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94

This is wonderful. I am sort of in love with it which is a surprise because so far I had not really loved white teas.

The leaf itself is beautiful and slightly strange – so silvery, so long, the strangeness that is the blossom. It smells wonderfully, an essence of tea smell with notes which remind me of raisins and yes, vague flowers (I have no idea what peonies smell like!).

I could not control temperature too well, so keep in mind the desired 80C are probably just an approximation. But regarding the liquor, brewing this at the advised amount with bottled water, at close to the advised temperature, and at 2 minutes per steep:

1st steep – very pale, very light golden with no hints of red (yet). Surprisingly full of body and tastes fruity and slightly floral at the same time, a taste which reminds me a bit of grapes – tiny grapes with a lot of skin but sweet table grapes just the same (comparing anything to wine grapes would not be a compliment!).

weirdly I do not like at all the smell during the steep, it smells very grassy and almost minty, I worry if I am using too hot water. But it does not translate to the taste of the steep

2nd steep – no worries after all. A deeper color, and flavour much richer, with perhaps even more body. No bitterness or astringency. Absolutely wonderful.

3rd steep – ah, now it has decided to remind that yes indeed this is related to black tea. The color now really has reddish tones. Just as sweet if not even more, with even more body, and the taste has now moved fully to raisins. I try to decide if this or the 2nd steep is my favorite, I decide the 2nd probably but it is close.

Brewing the 4th steep I am wary, I think the leaves are probably gone.

4th steep – but no, still alive and kicking. Slightly less rich than the 3rd steep, but still great and full of body. Lovely. I am going to go for a 5th steep but decided to stop the review right here since Peony Tea S only advises 4 steeps, not fair to take it further and risk finding fault on it when it´s me taking it past its limits.

I received this tea from Peony Tea S a few months ago, when they were asking for volunteers to test their shipping services, thank you so very much for your generosity! They selected the teas and I took my time getting to them. This was a weird psychological thing: a mix of weather, me being slightly intimidated by the tea´s obvious quality and wanting to try them for the first time when I could give them their due attention. I left this for last because well, silly me, thinking I was not fond of white tea. I was wrong, of this I am very very fond indeed.

Ah, a note, as advised by Derek, I kept this (and the green tea) in the fridge, sealed and double sealed from the rest of the fridge. I think it is more than worth that small effort!

Preparation
180 °F / 82 °C 2 min, 15 sec
CrowKettle

That’s so interesting that takes on reddish hues! I’ve always neglected white peony for silver needles but this sounds so complex and lovely. You had me at “grapes”.

cteresa

It does indeed take reddish hues but most noticeable at third infusion – I think third infusion really reminds you that hello, it´s the same plant as black tea after all!

About grapes, ah, it´s probably my cultural bias. I never smelled peonies in my life but can mentally file 10 or 20 different grape tastes ;) It goes a bit like little sweet ripe grapes to those grapes left in the vine which get all dried up and are oh so sweet but not dry enough to be raisins yet.

And do not tell anyone, but am drinking the 5th steep so far and it is lovely! Not as good as the previous ones but far better than any white tea I ever had. Weird, I like this bai mu dan much better than the silver needles I tried before.

CrowKettle

I envy your ability to distinguish grapes. The greater complexities of grapes, and in extension, wine, are almost entirely lost on me. I’m at the level where I can say this one’s sweet, and that one not so much, and ice wine is very sweet.

It’s been a while since I’ve smelled peonies but the ones I did come across were of the variety with little to no scent. Faintly sweet, almost like a lily, if they did produce an odor, if I recall correctly. I’ve heard different variety of peonies can smell completely different too, and that certain teas have grape-like qualities to them, so your description is helpful. It definitely makes me want to pick up some of this.

Five steeps is great and marks a good tea! I rarely manage to get that many in.

cteresa

I love peonies, the flowers, but almost have only seen them in florist – no scent, and the ones I have seen growing had very little! So no idea. But it might be like roses, a lot of roses you see grown ornamentally or particularly sold in florists have hardly any scent and can give only a pale idea of what truly old roses or roses grown for oil smell like. A rose garden of old species roses can be an incredible revelation.

Wine is everywhere in this country. It´s something I compare with tea a lot and which has a lot in common with tea.

I even made a sixth steep but the fifth was the last great one. Still five steeps, incredible.

Ysaurella

peonies are my fav flowers (in light pink)- the smell is so wonderful really. I should try in a tea as well. Florist now have often “frozen” flowers…which leads to less perfumed flowers unfortunately

cteresa

Oh I think white peony tea is usually not really scented with peonies (though I got a black blueberry tea which includes peony scent reportedly). These white peony tea is just, I think, literal translation from the Chinese bai mu dan ou tai mu pan or something like that. But it is just the name of this type of white tea, no peonies involved though sellers description mentions it is supposed to have floral notes similar to peonies.

