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The Tea Formally Known as Scary Fragrance: Bi Luo Chun

Yufei Weng

A Qing Dynasty emperor once tasted a green tea known at the time as Scary Fragrance. When the emperor tasted the tea though, he did not think the name matched the beautiful taste. He renamed it Bi Luo Chun, which means green snail spring.

Today Bi Luo Chun is one of China’s most popular teas. It considered best when sourced from Dong Ting Mountain. This is a mountain located on an island in a lake. The process of making Bi Luo Chun is very tedious because the picking is very specific. For Bi Luo Chun they use only super tiny buds. If you have a tea with a lot of large leaves is it not desired.

Bi Luo Chun is a stir fried green tea, like Long Jing, which gives it a strong taste. The leaves are rolled in the wok to not only give them their shape, but to also break the cell membrane to release flavor. The rolling process takes about 45 minutes when done my hand. The careful work that goes into making a good Bi Luo Chun is part of what makes it so expensive.

A trick to telling if a Bi Luo Chun is made well is if it sinks to the bottom of your cup as soon as you put it in water. (Remember for Bi Luo Chun you put the water in first). A quick sink is the sign of good a making technique. While this doesn’t tell you everything about the tea, usually an excellently crafted tea starts from high quality leaves.

For more information check out our video page where Shunan breaks down Bi Luo Chun right from Dong Ting!

You can also purchase Bi Luo Chun here