I think I am long past the point where I need to take a break on some of these backlogged reviews from May and June and move on to some of the teas I have consumed more recently. This review marks my decision to do just that. I have made it no secret that I have been trying more white teas recently in order to gain more of an appreciation of them. To that end, I bought quite a few white teas at the end of 2017 and earlier this year. I wanted to try a range of white teas, and I have been slowly getting around to working my way through a number of them. Interestingly enough, I ended up with several identical teas from different vendors. This white tea (a Feng Qing tea from Yunnan Province) is the same tea from the same harvest (spring 2017) as the Silver Needles White Tea of Feng Qing * Spring 2017 that I purchased from Yunnan Sourcing. What-Cha and Yunnan Sourcing recommended different water temperatures and preparation methods, however, so I decided to try the two teas back-to-back using an identical preparation method (gongfu), but with different water temperatures (What-Cha’s recommended temperature vs. the temperature I use for Yunnan Sourcing white teas).
Obviously, I prepared this tea gongfu style. I literally just said that at the end of the preceding paragraph. After a quick rinse, I steeped 6 grams of loose leaf buds in 4 ounces of 194 F water for 8 seconds. This infusion was chased by 16 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 10 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 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, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, and 10 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry leaf buds emitted aromas of hay, straw, marshmallow, sugarcane, and eucalyptus. After the rinse, I noted new aromas of wood, malt, and lemon. The first infusion then added aromas of vanilla, dried leaves, and cinnamon. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of cream, hay, straw, sugarcane, marshmallow, and eucalyptus balanced by impressions of wood, malt, and vanilla. A hint of maple candy appeared on the swallow. Subsequent infusions saw the nose turn creamy, buttery, somewhat nutty, and spicier/more herbal. Cinnamon and dried leaves finally emerged in the mouth alongside new notes of minerals, camphor, tree bark, oats, apricot, fennel, nectar, honeydew, date, peanut, and cantaloupe. The final few infusions emphasized lingering mineral, oat, cream, butter, eucalyptus, and wood notes, though I could still occasionally note fleeting hints of honeydew, straw, peanut, and sugarcane in the background.
This was a very satisfying white tea, but I wish I had purchased more than a 10g sample pouch so I could have tried preparing it with a lower water temperature. I generally go with a water temperature around 176-180 F for Yunnan white teas, and I since I went with a temperature of 176 F for the Yunnan Sourcing tea, I would have liked to have tried this one at the same temperature to see if the results were identical. I noted that this tea had considerably less longevity on the nose and in the mouth at 194 F, though it thankfully did not display the bitterness or astringency the Yunnan Sourcing Feng Qing silver needles yielded during the longer infusions. I preferred the Yunnan Sourcing tea to this one, but I think that was a result of the difference in water temperature more than anything else. In the end, I would recommend this tea to fans of Yunnan white teas, but I would also advise such individuals to play around with the water temperature a bit in order to get the most out of this tea.
Flavors: Apricot, Autumn Leaf Pile, Bark, Camphor, Cantaloupe, Dates, Eucalyptus, Fennel, Hay, Honeydew, Malt, Maple, Marshmallow, Mineral, Nectar, Oats, Peanut, Straw, Sugarcane, Vanilla, Wood