Ysaurella

okay so I’ll have to blend real peonies myself (!) oh lord it would be terrible if I blend a tea myself :D

cteresa

No, it would be fun to “blend” a tea yourself! Well with some considerations, that it would be more like mixing or infusing, not really blending with oils. But it would depend on what you would mix – confess to sometimes mixing different loose teas! I got a very strong violet tea which is lovely if I mix it would something simpler and plainer. And made my own chai mix which turned out pretty OK! I think somethings, particularly already dried herbs and spices or flowers might be easier to work with – lavender, dried roses, cinnamon, etc. Lavender is so strong I guess it would work well (or perhaps too well!). But be careful with fresh flowers or fruits, they might rot in the tea and/or make the tea rot as well – I got a melon flavoured white tea which I swear tastes of rotten fermented melon, urgh. But if you are ever in London check Yumchaa´s Blueberry Hill, blueberries, cream and peonies.

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CrowKettle

That’s so interesting that takes on reddish hues! I’ve always neglected white peony for silver needles but this sounds so complex and lovely. You had me at “grapes”.

cteresa

It does indeed take reddish hues but most noticeable at third infusion – I think third infusion really reminds you that hello, it´s the same plant as black tea after all!

About grapes, ah, it´s probably my cultural bias. I never smelled peonies in my life but can mentally file 10 or 20 different grape tastes ;) It goes a bit like little sweet ripe grapes to those grapes left in the vine which get all dried up and are oh so sweet but not dry enough to be raisins yet.

And do not tell anyone, but am drinking the 5th steep so far and it is lovely! Not as good as the previous ones but far better than any white tea I ever had. Weird, I like this bai mu dan much better than the silver needles I tried before.

CrowKettle

I envy your ability to distinguish grapes. The greater complexities of grapes, and in extension, wine, are almost entirely lost on me. I’m at the level where I can say this one’s sweet, and that one not so much, and ice wine is very sweet.

It’s been a while since I’ve smelled peonies but the ones I did come across were of the variety with little to no scent. Faintly sweet, almost like a lily, if they did produce an odor, if I recall correctly. I’ve heard different variety of peonies can smell completely different too, and that certain teas have grape-like qualities to them, so your description is helpful. It definitely makes me want to pick up some of this.

Five steeps is great and marks a good tea! I rarely manage to get that many in.

cteresa

I love peonies, the flowers, but almost have only seen them in florist – no scent, and the ones I have seen growing had very little! So no idea. But it might be like roses, a lot of roses you see grown ornamentally or particularly sold in florists have hardly any scent and can give only a pale idea of what truly old roses or roses grown for oil smell like. A rose garden of old species roses can be an incredible revelation.

Wine is everywhere in this country. It´s something I compare with tea a lot and which has a lot in common with tea.

I even made a sixth steep but the fifth was the last great one. Still five steeps, incredible.

Ysaurella

peonies are my fav flowers (in light pink)- the smell is so wonderful really. I should try in a tea as well. Florist now have often “frozen” flowers…which leads to less perfumed flowers unfortunately

cteresa

Oh I think white peony tea is usually not really scented with peonies (though I got a black blueberry tea which includes peony scent reportedly). These white peony tea is just, I think, literal translation from the Chinese bai mu dan ou tai mu pan or something like that. But it is just the name of this type of white tea, no peonies involved though sellers description mentions it is supposed to have floral notes similar to peonies.

Ysaurella

okay so I’ll have to blend real peonies myself (!) oh lord it would be terrible if I blend a tea myself :D

cteresa

No, it would be fun to “blend” a tea yourself! Well with some considerations, that it would be more like mixing or infusing, not really blending with oils. But it would depend on what you would mix – confess to sometimes mixing different loose teas! I got a very strong violet tea which is lovely if I mix it would something simpler and plainer. And made my own chai mix which turned out pretty OK! I think somethings, particularly already dried herbs and spices or flowers might be easier to work with – lavender, dried roses, cinnamon, etc. Lavender is so strong I guess it would work well (or perhaps too well!). But be careful with fresh flowers or fruits, they might rot in the tea and/or make the tea rot as well – I got a melon flavoured white tea which I swear tastes of rotten fermented melon, urgh. But if you are ever in London check Yumchaa´s Blueberry Hill, blueberries, cream and peonies.

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Inconstant tea drinker – I mostly drink tea when not too hot. I hang around steepster much more frequently in (northern hemisphere) cold season.

- Teas -

I like all sorts of tea, flavoured and unflavoured, though I am picky. I am always willing to try anything new. I am now particularly interested in single origins.

I am one of those people who actually loves Lapsang Souchong. I am not crazy about Earl Grey, in general. I don´t quite get Darjeeling teas, but I am trying to make sure …

I like rooibos, though not all bases. I loathe hibiscus. I do not like fennel/liquorice/anise in blends or teas with chicory. I am picky about what I consider true cinnamon.

As you can probably tell from my cupboard, the brands I find more interesting right now are Mariage Fréres,Thé-o-Dor and Yumchaa.

Location

Portugal

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