碧螺春茶的春天氣息
Spring in a cup of Bilouchun


文/許玉蓮 By Hooi Yoke Lien

品味春天,不可錯過品味碧螺春茶,碧螺春茶只在春季採摘、製作,它的葉芽幼嫩,茶葉外形色澤碧綠,緊細、蜷曲,白毫多。它湯色碧綠清澈,它香味濃郁,醇和,鮮爽生津。喝時清香襲人,彷彿嗅聞到春天田園的氣息。
Biluochun is described as embodying the aroma and flavour of spring. Tender buds and leaves are cropped and processed early spring. The delicate green shoots with dense white tips are rolled into tight spirals.  The tealeaves give an emerald green infusion with intense aroma and a round palate. Immensely invigorating and refreshing, it has a pronounced floral bouquet that reminds one of the countryside in spring.
 

碧螺春茶産於江蘇,蘇州,太湖洞庭山。洞庭分東、西兩山,洞庭東山是宛如一個巨舟伸進太湖的半島,洞庭西山是一個屹立在湖中的島嶼。兩山的氣候溫和,有陽光,也經常下雨,太湖水面,水氣升騰,霧氣悠悠,空氣濕潤,碧螺春茶芽在此處長得很肥嫩。
Biluochun is grown in the Dongting Shan (Dongting Mountain) region of Taihu (Lake Tai) in Suzhou, Jiangsu Province. The mountain is divided into two parts: the east and west. The east mountain protrudes into the lake like a giant ark, while the west mountain stands along in the middle of the lake. Both mountains enjoy warm climate with plenty of sunlight and rainfall.  Moist air rises off the lake surfaces, transforming the water vapour into a curtain of beautiful mist. It is in this environment that the fresh Biluochun leaves thrive.
 
碧螺春茶主要制茶工序為:採茶、揀剔、殺青、揉捻、搓團顯毫、烘乾。採摘時注重採茶樹嫩梢初展的嫩芽頭,茶農們清晨上山採茶,午飯在山上吃。午前回到家裡,將芽葉置屋裡陰涼通風處薄攤,開始逐個撿剔,撿去枝梗、老片等雜質。只選取優良嫩芽,傍晚開始炒制。
The processing of Biluochun involves picking of fresh leaves, sorting, fixation, rolling, rubbing and tip showing, and drying. Only buds with slightly opened leaves are picked. Tea farmers will go up the mountain and start picking the tender leaves early in the morning; they will stay until noon when they have their lunch, after which they will return home.  Freshly plucked leaves will be spread thinly in a shady and cool spot of the house. Tea farmers then begin sorting the leaves. Impurities such as twigs and substandard, old leaves are discarded; they will make sure only the best tender buds are kept. Panning will start in the evening. 
 
炒茶(即殺青)時用雙手進行翻炒,要把鮮葉炒得透勻。接下來揉捻鮮葉,鍋溫要達到70~75°C,炒茶師邊炒,邊揉,邊抖。第三,鍋溫降低至50~60°C,將葉子反覆進行搓團顯毫,讓茶葉形狀成形。第四個過程就是烘乾了,其手法就是輕炒、輕揉,一定要想辦法把水分蒸發,茶葉干的差不多的時候,在桑皮紙上把茶葉攤放好,置放在文火上來慢慢烘乾。
Panning (fixation) involves the using of both hands to keep turning the fresh leaves. This is followed by rolling and twisting with the wok reaching a temperature of 70 - 75°C. The tea frying master pan-fries, rolls and jiggles the tealeaves at the same time. After this, the wok temperature will drop to 50 - 60°C, during which tealeaves will be rubbed and twisted into shape, with the tips gathered and becoming conspicuous. Lastly, using gentle movement, the tea frying master will ensure all moisture evaporates from the tealeaves. When the leaves are almost dried, they will be spread on milled mulberry paper to be slowly dried over very gentle heat.  
 
碧螺春要怎麼沖泡才能盡現它的美味呢?首先泡茶器要選用瓷蓋杯,置入1/5量的茶葉。熱水先倒入茶海使其散熱降溫,等至水溫大約60~70°c,把水倒入蓋杯裡浸泡茶葉,浸約20~30秒,把茶湯到出來,可開始品賞。品味碧螺春茶時,要用心品出鮮爽裡的一抹苦味,苦得非常甘美。
 
How should we brew Biluochun to bring out its full flavour? First, fill 1/5 of your lidded porcelain cup with tealeaves. Pour hot water into the water pitcher to let some heat dissipates; when the temperature drops to 60 - 70°C, pour water into the lidded cup and let the tealeaves steep for 20 to 30 seconds. Pour infusion out and enjoy.  Enjoying Biluochun would also mean appreciating the hint of bitterness in this lively and refined brew – the bitter-sweetness is part and parcel of the beauty of Biluochun.