Bai Mu Dan - Spring 2011
Harvest: Spring, 2011 (Early April)
Varietal: Da Bai Hao
Growing Region: Fuding County, Ningde Pref., Fujian
Our Bai Mu Dan hails from the historical center of White tea cultivation, Fuding County in Northern Fujian Province. It is comprised entirely of young, early harvest two leaf and one bud sets from the “Da Bai Hao” (Large White Fur/Hair) tea cultivar indigenous to Fuding county.
Bai Mu Dan means “white peony” in English, and this tea is supposedly named because it looks like a peony flower. Although I don’t see the resemblance to a peony flower, the dry leaves are attractive, large and wiry and are many different shades of silver, white, green, yellow and brown.
The processing of this style of white tea is quite straightforward. It is simply picked, carefully withered in the sun and/or indoors in a climate controlled environment and then dried. This simple processing creates a mild but distinctive finished product that, when steeped, allows the subtle but distinctive vegetal/floral aroma and flavor elements unique to the Fuding Da Bai Hao tea cultivar to take center stage in the cup.
This is an everyday grade tea since there is a fair amount of breakage that occurred during processing, packing and shipping, but the benefit of selecting this particular grade is that it represents such a good value. The infused liquor is a lovely pale yellowish gold that feels medium to light bodied in the mouth. It delivers a lovely subtly sweet flavor with some floral and vegetal elements, a touch of fruitiness, and very little to no astringency. The flavor of this Bai Mu Dan is similar to the Bai Hao Yin Zhen (Silver Needles) we also carry from this region, but it has more flavor from the leaf material that comes across as a stronger/fuller flavor in the cup.
This tea is quite is difficult to make unpleasant when steeping. It works beautifully steeped Gong Fu style in a gaiwan, equally beautifully “Grandpa Style” just loose in a tall glass with hot water, or it responds well to a longer western style treatment in a larger teapot with a longer steeping time. If you are not comfortable steeping tea using a Gaiwan or small Gong Fu type teapot, just use a heaping tablespoon of leaves per cup in your favorite teapot, and steep in 175F water for 5-6 minutes before serving.