It’s about time I got around to reviewing more Shang Teas, as they are an incredible company, based locally for me, and my main source of tea since my fascination with Gongfu Cha and high quality loose teas began.
Let me start by saying this, I have never tasted a better White Peony tea than this one. This tea truly stands above the rest. It may be a little hard for me to be objective, as the current year I have from them is 2008 and that year is sentimentally-speaking the greatest of my life so far. Knowing this tea was harvested that year, I feel I transcend time when I drink it and the nostalgia of my memories of a half-year stay in South Africa flood back in.
This tea is incredibly smooth. On the first infusion of this pale-yellow green brew I am tasting very evident notes of cucumber, subtle notes of walnut and wild grass. This white tea is smooth, very smooth, almost creamy even. There’s a delicate lingering sweetness and a velvety feeling on the tongue for a while after a drink. There is no astringency or dryness whatsoever. This tea is as clean-tasting as it gets. The brewed leaves smell of parsley
Second steeping, the flavor is even more round, and be assured this tea is very round, we’re talking 360 degrees round. It doesn’t have the brighter “green” qualities of some younger white teas but showcases a maturity that is smooth and full. In terms of flavor, the second infusion offers a more nutty quality than the first. The light cucumber notes have backed away. There’s a slightly herbaceous taste. The lingering mild sweetness reminds me of the lingering flavor of a fresh baked pastry or donut, albeit much, much subtler.
With repeated infusions, the flavor is consistently light and delicately sweet. This tea is pleasant and easily approachable all-around. The dewy cucumber notes came back around a few steepings in. How lovely.
I’ve noticed other users here have given this tea a perfect 100 score, and it is definitely deserving. This is one of the finest white teas in the world. My only reason for the 99 rating is that I reserve the perfect score for my holiest most absolute personal favorites. As my palate for delicate white teas is still learning and developing (those subtle nuances can be really hard to detect for an American whose palate is used to strong-flavored food and drink), I haven’t quite been wowed to the point of absolute dedication to a particular white tea yet.
Flavors: Cucumber, Herbaceous, Pastries, Sweet, warm grass, Walnut