In May I stopped browsing the menu at Teance. I’ve read it too many times, and I’ve remembered all the names. Most of them I’ve tried. Some were out of stock. The Nanjing Rain Flower (Yu Hua from Nanjing, Jiangsu province) remained one of three green teas that I hadn’t tasted since February. Weeks after weeks I asked, but this year’s harvest hadn’t arrived. Then the one week I was out of town, Teance called to let me know that the Rain Flower finally got there, but I got even busier after I came back that a few weeks passed before I could lay my tongue on it. Anticipation built.
Here’s the description from Teance:
Only the top, early grown immature buds were hand-harvested from Gaochun, Nanjing. The artisans sort through every bud by hand to ensure that each is about the same size and that no other little leaves are attached. The Sha Ching process demands expert knowledge of when oxidation will be arrested, as well as drying the teas with their bare hands, to make sure that the fiery hot 100 C wok will not burn any of the leaves (even as the hands of these master artisans are burnt). In a one hour long continuous process, 25 years of experience culminates into tea leaves so delicate they resemble fine, straight hair, like pine needles or a small blade. The taste? Exquisitely sweet and creamy, indescribable and must be tried at least once.
The smell resembles Lu Shan Clouds & Mist: buttery. The taste? Well, from such pretty name I expected something dew-like, elevating, fragile, ethereal, but this taste landed too thick, too close to earth. It drummed. I was expecting flute.