What White Are You Drinking

Withered tea
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LeoFox
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Sat Dec 04, 2021 12:00 pm

Enjoying a nice bai mu dan from hojo.




After some trials, I've become pretty impressed by the pairing of reduction clay with white tea. Tends to bring out more retronasal aromas compared to porcelain and doesnt seem to suppress anything else too much, at least with this mumyoi, also from hojo.

Brewed in boiling water, 4g stuffed this 100 ml pot...which brings me to my next point.

I dont understand why there is this idea that white tea is sooo fragile and delicate and must be brewed with cooler water. It doesnt get bitter or astringent- only boring with cooler water. Or maybe I haven't had the bad white teas...
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debunix
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Sun Dec 05, 2021 11:36 am

I've also gradually been moving to hotter brewing for my white teas: I've had some that turned bitter in the past for sure, but I don't find that as often now, and I'm still pretty sensitive to bitter. I think it is related to being more selective about the white teas I buy.
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mbanu
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Fri Jan 07, 2022 6:12 pm

LeoFox wrote:
Sat Dec 04, 2021 12:00 pm
I dont understand why there is this idea that white tea is sooo fragile and delicate and must be brewed with cooler water. It doesnt get bitter or astringent- only boring with cooler water. Or maybe I haven't had the bad white teas...
I think that part of it is that the term "white tea" is being used to categorize a bunch of teas together that are not as alike as the term might imply. Silver needle and shoumei are sufficiently different that I think they really should be thought of as two separate categories of tea, even though both are made (ideally) through withering and drying alone.

My limited experience with fresh shoumei is that it can be fairly bitter.

With silver needle, the main focus is on preserving the aroma -- the flavor is usually pretty light when made well, maybe silver needle isn't a vodka of tea, but it could probably qualify as a gin of tea.

The cooler water is used to prevent stewing, sort of like with Japanese green tea. (If you have ever had Japanese green tea that has been left in a Thermos, for instance, the transformation is quite dramatic, and usually makes it worse.)

However, there is also the French school of brewing, which tries to intentionally stew silver needle because the standard flavor is too light. However, even here, instead of using hotter water, they use cooler water and then trap the heat using an insulated teapot.

Old shoumei tends to lose some of its bitterness, so it is happy to visit with boiling water.

An additional problem is that there are teas that will call themselves white tea but where the production process is non-traditional, so it will not act the same, similar to the same problem with pu'er and some types of oolong.

As for what white tea I am drinking, I had some of that 2001 white peony from Silk Road Teas -- a nice tea for getting lost in thought. :)
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LeoFox
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Sat Jan 08, 2022 12:02 am

mbanu wrote:
Fri Jan 07, 2022 6:12 pm
LeoFox wrote:
Sat Dec 04, 2021 12:00 pm
I dont understand why there is this idea that white tea is sooo fragile and delicate and must be brewed with cooler water. It doesnt get bitter or astringent- only boring with cooler water. Or maybe I haven't had the bad white teas...
I think that part of it is that the term "white tea" is being used to categorize a bunch of teas together that are not as alike as the term might imply. Silver needle and shoumei are sufficiently different that I think they really should be thought of as two separate categories of tea, even though both are made (ideally) through withering and drying alone.

My limited experience with fresh shoumei is that it can be fairly bitter.

With silver needle, the main focus is on preserving the aroma -- the flavor is usually pretty light when made well, maybe silver needle isn't a vodka of tea, but it could probably qualify as a gin of tea.

The cooler water is used to prevent stewing, sort of like with Japanese green tea. (If you have ever had Japanese green tea that has been left in a Thermos, for instance, the transformation is quite dramatic, and usually makes it worse.)

Silver needle must be handled ​delicately to prevent stewing? In my opinion, silver needle shines brightest with gongfu brewed with off boiling. I have tried the tepid treatment, and i have to say that is simply a waste - at least for the ones I've had.

Same with aged shoumei - though i had a few bad experience where the teasoup reminded me of a gas station bathroom.

I don't remember ever having overly bitter white tea - though I mainly drink bmd
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Quentin
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Sat Jan 08, 2022 1:56 am

@LeoFox

I’m of a pretty similar mind to you when it comes to white peony. I generally stuff like 7g into a 150ml kyusu with 95C water - turns out great; less like burnt bitter, and more like fruit skin ‘bitter’ if that makes sense?

For silver leaf, I only really keep jasmine scented stuff around. So I can’t really speak to that, as I do brew it cooler (90-ish) to preserve floral notes as best I can.
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LeoFox
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Sat Jan 08, 2022 5:30 am

Quentin wrote:
Sat Jan 08, 2022 1:56 am
LeoFox

I’m of a pretty similar mind to you when it comes to white peony. I generally stuff like 7g into a 150ml kyusu with 95C water - turns out great; less like burnt bitter, and more like fruit skin ‘bitter’ if that makes sense?

For silver leaf, I only really keep jasmine scented stuff around. So I can’t really speak to that, as I do brew it cooler (90-ish) to preserve floral notes as best I can.
Yes, the jasmine does require a cooler touch sometimes, I agree. 🙏
Zdeněk
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Thu Jan 20, 2022 7:52 am

Hello,

I recently got this white tea of Fujian. I should be Bai Mu Dan, but its taste profile is quite different from Bai Mu Dans I tasted. Please, does anyone knows what tea is it? :roll:
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mbanu
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Fri Jan 21, 2022 6:48 pm

Zdeněk wrote:
Thu Jan 20, 2022 7:52 am
Hello,

I recently got this white tea of Fujian. I should be Bai Mu Dan, but its taste profile is quite different from Bai Mu Dans I tasted. Please, does anyone knows what tea is it? :roll:
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Is there a label (maybe on the bottom) that has some numbers on it? If the tea was packaged in China, they need to include two codes, the SC code and the GB code, which were not meant for identifying tea but can help.

The GB code is the national standard code, which lists the general category of tea. So if it is not actually a white tea, this would show up in the GB code. If it meets the minimum requirements, but is just an odd white tea, this won't help though.

The SC code is related to factory sanitation, but because normally each factory has to have its own code, it can help identify where the tea is from. For instance, maybe it tastes weird because it is a white tea from outside Fujian, like a Yunnan white tea.

If there is no label, then the tea was repackaged, probably by a tea vendor who buys bulk tea and then repackages into tins. In that case, asking the seller can sometimes help, although some sellers are reluctant to give details about their teas.

Once it is out of the original packaging, it could be anything, sadly. So then it falls on the drinker to reverse-engineer the tea, which is done just the way you have done -- people drink a lot of a particular type of tea, such that they can identify when a tea does not taste like it is supposed to.

If it tastes like another tea they can recognize, they may focus on that, if it does not, then they focus on other aspects of the tea to determine whether the taste is different because it is a different tea or due to a problem of some kind (manufacturing flaw, adulteration, rotten, storage taint, etc.)
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