First of all, thanks so much to Bonnie for greeting me with this sample, as well as a host of other samples, when we met at the Rocky Mountain Tea Festival!
I have been super busy lately, and I have not had time to review, let alone taste, any new teas for quite some time now. Today, I finally have a wealth of free time, and what better way to use it than drinking and writing about a tea from one of my favorite tea companies :)
Bonnie gave me quite a generous sample of this tea, enough for two pots, but I decided to chuck the entire sample into my little 100mL gaiwan and put it to the ultimate gongfu test. I put the water on the stove, put the leaves into the vessel, and waited for the crab eyes to start blinking at me from the bottom of the pan. When the crab eyes caught my attention, I drenched the leaves, stirred them up a bit, and took a whiff…
It smelled like green tea. There was nothing white about it. It was beany, vegetal, and earthy. The first sip confirmed my nasal sense. It tasted just like a high quality, everyday-type green tea. This is not to say that it was not delicious. It just tasted nothing like a white tea. The second steep mellowed out the balance of tannin and sweetness. Once, again, it was very delicious. The third steep was even more mellow, with a lighter body, but still nothing white about it.
This Laoshan green tea that may have been processed as a white tea is very good indeed. It upheld its freshness very well. Every steep tells a different story, or at least chapters of the same story. Maybe I will tell the story some day. It will be a story of how there is absolutely no agreement in the tea business on what a white tea should be. Every company seems to have a different definition, and these discrepancies are enabling them to produce a wealth of different flavors, looks and aromas — essentially, different teas that all parade under the name of “white.” With all these variances, I’m becoming more and more confused. If you’re reading this, maybe you could tell me: how do YOU define what a white tea is? Do you simply submit to what every company tells you, even if their white tea tastes completely green, or even almost black (as Teatulia’s white tea tastes)? Or do you, as I do, feel the need for a little more formality in the definition of “white” tea?