. This morning I went with the roasted. I enjoyed the first and second infusions, but on the third I noted some orchid notes that made me think of the high mountain oolongs from Taiwan that I like so much. Except, these orchid notes are paired with some unusual green evergreen notes. If I drew you a map of the flavor progression, it would start with orchid and finish long with some green, nutty, almost piney flavors.
The leaves themselves are beautiful. Aptly named 'needles,' this particular varietal of tea bushes leaves are thin and pointed. I'm going to be tasting it again tomorrow morning with some friends and am looking forward to hearing their impressions.