I have always loved the Marco Polo flavourings, but there is something truly special about having them mingle so beautifully with the flavour of Pai Mu Tan.
How do you brew?
As with any white tea – concentrate on your brewing methods. I prefer “lighter” teas to not have very much of a bitter/overbrewed sensation when I drink them – if I wanted that I’d buy tea that was supposed to be brewed darker.
Consequently, I own every variety of Marco Polo except the Black tea version (although there are some beautiful Sablés au Thé flavoured with Marco Polo Noir which I would recommend to have with you first cup of the day!).
Back to Thé Blanc Marco Polo – I use a 6 cup pot and about a desert spoonful of tea in the infuser, unless I know I want to rebrew several “quick light” brews, then I will add a little more and steep a little less to get more out of these beautiful but expensive leaves.
I brew for 2mins 30s, check colour and if necessary for another 1 minute. Water temperature, has to be off the boil completely – I would recommend boiling the kettle walking off and doing something for 5 mins before coming back to pour. I have definitely noticed this makes the second brew of the same leaves easier and tastier.
How should I describe this tea for flavour?
Like the Thé Jaune d’Or, also by Mariage Freres, this is a light and refreshing tea – not so much a comfort drink to have late at night, or an envigorating wake up tea to be had first thing – this is a during the day tea, in which you can taste the fruit (esp first brew) and the warm honey and vanilla, with complements the warm honey character of the Pai Mu Tan underneath – but it also has a chocolatey note, especially in the raw leaves.