Saturday, November 2, 2013

Life In Teacup, White Plum Flower Peak

Life In Teacup Description:
This tea is from an area right next to the producing region of Huang Shan Mao Feng. The appearance of this tea is quite similar to Huang Shan Mao Feng too, due to the similar processing techniques used. But this tea has a lot of nice nuances, floral, herbal, incense, and something subtle and mysterious.

Sample provided by Life In Teacup.

My Review:
Despite the name, this is not a white tea. It contains no plum flavoring or flowers. This review is for the April 4, 2013 production season. Also known as Bai Mei Hua Jian, this is a green tea. The name comes from the mountain range where it grows. A rarity in the west as Life In Teacup believes it is the only vendor offering this leaf outside of China.

Opening the sample pack I caught the aroma of hay but more intense as it was almost a wine alcohol element. The dry leaf is small and brittle with a lot of fine white hair. The leaf in the picture looks like a green tea. Up close the color and appearance is almost like a white tea.

I used a large scoop in my press with filtered water heated to 200F. Life In Teacup said on their website to use above 80C and up to full boil if steeped with the lid off. The dance of the leaf was interesting as most of the leaf hung from the surface early on, then dropped to the bottom as it steeped. I went 2 minutes. The wet leaf is buttery steamed vegetables in scent. The leaf is pea green buds and leaves.

The liquor is very light in color - almost colorless until it cools and becomes white grape juice in color. It is extremely clear with no discernible scent.

Life in Teacup's description is pretty accurate, this is similar to Haung Shan Feng but much (much) lighter. The former has a very strong presence. This is quite subtle. I agree this tea has a lot of nice nuances, floral, herbal, incense, and something subtle and mysterious. I enjoy a quiet tea that is full of depth. This is such a tea. For the Assam lover, this could prove to be disappointing. Those who enjoy contemplating the depths of a white tea or very light greens should find this to be an exceptional sip. Knowledge of its rarity outside of China peaks my interest as well.

Having prepared this with my hybrid western approach, I hope to try it later in a gaiwan gongfu session and a full western long steep version as well. I am curious to see if the really nice subtle flavors can be brought out more using a higher leaf to water ratio or a longer steep time.

Visit the Life In Teacup site.

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