Most of my white tea experiences have been with white teas from my local Asian grocer. This tea is bright and flavorful in ways I haven’t had before. I’m truly pleased!
“Most of my white tea experiences have been with white teas from my local Asian grocer. This tea is bright and flavorful in ways I haven’t had before. I’m truly pleased!” Read full tasting note
“Ah, Ya Bao, a tea so unique that it’s on the “must have” list of teas that I must keep at all times. I came cross this particular Ya Bao because the one I have tried before and...” Read full tasting note
About this harvest:
This batch is from an early harvest of Ya Bao from the early Spring, 2013 season. The buds are quite small compared to later harvests, and the flavor is super fresh and clean.
Ya Bao literally means “Bud Treasure.” This white style tea is composed entirely of hand picked tender young buds from a wild growing/undomesticated Camellia varietal specific to the Yunnan/Myanmar border region. Sometimes referred to as “Ye Sheng” or “wild” tea, this is not a Camellia varietal traditionally used to make the more familiar styles of tea; however, Xiaguan tea factory regularly produces compressed Pu-Erh teas incorporating both leaf and bud materials from this varietal.
This Ya Bao is from Dehong in the far western portion of Yunnan province (Lincang, Baoshan, and Dehong all have areas which produce Ya Bao). In early Spring, young new growth buds from these trees are harvested and simply dried in the sun to produce this Ya Bao. The leaves and buds which grow on these trees later in the spring harvest season are used to produce various “Ye Sheng” Pu Erh teas in the factories of the region.
Appearance, Flavor and Aroma:
The steeped liquor of this Ya Bao is really light and clear with just a touch of yellow green. The flavor of the infusion is a bit fruity with hints of evergreen and fresh young vegetable (think squash blossoms), and the mouthfeel is light, crisp, and super fresh.
This tea is very forgiving to steep. It is not particularly temperature sensitive and does not become unpleasant even when using water at a full boil. For Gong Fu style steeping, I recommend using about 5-7 grams in a 150 ml gaiwan, use approx 195 F water, and start with a quick rinse followed by a 20-30 second first steep. Western style, I recommend treating it like a regular green or white tea.
General steeping guidelines for the different categories of Chinese tea and a short downloadable “how to” video on Gong Fu style tea preparation are available on our Chinese Tea Steeping Guide page.
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Ah, Ya Bao, a tea so unique that it’s on the “must have” list of teas that I must keep at all times.
I came cross this particular Ya Bao because the one I have tried before and hoped to purchase (from Verdant) was out of stock, as well as the other one I have tried and really enjoyed (from Teasource). I could only find Norbu and Adagio selling Ya Bao at the moment, aside from some obscure looking websites that were overpriced. Norbu Tea has this tea on sale for a really fair price for 100g of it right now, so I figured I’d give it a shot.
This tea brews clear! Most Ya Bao do that, though some have a slightly gold tinge. I’ve always loved that about this tea and it is one of the traits that immediately draws me to it. This Ya Bao from Norbu Tea tastes different than the other two I’ve had. It is noticeably less fruity and where the others had hints of pine this one seems to have notes of cedar. The taste is woody with a very subtle sweetness and subtle notes of apricot. I imagine the reason the others I’ve had were more fruity is that they were aged at least 5 years or more, while this one is only a year old. The peach and apricot notes I am used to in Ya Bao are very dominant in the aroma of the dry buds, so I think with some years of aging those qualities would probably emerge in the flavor of this tea as well.
Overall it still screams Ya Bao any way you look at it, and those who enjoy less sweet and more savory brews will really enjoy this tea!
Flavors: Apricot, Cedar, Cream