Finally, new tea! This one is the first of the set of four “single-size” samples I ordered from Steepster. As the description said there would be one each of white, green, oolong, and black teas, I was expecting the white tea to be a bai mu dan, but this turned out to be a welcome surprise.

The dry tea comes in tightly coiled little pearls, and the aroma—I’m not sure how to describe it, but it smells like nostalgia to me. Yes, a little floral, and a little grassy, but mostly it reminds me of the various nameless teas I would have while visiting relatives in China. There’s a slightly dusty, well-worn, people-friendly quality to it, and it seems to instantly summon one of those rainy summer afternoons in a room full of books.

I haven’t had much experience with white teas, so I approached this one with caution, even bringing out the thermometer that I usually neglect to use. The tea brews to a darker color than I imagined, and the leaves unfurl fully. The flavor is very different from what is suggested by the aroma. It’s light and delectably smooth, with a fruit-like sweetness that I spent a long time trying to identify, and finally realized was very similar to dried apricot. No astringency or “greenness” or course.

I only used half the package to make enough for a small cup (a mini-kettle-full of water), and I’m happy to be able to get a second serving out of this. In all, it’s probably the first white tea that I’ve really enjoyed. It also helps explain why I’ve dislike almost all flavored white tea I’ve tried—when the tea itself is this delicate, adding anything else is usually detrimental.

Flavors: Apricot, Flowers

180 °F / 82 °C 3 min, 45 sec 1 g 6 OZ / 177 ML

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Science writer and a cat that learned to type.

I grew up in a tea-loving family, and tea has always been a part of daily life. I’m still astounded by the amount of tea and teaware back home every time I visit! While I’m most familiar with straight Chinese teas, I’m growing to explore and appreciate other types of tea, including blended and flavored ones. A good blend can reflect the thought and creativity that was put into making it, instead of being too sweet or busy in a way that gives the “genre” a bad rap.

-most black teas (even lapsang)
-most oolongs, especially Fujian teas, baozhong and dancong
-straight white teas

Variable (some are great, some not so):
-most green teas
-tie guan yin
-flavored white teas

90-100: definite repurchase if possible, recommended
80-90: enjoyed, possible repurchase
70-80: fair to good
60-70: fair with some shortcomings
50-60: there’s still a chance I’d take this if it were free
under 50: absolutely not


Southern California

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