Gan Lu Green Tea is really noteworthy. So, what is it that makes this green tea “noteworthy?”
So much of what makes a tea noteworthy involves the context in which we taste it for the first time. The presence of a close friend makes any tea more delicious. Imagine sipping your favorite tea, sitting thousands of feet above sea level. Where does your imagination take you? Are you on a mountaintop, overlooking miles of rolling hills and valleys? Or maybe in a Manhattan penthouse, overlooking the bustling machines of industry going about their business? If you have a really wild imagination, are you sitting in a helicopter? Or maybe even just floating in mid-air, with nothing but space and emptiness below you and above your for thousands of feet?
The first time we tasted this tea, it was on Mike’s first trip to mainland China. The night he landed, as he checked into a hotel in Yunnan’s capital, Kunming, he was greeted with a cup of “gan lu” that had been harvested no more than a few weeks before. Green tea at night is usually a no-no. It takes about two hours for the caffeine in green tea to fully release into the bloodstream. But Mike thought it would be easy to fall asleep after such a long, tricky travel schedule.
In our (sometimes) humble opinion, when it comes to brewing, green tea is the trickiest category. The caffeine in green tea is wound up and bound in a larger molecule called a “tannin.” The tannins also contain the healthy antioxidants we search for in tea. So, we certainly want to extract a certain amount of tannins when we brew green tea. However, if we extract too many tannins, the result is a very bitter flavor and an abrasively dry mouthfeel. The tannin actually breaks apart the molecules in our saliva and pulls the water molecules out of our saliva and into the tannin. That’s why we get that dry mouthfeel. If tannins are really aggressively extracted, we can get a similar drying effect in the stomach, that can cause stomach-aches and head-aches.
To make sure we don’t over-extract tannins, it’s very important that we never use boiling water to make green tea. Water around 185*F or 85* C is usually perfect for green tea. But, we’ve been in the tea industry since 2011, and if there’s anything we’ve learned since then, it’s that people are definitely going to brew green tea with boiling water, regardless of our advice! With that in mind, every time we taste a green tea, we are hyper-sensitive to bitterness. If a tea tastes a little bitter to us, it raises a red flag. We know that many of our customers might brew this tea with water that’s a little too hot sometimes. So, we’re always looking for green teas with full flavors that keep the bitterness at bay.
Meng Ding mountain is also where our Jasmine Cloud Green Tea and our Mao Feng Green Tea come from. They have been making tea for over a thousand years. In the ancient trade routs of the Tea Horse Road and the Silk Road, Meng Ding Mountain was an important stop for tea production. With such a long history, there are many different grades of tea that come out of Meng Ding Mountain. Gan Lu is the highest grade that we offer. It has a strict plucking standard of one bud to one leaf. The discipline of the pluck is undeniable in each cup. But the flavor and aroma of Gan Lu Green Tea is really what makes it shine.
We believe that green tea is a world of subtlety and nuance. And there is no way to describe Gan Lu Green Tea without subtlety and nuance. Gan Lu insists on mellowness and refinement. Its buds usually sink right down to the bottom as soon as they’re hit with water, making them the perfect candidate for summer sipping, grandpa style. Take a light tablespoon of this tea, put it in a cup, and hit it with water. Don’t even worry about straining the tea. Let it sit until it’s cool enough to sip. And then never let the water run out. Once you start running low, top it off with boiling water again and keep sipping.
Cheers, tea lovers!