This is an interesting blend – being a white tea, it wants to be steeped briefly and gently, but being peppermint tea, it wants to be steeped long and boiling… Lupicia recommends 1.5-2min and boiling, I compromised with 200F, since boiling water is a waste of white tea.
I am a big fan of peppermint tea; as simple as it is, a good fresh peppermint is one of life’s greatest pleasures. This offering keeps with Lupicia’s standard of quality, with large pieces of unbroken mint leaf, interlaced with whole, snow white tea leaves. It’s so fluffy that it comes in a double-tall Lupicia tin for the same weight, and you need 2x the scoops for the same amount of tea. Many peppermint teas are broken down to save space, or because peppermint is more forgiving of broken leaves, lower grade etc. As always, Lupicia’s about tea, not cost balance: big pieces of obviously fresh dried leaf because it’s better that way for the drinker. They could have skimped on the white tea, too, being an herbal blend, but it’s some of the prettiest, most consistently unbroken white I’ve had, and there’s plenty of it, almost leaf-for-leaf balanced.
Brewed, it has everything I love about peppermint tea, from the warming, calming aroma to the faint psychoactive calming effect, but the taste is mellowed, the white tea coming through clear and fresh, not at all overpowered by the mint. It’s hard to judge the tea side of this one in depth, as any real complexity or fanciness the white tea might have is lost in the mint, but it tastes like peppermint flavored, high quality white tea, not like peppermint tea with a faint sprinkle of white tea, or just watered down peppermint tea (as some takes on this blend do).
This is everything I could want from a peppermint white – it’s a tea nerd’s blend, with true attention and care paid to the quality, blend proportions and handling. So often, white tea blends are aimed at people who like sweet+iced white tea bottled drinks, and skimp on the quality with the assumption it will end up iced, sweetened, and the customer wouldn’t be the type to notice either way.
Lupicia is constantly proving to me that they’re something unique: a company with a wide range of flavored teas, fruity blends, and other such hallmarks of shitty Teavana-style hackery, except they actually deliver on the quality. For every fruity, flavored-up blend, there’s a Yame gyokuro, or a fresh winter-picked Taiwan oolong, or this-season plantation-specific shincha complete with photos and information about the farmer who grew it and the region it’s from… and they’re all taken equally as seriously when the leaves are selected. The stores don’t try to upsell you, and you can have an expertly prepared sample of that Yame gyokuro ($3 of leaves in the sample alone) without so much as a glare should you choose to leave the store empty-handed.