A Berry Frui-tea July! This is one of the earliest teas I ever got when I first got into loose leaf teas, and I think it was the first white tea I ever tried. I purchased it from a tea shop in Campbell, California, called Steepers, but have since figured out that they wholesaled the blend from English Tea Store, along with several of their other blends (and I got very ripped off from the mark-up! Ah well, I was new to tea and honestly didn’t know better…)
I had told the owner I liked flavored blends, so she recommended this one. English Tea Store describes it as “reminiscent of premium 2nd flush Darjeelings with a light fruit finish.” I’ll admit I have tasted hardly any darjeelings, and certainly not enough to even know a second flush from a first flush, but this tea almost nearly turned me off from ever trying any other white teas or darjeelings back in those early days, I disliked it so much, hahaha! It just tasted so vegetal, but with this strong, very artificial apricot/peach flavor over the top, and the two contrasting flavors of this particular vegetal note that at the time I couldn’t even describe with this overwhelming strong artificial fruit flavor (and I’m not really a fan of strong artificial flavoring to begin with) just didn’t mix for me. I shoved it in the back of a cupboard and didn’t touch it for a long time.
Not long ago I tried it again, as my palate has developed a lot with a lot more tea drinking (especially of other white teas, which I’ve found quite tasty). I still wasn’t really a fan of this tea, but didn’t find it as horribly off-putting as I once had (I could at least finish the cup). That vegetal flavor was definitely the taste of autumn leaves, and I still didn’t really find that slightly astringent earthy leaf flavor mixed with stone fruits very pleasant. It was much more drinkable iced, but still not my favorite. It really reminded me of TeaSource’s Machu Peach-u, which I also didn’t really find to be my cup of tea, but between the two, I at least found TeaSource’s Machu Peach-u to have a much more natural-tasting peach flavor. I was able to sip-down Machu Peach-u in a few quarts of iced tea to clear it out of my house (even though I didn’t really like that autumn leaf taste) while the bag of this tea I had to gift to my mom (I knew that her and my stepdad enjoyed Machu Peach-u and figured it was a close enough taste match they’d probably get some use out of it).
I wonder what is causing the white tea in this blend and Machu Peach-u to have that autumn leaf taste when no other white tea I’ve tried has that flavor? I do notice neither of these specify the kind of white tea used (it seems most of the fruity whites I enjoy tend to specify they use Bai Mu Dan, so I know I enjoy that tea, and I really don’t think either of these could be using that as a base). Could it be Shou Mei? If anyone schooled in the art of whites knows, enlighten me!
Flavors: Apricot, Astringent, Autumn Leaf Pile, Peach, Stonefruits, Vegetal, Wet Earth