So, I am on a lucky streak! Found a second shop (though tiny) in Ecuador that also sells a small selection of loose leaf teas! It is a cute little place called Bigote (which means mustache in Spanish). They serve cups of freshly brewed loose leaf and if you ask nicely, they will let you buy some to brew at home. Also, a neat little detail, all of the cups have a mustache on them so that when you are drinking from them, it sorta creates the illusion that you have a mustache!
I talked to the owner (who happens to be from the US, and has lived in China for years, and now in Ecuador) and she kindly explained to me that all her teas are imported directly from China, so I have no idea from where exactly. I decided to buy a few of the teas they offered so that, if good, I could have a second place to go for tea when I needed it! Sadly, I didn’t have much cash with me, so I only bough about 4 teaspoons of each that I chose so I could try them.
The first one I brewed was this Shou Mei. I have actually never been a fan of white teas. But considering I had never had Shou Mei, I decided to go for it. The leaves where not whole, but in large chunks. The leaves where a nice mix of browns, greens and a bit of furry whiteness here and there. The smell was not very impressive to me. It smelled a bit dull, but I have no other Shou Mei’s to compare it to.
I brewed 2 teaspoons to 18oz of water and ended up with a beautiful golden yellow liquor. Darker than whites that I have had before, but I was really pleased just looking at it through my glass tea cup. It smelled very delicate, picked up notes of steamed rice and something very sweet and honey-like. It reminded me of some chewy rice milk candy I had tried at some point.
The taste fit in nicely with the smell. I tasted steamed rice followed by something vaguely vegetable with a smooth sweet finish and an even sweeter aftertaste. I got three really good steeps out of these leaves, each steep becoming sweeter than the last. I am really happily surprised. I need to get around to trying more white teas… I really enjoyed this one!