Friday, April 24, 2015

Curious Tea, Snow Bud (Xue Ya)

Curious Tea Description:
Snow Bud (Xue Ya) is a very delicate white tea that is plucked over a few days of spring every year. The name is said to originate from the appearance of the silvery buds when plucked – they look as if covered by snow. This is also reflected in the dry leaf appearance of this tea, with the leaves displaying plenty of the silvery down.

Sample provided by Curious Tea

My Review:
I knew I missed a tea during my recent world wide white tea extravaganza. I had it in my head Curious Tea had this listed as a green tea as some companies have done. Nope, they have labeled it as a white, which it is, since the leaves have not been pan fried or steamed, as in a green tea.

The resealable bag contains 50 grams of this leaf. The label is simple. The font is large (thank you Curious Tea!) and contains a brief description and brewing instructions.

Upon opening the bag, I catch sweet fresh hay. It is a very fresh and clean fragrance.

I removed about 3 grams for this session. The leaf has two noticeable characteristics. First is the plump white down covered buds that say white tea. Second is the dark leaves. They are green but against the white buds they look darker. The leaf is withered and slightly twisted.

Today I once again used my clear glass teapot. Along with the leaf, I used 6 ounces of filtered water heated to 175 F (80 C). The steep was four minutes. That is a lot longer than the last Snow Bud I tested.

The result is a very golden liquor. I was kind of hoping for the pale pinkish liquor mentioned on Curious Teas label. The wet leaf is quite nicely pea green, plump, and fresh. It has a nutty or stewed meat aroma.

The is incredibly smooth. The previous review of a Snow Bud was prepared with short steeps in a gaiwan and it was intense with a good bitter. This is mellow without the intense notes. I find the difference fascinating. The two teas look pretty much identical. It goes to show what a difference a change in time, temperature, and brewing vessel can make.

What I am getting is lightly sweet field grass, along with hints of nuts and floral. The aftertaste is lingering and has the good bite I expected up front but here it is lighter and not at all scary. Although I taste the fresh spring water and floral notes I associate with good white tea, it is the ending that drifts towards Chinese green tea that sells this to me.

This is a very nice white tea. I really enjoyed Curious Tea's brewing parameters. It made for a complex, deep, but gentle cup. If you prefer a wilder ride, crank the water temperature up to 195 F and steep for 30 seconds. It is like two different teas.

This tea was part of a monthly subscription box. Based on what I have seen so far, this tea was well worth over half the monthly price. If you are outside the UK you will have to add in some shipping costs before deciding. You can learn more here.

No comments:

Post a Comment