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White tea and I are acquaintances. Whenever I have it I think it’s pretty awesome in a superficial sense, but I really don’t know. I hear so much about the complexity and nuances that it sounds thoroughly entertaining. As I’m trying to hone my taste buds I thought now would be as good a time as any to get to know white tea better. I’d really like to become friends.

What worries me a bit, though, is that I can’t get rid of my idea of white tea being soooo serious and entirely to refined for me. I want so badly to get everything out of it that I almost kept waiting for that perfect moment when my palate (which I spell wrong about 2/3 of the time) is developed and the stars are aligned. But I’m impatient, so that didn’t really happen. It’s a lot like how I’m writing this at 3am instead of waiting until I’m coherent.

The wet leaf smelled like some sort of cooked vegetable, which kind of made me worried. I didn’t expect there to be such a savory aroma, so I was pretty confused for a few moments. By the time it got cool enough to drink without burning myself (I’m a wimp, I know) I had worked myself up into a person-shaped pile of apprehension. Maybe I’m not classy enough for this tea. What does it mean if I don’t like it?

But it was fine.

I was fascinated. There were so many flavors in my cup! The first steep (30 sec slightly steaming water) surprised me at its strength. The thick, creamy texture combined with an almost buttery quality reminded me of drinking broth. It was somewhat sweet, but mostly in the aftertaste. The sweetness was more of a sweet vegetable or herb rather than sugary. There may have been a hint of floral as well, but I couldn’t decide if I was really tasting/smelling it or not. Overall quite savory and creamy. I was definitely taking more tea notes than on the film I was supposed to be watching for a class. Oops.

The second steep (1 min) lost some of its savoriness. Without it the sweetness began to come through more. There’s still some of the viscosity, but more along the lines of “milky” than “creamy”. I swear there’s something floral in there. I get the impression of sweet, fragrant herbs.

One mo’ ’gain. I added another thirty seconds for the third and last infusion based on the package directions. Smooth and sweet. Pleasant and easy to drink, but as far as I could tell the complexity was gone.

Overall I was impressed. This tea managed to keep me entertained for quite a while. I’m probably not getting everything out of it, so If anyone has any general white tea tips, or specific ones for white peony I’d really appreciate it.

Auggy

That sounds really awesome. My very limited experience with white tea diverges from yours after the smell. Mine smelled like cooked veggies, but it also tasted like it. I ended up with a strong asparagus & soybean taste that just didn’t work for me. But your review? It tempts me to try again.

Hyrulehippie

There was some veggie taste, but I think more sweet like carrot or broccoli rather than asparagus. I think I can understand soybean, also, but that wasn’t the only flavor.

I really wonder, though, if I was making stuff up. Maybe I wanted to taste lots of interesting things but really didn’t so I imagined it. Either way, it was fun. I think I’ll review it again after I forget a little bit and see if I still taste the same things.

Auggy

I think sometimes that we (as tea drinkers) are insane when we talk about tasting butter or honey or plum or random other edible item. But at least the insanity is easily passed and shared with others.

Hyrulehippie

It really is kinda crazy o__o. I’m really grateful, though, to have people I can be communally crazy with. _ It’s less lonely that way.

takgoti

@Hyrulehippie Meant to say something earlier. Silver Needles have been very good to me, so far as white tea goes. I haven’t really found them to be savory, like you described, but I’ve never had a white peony so what do I know? [Very little.]

@Auggy Ditto. I always feel kind of silly when I start to write stuff like that. And then I feel like maybe I’m overreaching, like HH felt in this note. But by that time it’s usually too late and I’ve finished the cup. To quote my friend Sasa, “Oh wells.” If wine connoisseurs [no clue if I got the spelling on that] can do it, then so can we, damn it.

Hyrulehippie

I also ordered a yunnan silver needle along with the white peony. I wanted at least 2 really different types to try. It was sweet and reminded me a lot of honey, but I didn’t review it since I feel like I need to give it more attention. I’m pretty sure I liked it more than the white peony, though.

Luthien

White Peony aka Pai Mu Tan is the variety of white tea that I’ve had most often and I’ve been drinking it for about five years now. Of all the white teas, I find it the most robust in flavour and the most forgiving if you leave it steeping a bit long. YMMV of course, especially since I’ve never been able to ‘get’ Silver Needle, no matter how many times I try it, or how often it gets rave reviews from people whose tea opinions I respect. g

Hyrulehippie

Do you have a favorite water temperature? I don’t have a thermometer in my dorm, but is cooler generally better?

I’m really enjoying it so far and want to know what I should try next. _

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Auggy

That sounds really awesome. My very limited experience with white tea diverges from yours after the smell. Mine smelled like cooked veggies, but it also tasted like it. I ended up with a strong asparagus & soybean taste that just didn’t work for me. But your review? It tempts me to try again.

Hyrulehippie

There was some veggie taste, but I think more sweet like carrot or broccoli rather than asparagus. I think I can understand soybean, also, but that wasn’t the only flavor.

I really wonder, though, if I was making stuff up. Maybe I wanted to taste lots of interesting things but really didn’t so I imagined it. Either way, it was fun. I think I’ll review it again after I forget a little bit and see if I still taste the same things.

Auggy

I think sometimes that we (as tea drinkers) are insane when we talk about tasting butter or honey or plum or random other edible item. But at least the insanity is easily passed and shared with others.

Hyrulehippie

It really is kinda crazy o__o. I’m really grateful, though, to have people I can be communally crazy with. _ It’s less lonely that way.

takgoti

@Hyrulehippie Meant to say something earlier. Silver Needles have been very good to me, so far as white tea goes. I haven’t really found them to be savory, like you described, but I’ve never had a white peony so what do I know? [Very little.]

@Auggy Ditto. I always feel kind of silly when I start to write stuff like that. And then I feel like maybe I’m overreaching, like HH felt in this note. But by that time it’s usually too late and I’ve finished the cup. To quote my friend Sasa, “Oh wells.” If wine connoisseurs [no clue if I got the spelling on that] can do it, then so can we, damn it.

Hyrulehippie

I also ordered a yunnan silver needle along with the white peony. I wanted at least 2 really different types to try. It was sweet and reminded me a lot of honey, but I didn’t review it since I feel like I need to give it more attention. I’m pretty sure I liked it more than the white peony, though.

Luthien

White Peony aka Pai Mu Tan is the variety of white tea that I’ve had most often and I’ve been drinking it for about five years now. Of all the white teas, I find it the most robust in flavour and the most forgiving if you leave it steeping a bit long. YMMV of course, especially since I’ve never been able to ‘get’ Silver Needle, no matter how many times I try it, or how often it gets rave reviews from people whose tea opinions I respect. g

Hyrulehippie

Do you have a favorite water temperature? I don’t have a thermometer in my dorm, but is cooler generally better?

I’m really enjoying it so far and want to know what I should try next. _

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I’m pretty terrible at bios so I don’t think I’ll even try to make it interesting. I’m a college senior majoring in Japanese and minoring in women’s and gender studies. I’ve been a vegetarian for about 8 years or so. I craft and game whenever possible and have been known to give up large amounts of sleep for either.

いつも日本語の練習の時間ですよ!一緒に練習したかったら私に連絡してください。よろしくね。 ^0^ 

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New Jersey, USA

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