Wild Bitter Tea (Tianshan Lushui) from Enjoying Tea

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Herbal

Where to Buy:  Enjoying Tea

Company Description:

This is a rare and expensive tea grown in Zhejiang province. In Chinese medical journals the Tianshan Lushui is known to lower cholesterols and help with weight loss. This tea produces a green color liquid. The better its quality is, the greener the color. This tea has traditionally been used as a diet tea in palaces by the empress and princesses of ancient China. Because this tea is very concentrated, we suggest using one teaspoon of tealeaves for every 500ml of water.

Taster’s Review:

These tiny leaves are so much fun to watch as they brew.  When I first watched them, the first thought that came into my head is that this is “instant gratification for tea watchers” – because it unfurls much like a gunpowder or pearl, but much faster.  It is kind of like watching a gunpowder tea unfurl in fast forward.

I was a little afraid to taste this tea, to be honest.  When the name of the tea is “bitter” – I get a little worried.  But, really, this is “bitter” in a good way.  Kind of like dandelion greens.  And that is a really good description of this tea, because when they unfurl, the damp leaves look like baby dandelion greens!  Really tiny, baby dandelion greens!

This is actually quite good.  It has a savory quality that I’m finding very rewarding.  The key is to not over brew it, I found that with a short brew time (I brewed it for about 1 1/2 minutes in hot but not boiling water) the flavor is lightly bitter, with an interesting sweet background note.  It’s a very crisp, bright, herbal taste that I’m finding rather energizing.  Vibrant!

I also recommend not using too much leaf when you brew this, because the flavor is quite intense.  Too much leaf will result in a cup that is quite bitter, and because the bitter is so overwhelming, it is difficult to enjoy the other flavors that this tea possesses.   A lighter infusion allows the many dimensions of this leaf to come alive in the teacup!

By now, you might be wondering what “Tianshan Lushui” is – is it a tea (as in Camellia Sinensis) or is it something else?  Well, I was not entirely sure if it came from the Camellia Sinensis plant, so I contacted Enjoying Tea for more information.  I was very impressed with the speed in which they responded!

They informed me that it is in fact an herb and not from the Camellia Sinensis plant.  I also did a little research of my own, and found that this herb is also often called “small-leaf bitter tea.”  It is often utilized to help cool the body temperature, as well as help to lower cholesterol and improve blood circulation.  It’s also supposed to be good for the skin!  So while it’s not a true tea, it is a tasty herb and very good for you!  Cheers!

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