Thursday, January 27, 2011

2010 Early Spring Old Growth Baoshan Yunnan White Tea Buds

Winter, which has been particularly cold this year and even brought a few weeks of snow in Victoria, is loosening its grip. With the last few weeks being particularly mild, this week has seen the emergence of Spring. The trees are budding, even the may hwa are in bloom. Winter is ridiculously short here in Victoria.

So feeling in the spring mood on this cloudy but very mild morning one looks to some lighter tea. One finds a sample gifted from Tea Trekker- a unique white tea from Baoshan, Yunnan. According to their web page this tea is from 700 year, old growth trees that are also used for maocha in puerh. These buds are picked and processed separately. So in harmony with the old budding trees outside the window, one prepares this tea.

In examining the dry leaves they are quite novel. These buds are unlike any one has seen before, but then again one has never seen white tea processed from this big leaf variety of tea plant. These fat, robust, brown tinged, green-white, completely down covered buds have deep earthy and woody notes which carry a soft sweetness. They contain light, airy plum and grape fruit notes in the fresh, deep, but extraordinarily light bouquet.

The water is left to cool considerably as one pauses to watch the humming birds outside. When the water is quite cool and the tea implements warmed the tea is prepared. It pours as clear as water and tastes very, very light with musty, earthy, dirt notes which are very thin and watery. There is a faint, fresh, crisp, dry wood aftertaste with a slight sugary ending. This tea needs more leaves and hotter water. So one almost fills the pot to the top and employs a pour direct from the kettle.

The second infusion pours a slight opaque, almost green colour. The initial taste is clear, crisp, but very watery. There is a spicy sweet flavour that carries into an empty, watery middle before the aftertaste of fresh, clear, musty wood takes hold. The mouthfeel is juicy but pulls the saliva from the front of the tongue and mouth, drying it slightly. Minutes later a musty, earthy, and fresh puerh-like aftertaste emerges from the dryness. Still hotter water is needed for these rugged tea buds. So one puts the water back on boil, meditating on the peaceful variety of cheerful bird calls outside.

The third infusion is much more vibrant then the previous two. It pours a pale green and first enchants the taste buds with light, sweet, pungent notes that evolve into a distant blast of cinnamon and spice in a very clear backdrop. The aftertaste starts spicy then minutes later a clear creamy sweetness is left in the mouth. This infusion contains a very spicy kick to it. The mouthfeel is juicy with a very slight drying nature.

The fourth infusion is prepared and is sweet, clear, fresh, and spicy. This infusion has a measure of floral-perfume notes lingering amongst zippy spicy notes that seem to really stand out in this very clear tea. Even very soft fruit notes peak out of the profile for mere milliseconds before ducking away. The mouthfeel mainly stimulates the front of the mouth. This tea creates a slight warmth in the belly that moves out to ones chest and even face. The majority of this warmth however remains in the middle body.

The fifth and sixth infusions are much of the same same but the sixth starts to show a more pungent, earthy, puerh like aftertaste.

The following infusions become less strong but still have a solid mouthfeel that, in later infusions, seems to stretch into the throat. This tea has stamina which leads to an all day session. These later infusions contain spicy, pungent, earth, and slight raisin tastes and are enjoyed as fattened black squirrels groom themselves on bare, bud covered branches.

Interesting white tea.



Marlonm said...

Loved your pictures and insight in tasting this unusual tea. Keep up the great posts

Petr Novák said...

I do remember that you surprised me with incoming spring last year when Mattcha blog was quite fresh for me. I have to say that it was pleasant every time when I have visited it here. Thank you.


Matt said...


Your first time commenting, thanks for stopping by with such kind words.


Petr Novak,

Hahaha... yes one remembers how shocked you were to see the cherry blossoms in this post last year:

Have got to do a few more posts on tea in Hunan. One really enjoys the simple tea from that region.

Take care until cherry blossoms bloom your way.