All my teas arrived today, and I decided to start with the one I have no prior experience to benchmark. There is simply nothing like a yabao other than yabao. I tried to order the late winter variant, but they must be out because the site kept redirecting me to these and these are what I got.
To say this is going to be an exercise in subtly would be a vast understatement.
The buds are quite fat, and the color of lawn thatch when dry. They have almost no aroma that I can detect.
I did a quick rinse to remove dust and to heat all my vessels, I’m using my new double gaiwan technique to do steepings. Watching the buds pop open is a bit creepy and the whole affair reminds me a bit of eating crickets.
The wet buds smell exactly like bai mu dan, which makes perfect sense. They’re both white buds.
1st ~ As long as it took to pour the water in, cover, and pour the water out. The result is almost perfectly clear. But there is flavor, here. I’ll be darned if the toasted marshmallow comment in the write-up isn’t true. There’s also a non-green vegetable here. Maybe a root or tuber. Like ginger but not quite that sharp.
2nd ~ Again, just a few seconds. Still no color. Again, something sweet and biting, like ginger candy, but very soft. Maybe it isn’t a vegetable, maybe it is Autumnal leaf piles. Maybe it is old, wet ones moldering a bit.
This is not a tea for accompanying anything. It requires total concentration to taste anything at all.
3rd ~ A three count between pouring and pouring. Just a bit of a hint of yellow color. Flavor a bit more present, but still very gentle.
The write-up claims you can get 18 infusions, but I don’t know if I can focus that long.
I used 1tsp in a gaiwan which is what the instructions recommend, but I think next time I’ll try more and see if I can’t get things a bit more concentrated.
This is very interesting, but I’m hard-pressed to see it becoming a staple on my shelf.