5 grams of Yunnan “Snow Dragon” white tea from Norbu in a 6 ounce glass teapot. The dry leaves have a wonderful scent, sweet, fruity, grassy—and they’re pretty, beautifully curled, feathery and lovely.
Water 160 degrees, first infusion, liquor is pale yellow. The leaves have hardly begun to unfurl, but they’re released sweet floral essence into the liquor already, delicate and delicious. Not sure about the timing, at least 30 seconds, but not more than a minute or so—I was distracted taking a few pictures. The flavor is very reminiscent of several Yunnan green teas I’ve enjoyed in the past couple of years—one called Jade Pole from Yunnan Sourcing and Yunnan Mao Feng from Norbu—obviously the same or very similar tea cultivar—but no hints of astringency or bitterness. The tea hasn’t opened up much yet.
The second infusion, about 90 seconds, has a hint of astringency underneath the floral and sweet. The curls are opening more now.
Pushing up the temp to 170 for the next infusion: there is a new flavor coming to the fore, not bitterness, exactly, but a spicy/astringent quality, as the sweet and floral notes decline a bit. Still some curl to the pretty leaves.
At 170 and 3 minutes, the 4th still has sweetness, fruitiness, and the astringent/spicy is now less apparent. It really does need to be drunk quickly, because if the same infusion sits and cools a bit, the more astringent/spicy flavors take over.
After a 5th infusion, the leaves are straight, thin, small, and olive green, and quite intact, no stem or broken leaves.
Like the Jade Pole and the Yunnan Mao Feng, this tea gives up the marvelous initial flavors quickly, so it doesn’t yield a lot of infusions. It’s quite odd to me that similar tea varietals, processed in slightly different ways—for white/green vs for puerh—have such different tolerances for multiple infusions. Processed as white or green teas, these give up their floral and fruity notes immediately, in a marvelous rush of flavor, and then the spicy/astringent notes take over quickly. Processed for puerh, the astringent and bitter and earthy notes may dominate early infusions, and the sweet/spicy/fruity notes take several infusion to start opening up, but the sweet/spicy/fruity just keep going on and on and on. Fortunately, these lovely white and green Yunnan teas are inexpensive enough that a few marvelous infusions are enough to get my money’s worth.