I recently received a 5 gram dragon ball of this tea as a free sample with an order from Beautiful Taiwan Tea Company. Since I’m still sick, I’m trying to watch my caffeine intake. It had been way out of hand for a number of months, and not only had burnout fully set in, but I was becoming increasingly prone to infections. I’m trying to stick with a single session, either Western or gongfu, per day, though I do plan to take at least one day off each week. Anyway, getting back on track here, I found this to be a pleasant white tea with which to close out the day.

I prepared this tea gongfu style. After a 10 second rinse, I steeped the 5 gram dragon ball in 4 ounces of 205 F water for 10 seconds. This initial infusion was followed by 13 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 12 seconds, 15 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, and 5 minutes.

Prior to the rinse, the dry tea ball emitted mild aromas of honey, nuts, elderflower, and fruit. After the rinse, the aromas of honey, nuts, elderflower, and fruit intensified and a slightly yeasty, bready aroma began to emerge. The first infusion produced a bouquet primarily comprised of yeast roll, honey, almond, elderflower, and elderberry aromas. In the mouth, the tea liquor displayed a smooth, silky texture and mild notes of butter, elderflower, elderberry, honey, yellow plum, and yeast rolls. Subsequent infusions brought out impressions of sweet cherry, almond, white peach, and rose underscored by barely perceptible traces of hay and menthol. Later infusions maintained the tea’s smoothness in the mouth, while the nose and palate began to increasingly emphasize the almond, butter, and yeast roll impressions. Subtle impressions of honey, elderberry, cherry, and hay lingered in the background. A very fine minerality also showed itself.

This was an interesting tea. I don’t have a ton of experience with Shou Mei, but this struck me as being a very good, very sophisticated one. I got practically no astringency at all. In the end, I would have no problem recommending this tea to anyone looking for a quality white tea.

Flavors: Almond, Bread, Butter, Cherry, Floral, Fruity, Hay, Honey, Menthol, Mineral, Peach, Plum, Rose

205 °F / 96 °C 5 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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My grading criteria for tea is as follows:

90-100: Exceptional. I love this stuff. If I can get it, I will drink it pretty much every day.

80-89: Very good. I really like this stuff and wouldn’t mind keeping it around for regular consumption.

70-79: Good. I like this stuff, but may or may not reach for it regularly.

60-69: Solid. I rather like this stuff and think it’s a little bit better-than-average. I’ll drink it with no complaints, but am more likely to reach for something I find more enjoyable than revisit it with regularity.

50-59: Average. I find this stuff to be more or less okay, but it is highly doubtful that I will revisit it in the near future if at all.

40-49: A little below average. I don’t really care for this tea and likely won’t have it again.

39 and lower: Varying degrees of yucky.

Don’t be surprised if my average scores are a bit on the high side because I tend to know what I like and what I dislike and will steer clear of teas I am likely to find unappealing.



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