- White Tea Background
- White Peony Classic Long Preparation
Zhenghe Mudan Wang: While White Peony from Fuding tastes more floral, that from the other earliest region, Zhenghe, tastes longer and deeper. The soft aroma in tones of cooked grains and new leaf sprouts has undertones of honey and cream. The bright, malty infusion has hints of herbal roots with high notes of raw ginseng ending with a floral sweetness and a lingering sweet aftertaste.
The more tedious curing process of White Peony Classic Long, Traditional China White Tea, is marked by the darker colors of the leaves. While many prize Silver Needle Supreme for its delicate taste and furry appearance, a superb traditional white tea such as White Peony Classic Long delivers a more impressive taste experience. That may explain why this Mudan Wang, aka King of White Peony, is considered the best and most classical representation from the origin, and a favourite by many tea connoisseurs. As most aficionados prefer it, we have always matured this tea adequately before releasing it in the shop. The current stock is a single batch first flush ( i.e. pre-Qing-ming ) harvest from 2019.
Origin: Zhenghe, Fujian Province, China
Ingredients: China white tea
White tea was initially produced in the 1870's in the northeastern part of Fujian Province, in areas ranging from Zhenghe to Fuding. The aroma is fresh, mellow, floral with a note of cut hay and a malt undertone. Infused properly, it is an easy tasting tea that is fresh, slightly sweet, with medium body and yet light enough for all-day consumption. The Fuding (fú•dǐng) variety, which normally is a very low fermentation style, tastes brighter and the Zhenghe (zhèng•hé) variety, which is more fermented, is comparatively sharper and deeper, giving much fuller body.
White tea differs from other teas not only in the kind of leaf used, but also in the actual processing. The leaves are not steamed or pan-fired (the process used in green teas). Rather, they are naturally withered and dried in the sun. If mechanical drying is required it is a baking process at temperatures less that 40˚C. White teas that are withered in conditions that are too hot with become reddish and in conditions that are too cold they will become blackish. You will see on our Imperial White Peony that the tea maker struck the perfect balance between solar and indoor withering resulting in a perfect white tea.
The western cosmetic industry has recently discovered the benefits of white tea. In addition to its anticancer properties, tea has a calming and detoxifying effect on the skin. White tea is especially potent in that it is has three times as many antioxidant polyphenols as green or black tea and has been shown to be 100% more effective in mopping up free radicals that cause skin to sag. Some of the world's top cosmetic companies are becoming very interested in white tea for skin creams and the result is that high grade white tea is becoming even more rare than before. Researchers at the Linus Pauling Institute in Oregon tested white teas on selected rats to test for the ability of white teas to inhibit natural mutations in bacteria and to protect the rats from colon cancer. Interestingly, white teas were found to be more effective than green tea in inhibiting the early stages of cancer but researchers were quick to point out that their study was on rats and the effects should not be extrapolated to humans. The researchers also discovered that white tea contains higher levels of caffeine compared to green tea brewed under the same conditions. They suggested that this could occur because white tea oxidizes during withering whereas in green tea the oxidation process is stopped early in the tea making process by steaming or pan firing.
Water Temperature: Near boiling
Water Quality: Best with Spring Water
Amount of Leaf (per 6 fl oz water): 1 heaping Tbl. (2.5 to 3 grams)
Steep Time: 2-3 minutes
Number of Infusions: 3-4
Contrary to myths propagated by vendors who sell imitation products, or green tea disguised as White Peony King, traditionally processed White Peony should be infused with near boiling water to render its full taste potential. Always blanch the leaves once before actual brewing. White Peony of the traditional Zhenghe style is also suitable for shorter steeping time, when a higher tealeaves to water ratio is used.
White Tea can be prepared in a standard teapot, or in your favorite mug or lidded gaiwan. For best results, we recommend that you pre-warm your vessel, and place 2.5-3 grams of leaf per 6 oz of liquid, before infusing with near boiling water for 2-3 minutes. White Tea can be infused at least three times. Increase the time and temperature slightly with each subsequent infusion. Experimenting with your own temperatures and steeping times is encouraged, especially with such a forgiving tea. Cooler temperatures and shorter times yield more mellow, fruity elements, while hotter water and longer times produce more floral and full-bodied complexities. Always use the best-tasting water you can find, and adjust steeping times, quantity of leaves, and water temperature to your personal preferences.
We highly recommend brewing your tea in a teapot or mug with a removable infuser so that you can remove the leaves at the end of the steeping time. Whole leaf teas of this quality need room to unfurl and expand in the water in order to perform their "magic." If you don't have a removable infuser, you can brew the loose leaves directly in the pot. At the end of the steeping time, pour all of the tea into a warm serving pitcher or pot.