A white tea tasting

White and yellow teas are among the most subtle.

A white tea tasting

Postby debunix » Feb 28th, '10, 15:10

Setup:2 grams of tea in 75 mL gaiwan, water 160 degrees, 1st infusion 1 minute; 2nd infusion 165 degrees 1 minutes; 3rd infusion 170 degrees 2 minutes

Silver Needle Yellow Tea from Hunan (Wing Hop Fung)
Dry Leaves: green, needle-like; grassy, lemony, sweet
Liquor, 1st infusion: grassy, lemony, astringent
Liquor, 2nd infusion: grassy, astringent, bitter developing
Liquor, 3rd infusion: grassy, astringent, bitter, but not strong
Wet Leaves: single or paired narrow small leaves, grayer than the very fresh yellow-green of the last tea, but otherwise similar; overcooked vegetable odor

Yin Zhen Silver Needle (Chado)
Dry Leaves: pale, downy, narrow; light, floral, sweet
Liquor, 1st infusion: sweet, floral, delicate
Liquor, 2nd infusion: sweet, floral, delicate, touch of astringency
Liquor, 3rd infusion: camphor, floral, astringency increasing, weaker
Wet Leaves: thin narrow sage green leaves; still sweet, vegetal aroma

Organic Bai Mu Dan aka Peony White Tea (Wing Hop Fung)
Dry Leaves: some downy needles, a bit twiggy, some open very thin green leaves; sweet, floral, grassy
Liquor, 1st infusion: very vegetal and also peachy, delicate, camphor, sweet
Liquor, 2nd infusion: peachy, sweet, floral, less vegetal
Liquor, 3rd infusion: peachy, floral
Wet Leaves: mixed leaf pieces and stems; peachy, camphor aroma

Precious Rare White Tea (Wing Hop Fung)
Dry Leaves: neat, even, deep bright green needle-like leaves, not downy; delicate grassy odor
Liquor, 1st infusion: sweet, vegetal, nutty, strong resemblance to long jing
Liquor, 2nd infusion: sweet, vegetal, like a very delicate long jingo
Liquor, 3rd infusion: nutty, vegetal, very very nice
Wet Leaves: delicate single or paired tiny leaves, intact; sweet cooked pea aroma

upper left is Silver Needle Yellow Tea from Hunan (Wing Hop Fung); upper right is Yin Zhen Silver Needle (Chado); lower left Organic Bai Mu Dan aka Peony White Tea (Wing Hop Fung); lower right is Precious Rare White Tea (Wing Hop Fung)

Dry leaves
Image

Infused liquor
Image

Wet leaves
Image

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Re: A white tea tasting

Postby Victoria » Feb 28th, '10, 15:22

Thanks for the great reviews!! I think I have some of that WHF Precious Rare White Tea around here somewhere. I need to re-try that one.

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Re: A white tea tasting

Postby Chip » Feb 28th, '10, 17:08

Excellent presentation! Thank you.

Could you rate them perhaps, so we can see how they rank?

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Re: A white tea tasting

Postby debunix » Mar 1st, '10, 02:10

That's the hard part. I had to stop to prepare for houseguests and was having a hard time trying to figure that part out.

I didn't enjoy the Silver Needle Yellow Tea very much after the first infusion, but this was my first attempt with it and it may want a different treatment than the white teas.

The Bai Mu Dan was lovely but I keep going back and forth about it--the peach/floral flavor is very strong, and I think would pair marvelously with a fruity dessert, or a spring morning in the garden, but isn't as broadly appealing at the last two.

The Yin Zhen I've liked for a long time, but recently I've been drinking less of it since I got better at green tea brewing, but this time it was so very good that I'm sure it will be getting more play in the near future.

The Precious Rare White Tea was amazing, like a slightly more delicate Long Jing, and quite lived up to the price. It was the one that I liked best today, but it may have been as much because I've been drinking (and craving) a lot of that lately.

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Re: A white tea tasting

Postby entropyembrace » Mar 1st, '10, 22:04

Funny you said the precious rare white tea tastes a lot like long jing...I was thinking the wet leaves look a lot like the sample of high grade long jing I had from jing tea shop last year :) I wonder if maybe it´s made with a long jing varietal?

The bai mu dan seems very appealing too...I generally really enjoy twiggy bai mu dan with that peachy fruit character ^.^

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Re: A white tea tasting

Postby Chip » Mar 1st, '10, 22:07

Thanks again, debunix. That is very helpful.

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Re: A white tea tasting

Postby spinmail » Jun 21st, '10, 14:38

I'm a little late to the party, but I loved the tasting here. It's almost like getting a grand tour of a variety of teas along a range of criteria.

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Re: A white tea tasting

Postby TIM » Jun 23rd, '10, 11:29

Brewing the Bai Mu Dan as ice tea are one of my favorite thing in a hot summer. Nice review debunix :D

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Re: A white tea tasting

Postby debunix » Jul 11th, '10, 16:46

Another round, with teas from the Cultured Cup: Pai Mu Tan, and Yin Zhen.

2 grams of tea in small gaiwans, 2 ounces/60mL water 160°F/71°C.

But before the water hits the tea, even the scent of this Yin Zhen is so much stronger than the version I had before, and it has a strong peach/plum odor, almost like last night's Hawaiian oolong. Mmmm. Anticipation! And the Pai Mu Tan has an equally delicious odor, but I expected that.

As soon as the water hits the tea, the scent shifts to vegetal, very strongly, but by the end, the wet leaves have a milder scent with some floral amidst the vegetal.

Again, after 30 seconds, the Yin Zhen liquor is paler than the Pai Mu Tan, light creamy yellow vs medium gold--but the flavors are closer than the colors. The Yin Zhen is a little more delicately vegetal, and the Pai Mu Tan has a bit more of a peach/camphor, almost fermented fruitiness.

The second infusion went longer, pushing the teas a bit, to 90 seconds/2 minutes. Now I'm seeing a stronger difference, with a deeper flavor to the Pai Mu Tan, and a more delicate flavor to the Yin Zhen. There is a slight bit of astringency to the Pai Mu Tan, but none to the Yin Zhen.

For a 3rd infusion (about 1 minute), both teas are quite nice, but the difference is more pronounced: the Pai Mu Tan is more like a ripe fruit, and the Yin Zhen is like the flower before the fruit.

Both still pleasing at infusion 4 (1 minute); at infusion 5, the difference again is more amplified: the Pai Mu Tan has lost the sweetness, and there's some caramel but also some astringency; the Yin Zhen is still pretty light and floral; 6th infusion (shorter again than the 5th), the Pai Mu Tan has a little lighter touch with a nicer balance of fruity and floral still present. A 7th & final infusion (the kettle is running out of water), at 180 degrees (because the Pino has trouble holding temp when the water level is low), there is still some lovely flavor coming out.

Stopping now for lack of water, and lack of liquid capacity, rather than lack of potential for a few more infusions.

I think the Silver Needle I was tasting before was quite old, and showed it. This one had a much richer and more interesting flavor.

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