|Country of Origin:
||Shanghai or Hong Kong
||1500 - 4200 feet
||Steamed green tea
||Greenish yellow color. There is good body in the cup and
smooth fresh greenish tasting liquor.
||Pale yellow green
Hyson translates to “Flourishing Spring” and
this particular varietal imparts the fresh green character you would expect to
be a part of any springtime tea experience. Traditionally hyson referred to old
to medium leaves (leaves below the new growing shoots at the top of the bush)
manufactured in a rolled long twisted and sometimes almost clam shaped. The term
‘young’ was added to the nomenclature to distinguish that the tea was made
from young leaves (new shoots) and therefore better quality and better tasting.
This tea became so highly favored in the 1700’s that the British Tea Tax was
actually higher for this variety over other teas.
Right from the first sale of tea in England in
the mid 1600’s, the English took a shine to tea. The government quickly
realized the possibilities and levied taxes on tea that remained until the late
1700’s. With all the associated taxes on tea and ‘young hyson’ being taxed
even higher!, there were all sorts of various schemes done to dodge the taxes.
Servants in upper class homes would dry the used leaves and resell them. Other
unscrupulous people would ‘cut’ the tea with leaves from various trees such
as beech or hawthorn. Smuggling China teas into England reached a feverish peak
in the mid 1700’s and the ports of France and Belgium were used as the
‘jump-off’ points for night voyages to Cornwall and Wales. The chancellor of
the exchequer and the East India Company were aware of the extent of their
losses and realized that only a large tax cut would make legal imports
competitive with contraband tea. This finally occurred in 1784 with the passing
of the Commutation Act.
Hot tea brewing method: When preparing by
the cup, this tea can be used repeatedly - about 3 times. The secret is to use
water that is about 180’F or 80’C. Place 1 teaspoon in your cup, let the tea
steep for about 3 minutes and then begin enjoying a cup of enchantment - do not
remove the leaves from the cup. Once the water level is low - add more water,
and so on and so on - until the flavor of the tea is exhausted. Look at the
pattern of the leaves in the brew, they foretell your fortune!
Alternatively as with all top quality teas, scoop
2-4 teaspoons of tea into the teapot, pour in boiling water that has been
freshly drawn (previously boiled water has lost most of its oxygen and therefore
tends to be flat tasting), steep for 2-4 minutes (to taste), stir (virtually all
the leaves will sink -the flowers will float), pour into your cup but do not add
milk or sugar since green tea is enjoyed ‘straight-up’.
Iced tea brewing method: (to make 1
liter/quart) : Place 6 teaspoons of tea into a teapot or heat resistant
pitcher. Pour 1 1/4 cups of freshly boiled water over the tea. Steep for 5
minutes. Quarter fill a serving pitcher with cold water. Pour the tea into your
serving pitcher straining the leaves. Add ice and top up the pitcher with
cold water. Garnish and sweeten to taste. [A rule of thumb when preparing fresh
brewed iced tea is to double the strength of hot tea since it will be poured
over ice and diluted with cold water.]