While I’ve had many White Peony teas before, this one really takes the cake, and the blue ribbon too. These leaves and buds have been awarded first-prize by judges in Fujian, where this classic white tea first appeared on the scene a short 150 years back.
Two leaves and one bud: That’s how every White Peony is harvested, and what differentiates it from the other white teas in the region. The ratio represents a balanced emphasis of fragrance and taste. This harvest has found magic in the mixture, with satisfying cola and tamarind notes from the leaves and serene fruity fragrances from the buds.
White Tea: The process of making white tea is very minimal. Just harvesting, withering, and drying. Even simpler than green tea. You could say that any tea plant could be made into a White Tea by harvesting the new growth in April and crafting the tea accordingly, but in truth it is always certain varietals that lend themselves better to the different types of tea. If you aren’t familiar with the term “varietal”, it means the specific strand of the tea plant. The White Peony we have is from the dabaicha varietal.
Dabaicha: The name of this varietal means big white tea. Sprinkling some White Peony into your teapot or gaiwan, you can see and feel the large velvety buds mixed in with the crisp open leaves. The buds, or needles (same thing), have little white hairs that give White Tea its name. Lots of teas have buds, like Alishan for example, but few have so much fuzz. This White Peony is an example of varietal and style working together.
My dreamy notes: Fuzz from the buds mixes into the tea-broth and even tastes a bit like the peaches I got last week at the farmer’s market, with the fuzzy texture and that same mixture of juiciness and light astringency. I find the tea’s energy to be softly integrating to the point of sigh-inducing relief, as if those plush needles got together to make a comfy new bed for me to fall into. I seriously sigh almost every time I drink it, which is a welcome support for letting go of any lingering summer frenzy in favor of Autumnal clarity.
White Peony tasting notes 8/03/22
Aroma: dried apricot, sarsaparilla root, kombu
Flavors: orange blossom, cola, tamarind
Character: Reminiscent of “creamsicles” from the gentle citrus and creamy notes, but with medium tannins that give it firm structure