2010 Spring Snow Dragon - Hand Crafted Yunnan White Tea

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160 °F / 71 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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  • “5 grams of Yunnan “Snow Dragon” white tea from Norbu in a 6 ounce glass teapot. The dry leaves have a wonderful scent, sweet, fruity, grassy—and they’re pretty, beautifully curled, feathery and...” Read full tasting note

From Norbu Tea

Snow Dragon is a lovely white tea composed of hand-picked and hand-shaped tender young Yunnan large leaf varietal tea buds grown in Simao County of Yunnan province. The beautifully hand shaped young buds are covered in the downy white hairs typical of pure bud white tea.

After picking, these tea buds were allowed to wilt slightly to allow some moisture to escape from the leaves, which makes them less brittle and easier to handle. After wilting, the buds were individually twisted by hand into these beautiful little Snow Dragon curls before being dried completely.

White tea is the least processed tea style, in that it is simply picked and dried. White teas also have the reputation of having the highest amount of antioxidants of all styles of tea because of their unprocessed nature. Additionally, folk wisdom in China says that white tea has a cooling effect on the body, so it is considered ideal for hot weather. They are typically steeped at a lower temperature than other tea types, so the general perception among tea drinkers is that white tea releases lower amounts of caffeine in the infused liquor than other tea types. Whether these health and caffeine level claims are true or not is up to the scientific community, but it is definitely true that it tastes delicious.

When steeped, Snow Dragon produces a very light colored liquor with a subtly fruity and grassy-sweet taste. The aroma is very lightly sweet & vegetal. We highly recommend steeping it in a glass teapot or highball style drinking glass so you can watch the leaves unfurl as it steeps. To steep Snow Dragion, treat it like you would treat any other white tea…use low temperature (160 F) and longer steeping times (6-10 minutes).

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1 Tasting Note

311 tasting notes

5 grams of Yunnan “Snow Dragon” white tea from Norbu in a 6 ounce glass teapot. The dry leaves have a wonderful scent, sweet, fruity, grassy—and they’re pretty, beautifully curled, feathery and lovely.

Water 160 degrees, first infusion, liquor is pale yellow. The leaves have hardly begun to unfurl, but they’re released sweet floral essence into the liquor already, delicate and delicious. Not sure about the timing, at least 30 seconds, but not more than a minute or so—I was distracted taking a few pictures. The flavor is very reminiscent of several Yunnan green teas I’ve enjoyed in the past couple of years—one called Jade Pole from Yunnan Sourcing and Yunnan Mao Feng from Norbu—obviously the same or very similar tea cultivar—but no hints of astringency or bitterness. The tea hasn’t opened up much yet.

The second infusion, about 90 seconds, has a hint of astringency underneath the floral and sweet. The curls are opening more now.

Pushing up the temp to 170 for the next infusion: there is a new flavor coming to the fore, not bitterness, exactly, but a spicy/astringent quality, as the sweet and floral notes decline a bit. Still some curl to the pretty leaves.

At 170 and 3 minutes, the 4th still has sweetness, fruitiness, and the astringent/spicy is now less apparent. It really does need to be drunk quickly, because if the same infusion sits and cools a bit, the more astringent/spicy flavors take over.

After a 5th infusion, the leaves are straight, thin, small, and olive green, and quite intact, no stem or broken leaves.

Like the Jade Pole and the Yunnan Mao Feng, this tea gives up the marvelous initial flavors quickly, so it doesn’t yield a lot of infusions. It’s quite odd to me that similar tea varietals, processed in slightly different ways—for white/green vs for puerh—have such different tolerances for multiple infusions. Processed as white or green teas, these give up their floral and fruity notes immediately, in a marvelous rush of flavor, and then the spicy/astringent notes take over quickly. Processed for puerh, the astringent and bitter and earthy notes may dominate early infusions, and the sweet/spicy/fruity notes take several infusion to start opening up, but the sweet/spicy/fruity just keep going on and on and on. Fortunately, these lovely white and green Yunnan teas are inexpensive enough that a few marvelous infusions are enough to get my money’s worth.

160 °F / 71 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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