This was one of a couple tea reviews from the fall of 2018 that I needed to post here. I finished a sample pouch of this tea back in November, but I unfortunately did not get around to posting it here on Steepster before the end of the year. Prior to trying this tea, I had never tried a Wuyi white tea. In terms of appearance, the tea looked very similar to a traditional Bai Mudan, and the similarities did not end there. The aroma and flavor profiles of this tea also displayed some marked similarities to a Bai Mudan, though this tea displayed the expected Wuyi minerality and was much heavier, livelier, and more energizing.
I prepared this tea gongfu style. After the rinse, I steeped 6 grams of the loose bud and leaf mix in 4 ounces of 185 F water for 6 seconds. This infusion was chased by 18 additional infusions. Steep times for these infusions were as follows: 9 seconds, 12 seconds, 16 seconds, 20 seconds, 25 seconds, 30 seconds, 40 seconds, 50 seconds, 1 minute, 1 minute 15 seconds, 1 minute 30 seconds, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 7 minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes, and 20 minutes.
Prior to the rinse, the dry leaf and bud mix emitted aromas of pine, smoke, cedar, and hay. After the rinse, I detected an aroma of roasted peanut that was accompanied by hints of honey. The first infusion introduced aromas of toasted rice and char. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of smoke, hay, pine, cedar, and toasted rice that were balanced by impressions of char, roasted peanut, and roasted barley. The subsequent infusions introduced aromas of malt, autumn leaves, and roasted almond. New impressions of malt, minerals, caramel, cream, autumn leaves, and roasted almond appeared in the mouth along with belatedly emerging honey notes and hints of mushroom and birch bark. As the tea faded, the tea liquor emphasized lingering mineral, malt, roasted almond, roasted peanut, caramel, and hay notes that were balanced by subtler impressions of cream, mushroom, autumn leaves, and cedar.
This was a very interesting and potent white tea that was full of the nut, grain, wood, and mineral notes so typical of Wuyi teas. It definitely showed off the influence of its terroir as it captured the qualities that make Wuyi teas so unique and treasured. That being said, I felt that it was missing some subtlety and could also have used a little additional sweetness or some sort of floral component to balance out all of the heavier notes. To be clear, this was a very good white tea, but I felt that it was missing a few elements that would have made it even better. I will definitely be keeping an eye out for other white teas from Old Ways Tea, though, as this first stab at white tea production indicates to me that their partners have the potential to produce some truly excellent white teas after this one.
Flavors: Almond, Autumn Leaf Pile, Bark, Caramel, Cedar, Char, Cream, Hay, Honey, Malt, Mineral, Mushrooms, Peanut, Pine, Roasted, Roasted Barley, Smoke, Toasted Rice