Hound's Head Mountain green tea is produced in Jiang Xi province's Sui Zhou County (遂川县), one of the poorest regions of China. Jiang Xi historically produces famous green teas, most of which are alien to Singaporeans who are more familiar with the more famous green teas like Lion's Peak Long Jing and Dong Ting Bi Luo Chun. The unusual name of this tea distracts the fact that it is historical, famous and award winning. Within it, it was said that Shui Zhou has 5,000 years of tea history, 1,000 years of being a renowned tea region and 100 years of winning awards in tea.
In the late 18th century under the rule of Emperor Jiaqing, he named the tea after the mountain it was grown and decreed that it be a royal tea. It was first introduced to the world when it won gold medals at the 1915 Panama–Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco, again at the Expo 2010 Shanghai China and more recently, Expo 2015 World Expo in Milan.
Like all historical teas, there is a legend and we pick a version that is associated with the discoverer of tea - Shen Nong (神农). The story that Shen Nong poisoned himself inevitably while studying the various wild herbs has been repeatedly retold. The part that it was a dog which brought him his life-saving stalk of elixir - of course that being tea - was less unknown. Surely, he was relieved of the toxicity and he planted that stalk at Tang Lake (汤湖) of Sui Zhou County. Accordingly, it sprung into a wild tea forest. The legendary dog transformed itself into a mountain in its own image, explaining the origin of the mountain's name which means hound's head.
The bio-diversity of the region is commensurate with its association to Shen Nong. Constantly shrouded in fog and mist with mostly defused sunlight, the largely forested area is habitat for myriad species of fauna and flora. Tea grows slowly in this environment, developing elegant and fine notes as it grows and buds when the sunlight of spring shines upon the land. The technique of this tea was first invented by Liang Chuan Shi (梁传谥) during the Qing dynasty. It was controlled by the family till the 5th generation when they released the secrets of the tea to public domain.
Our tea is picked 1 bud and 2 leaves before Qingming (5th April 2023), meaning that it is an early picking and highly sought after. This tea is pan-fried. The shape is tiny and dark green, tightly rolled and lightly curled at the tips, with a good amount of tips covered with white downy hair. It is protected as a Geographical Indicator product of China since 2004.
We are brewing this tea in our Parchmen Glass Gaiwan, using 3g of tea to 120ml of 75°C distilled water for 45 seconds. Brewing a green tea is always visually appealing, when it comes alive and turns a lighter green during the brew. Brewed tea is light yellow in colour, vegetal and nuts forward, with notes of coriander, spinach and roasted almond, accompanied by a hint of magnolia flowers, overlaid with minerality, sweetness and a syrupy texture. Curiously, there is a hint of toffee and roasted coffee acidity. It finishes with a clean aftertaste when hot, and turns a creamy mouthfeel when cooler.
Enjoy a fresh green tea while it lasts. This tea can be brewed twice.