I've just learned all sorts of things today.
Bai Ji Guan is a Wuyi yancha, one of the Si Da Ming Cong, or four great tea bushes (Da Hong Pao, Shui Jin Gui, Tie Luo Han, and Bai Ji Guan).
The tea is named for a rooster that sacrificed its life to protect a child from an eagle. The legend is that after a monk witnessed the courage of the rooster, he buried it, and from that spot the Bai Ji Guan bush grew.
This is something I do enjoy about Chinese tea, the bits of mythology, legend, and religion that go hand in hand with the tea, Da Hong Pao, Tai Guan Yin. It is something you don't find, or I haven't found, in Japanese tea.
The tea in the package smells like an empty cigarette pack. I mean that in the best way possible; it brings back fond memories of childhood. I would always smell my dad's empty cigarette packs. I love the smell. Paper and a rich, sweet sort of earthiness.
The tea has a playful, astringent bite on the tip of the tongue, followed by the ubiquitous, cacao Wuyi-ness. It is rather dry with a thin mouth feel and an easy finish.
For those of you like me who are interested in learning more about the countries, cultures and people that produce our tea, you may want to check out this month's issue of National Geographic, a special issue dedicated solely to China. The pictures alone are well worth it.
And you get a free map!
"I'm a Chinese, but I feel it difficult to see my country clearly," wrote one student in Fuling. With pictures of conspicuous consumer socialites on one page, 'poor' Yunnan farmers the next, it is not hard to imagine.