Saturday, April 4, 2015

What-Cha, Vietnam Wild 'Mountain Mist' Silver Needle White Tea

What-Cha Description:
A brilliant silver needle with a complex taste of melon and gentle smoke finish.
Its complex taste is as a result of mist blocking out the sun on the mountain on which it grows wild, which results in slower leaf growth and a complex taste.

Sample provided by What-Cha Tea Redefined

My Review:
Today I continue the wide world of white tea extravaganza. In the recent line up of teas this is number 7 of 10. I have reviewed several more in the past. If you have missed any and want to check them out, you can follow this link for a complete listing of all reviews of white teas.

Yesterday we were in Africa. Today we journey to Vietnam to review this mountain mist white tea. I cut open the top of the resealable pouch and breathed in the fresh field grass aroma. I don't detect melon or smoke at this point. It kind of makes me think green tea.

Scooping out about 3 gram of leaf for pictures removes all doubt. This shouts white tea. It is like someone white washed the leaves. Awesome. Close examination shows this to be a leaf and a bud. Even so it is strangely white, like snow on the leaves. Instead of soft and subtle the leaf is kind of crisp.

I used my clear glass teapot along with filtered water heated to 176 F (80 C). The recommended steep time is 2-3 minutes. I split it and down the middle at 2 1/2.

There was not a lot of leaf movement during the steep. I really did not expect much as the leaf is not particularly rolled or twisted.

The  brew is very lightly yellow tinted in the teapot but seems more apricot colored in my cup. The once ghostly white leaf is alive and green.

In the pot aroma, I'm not ready to call it melon. Maybe it lightly resembles the aroma of mush melon without the overpowering aspect. I do notice a hint of smoke. I think it is more on my fingers from playing with the leaf. What can I say, I have to involve all my senses in my tea addiction.

The wet leaf feels dense. That makes sense. I used my cup to measure the water and only got slightly more than 3/4 of it back in the first cup. Really thirsty leaf I guess.

The taste is, just wow.  At first is seems almost dairy to me. It is like milk, but has a vegetal green tea like taste behind it. The is a very good crisp amount of bitter - but not the pucker up kind. This is the refreshing type found in excellent green teas. I can't recall catching it in a white tea before. As the cup cools I realize what my taste buds were trying to decipher as dairy, while my brain kept trying to call melon (because that is what the label says) is actually creamy corn. I have tasted this before, but where?

So I started going through my notes. I am trying to convince myself it is something akin to mao feng. Then I find my note for What-Cha, Vietnam Wild 'Five Penny' Green Tea. It is also grown wild in the shaded mountain mist. To me, this also explains the unusual look of the white tea leaf. Five Penny's green leaf is battleship grey. I am assuming both come from the same varietal, maybe even the same trees.

The second cup is even more pronounced but different in flavor. Where as the first cup was an amazing green tea like cup of white, this one is more sheng like. It is brighter and more bitter. Maybe shortening the steep time would reduce this if you find it offensive. I am kind of digging it. I mean it is a white tea that resembles a green tea and a sheng puerh. Awesome. The main flavor here is apricot.

What I am discovering is 1) I really like Vietnam tea 2) Vietnam tea seem bolder than other teas. This is at least true of what I have sampled so far. If you like green tea but find the subtle nature of white tea is generally lost on you - well this tea may just speak to you. Subtle it is not. It is quite flavorful and complex.

You can find What-Cha, Vietnam Wild 'Mountain Mist' Silver Needle White Tea here.

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