Songyang White

Tea type
White Tea
Ingredients
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Flavors
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Edit tea info Last updated by Kittenna
Average preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 0 min, 45 sec

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19 Tasting Notes View all

  • “Ok.... in conclusion, I suck at brewing this tea. 172F for 20 (or was it 30?) seconds, and I'm literally getting tasteless water. There's a hint... juuuuust a hint, of tastiness, but even with the...” Read full tasting note
    45
    kittenna 2410 tasting notes
  • “This is a really intriguing tea to me. Most white teas are either straight or flavored/sceneted versions of Silver Needle (Yin Zhen) or White Peony (Mu Dan). They are sweet and spicy, with...” Read full tasting note
    Spoonvonstup 59 tasting notes
  • “Thank you kindly Verdant for sending me a sample of this in my last order! Everyone else has been raving about their Jasmine white tea but I was rather glad I got this one instead. Upon smelling...” Read full tasting note
    75
    amyoh2 2487 tasting notes
  • “This tea piqued my curiosity so much that I decided to try it first form my Verdant order. I steeped it following the directions on the site. I used about 6.5 ounces, knowing by the time I...” Read full tasting note
    pandamanda 1201 tasting notes

From Verdant Tea

Flavor Profile: When we set out to find a white tea, we tried countless samples. Everything seemed a bit too predictable, too mild, too simple. That is, until we came upon this incredible and unique harvest from Songyang. The aroma is more similar to a fine Darjeeling than another Chinese white tea. The flavors are stunning: buttery and thick like steamed brussels sprouts and edamame, yet somehow crisp and clean at the same time. It almost reminds us of green tea ice cream. The Songyang loves being resteeped, and yields at least four pots gongfu style or three western style.

Region: Songyang Township, Zhejiang Province

About Verdant Tea View company

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19 Tasting Notes

45
2410 tasting notes

Ok…. in conclusion, I suck at brewing this tea. 172F for 20 (or was it 30?) seconds, and I’m literally getting tasteless water. There’s a hint… juuuuust a hint, of tastiness, but even with the fairly weak houji-genmaicha that I just drank, it’s too weak. Bleh. I think I have yet another cup’s worth of leaf left, but I’m about to give up. I’m sure that age is affecting this tea (although I see that JC logged this tea a month ago and clearly thought it was still ok).

ARGGGGHHHHHH!

ETA: Ok, half the water, 1-minute infusion at 175F for the second infusion. Best flavour yet, but it’s flirting with being too astringent. Oh! But there’s finally a nice aftertaste! Not enough for me though, unfortunately. I just don’t think this tea is for me (and it’s seemingly impossible to brew, haha, perhaps someone can offer a suggestion?)

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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59 tasting notes

This is a really intriguing tea to me.

Most white teas are either straight or flavored/sceneted versions of Silver Needle (Yin Zhen) or White Peony (Mu Dan). They are sweet and spicy, with some citrus notes coming out in a Bai Mu Dan. Other than that, I find the profiles to all be very similar, with only varying degrees of strength, quality, or staying power. As a result, I’m just not that into white teas. I love things that are complex and unexpected, and I love my teas to change and take me on a journey over multiple steepings. That’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but we’re talking about what’s in my cup here.

And then Verdant brought in this Songyang white. I’ve never heard of Songyang before. I’d also say “not even while I was living in China,” but that doesn’t say very much considering the folks in Qingdao didn’t care about white tea at all. The only other place I’ve even seen a Songyang white is at Adagio (Songyang Serenade Tea). They describe Songyang as " light in color, with a tender aroma and a sweet, refreshing taste. If you enjoy the subtle taste of white tea, we recommend you give Song Yang a try." To me, this description says, "this is an extremely light tasting tea. we don’t know what it tastes like and the flavor is obviously not interesting to us, so we’re just going to says it’s generically “sweet” and “refreshing. Even though it’s bland, we’re sure you’ll drink it because it’s white tea so it obviously has ‘health benefits.’” The description goes on more about how hard and expensive this is to process rather than taste.

I haven’t tried Adagio’s version of Songyang (it’s no longer on their website), but I can’t imagine anyone calling this version from Verdant tasteless or just generically “sweet” and “refreshing.” This tea is so different from any other white tea I’ve ever encountered, it’s something I’d recommend to others just to broaden your mind a bit.

The dry leaves are as pictured.. long tongues or little green, complete leaves that look like shards. The dry smell has hints of sparkling spive with some dry sweetgrass notes. There is a bright crisp note that really reminds me of a snappy Darjeeling (disclaimer, I rarely ever drink Darjeeling.. this just fits with my impressions of them so far.) Once steeped, the leaves are incredibly green! It’s a reminder that words like “green,” “white,” and “oolong” refer to how a tea is processed, not the color of the leaves. The smell of the steeped leaves is of steamed, fresh greens- brussel sprouts or baby asparagus- but still with a nice, light sweet and spiced blanket over the top. We spent quite awhile just sticking our noses in the steeped leaves, trying to figure out just what the intriguing aroma reminded us of..

The taste, as I mentioned above, must really be tasted to be believed! It’s so green and snappy in taste, like an uncooked sweet pea pod.. or like creamy, thick steamed edamame with some butter (at the same time, without being savory). The words that keep popping up all over my notes page are crisp, snappy, and clean. Later on, the consistancy remined me somehow of tea ice cream, and again that bright Darjeeling comparison.

What this tea makes me think of the most, however, is eating leaves. When I was younger, I would (stupidly, I know!) wander around the neighborhood, picking leaves off of the neighborss plants and eating them. I lived in Indonesia at the time; my mother would have a heart attack if she knew. Point being, those leaves all tasted so fresh and alive.. like there were crystals of bright green life buzzing around in them. This is what the tea liqour tastes like. It really makes me imagine that this is what true, virgin tea tastes like. The Priomordeal Tea- tea of the Garden of Eden… Tea. This must be what Emporer Shen Nong tasted when those tea leaves blew serendipitously into his little couldron of boiling water, the tea that cured him of his deadly poisonous ill.

That virgin, untouched, unprocessed taste is what intrigues me so and draws me to this tea, over and over, to try. It’s so crazy, so weirdly appealing, and for me is very true to what white tea processing is.

I tried this later with another friend with even shorter steepings (steeped in two glass pitchers), and suddenly some expected white tea flavors started popping up along with my TEA taste. Without warning, there was clove, sparkling sweet spice of pastries, or even of an almod croissant. Such a surprising tea. I will keep playing with the steeping times and methods to figure out just what causes one flavor to come out over another, and which method I prefer for what mood and setting.

If you’ve tried all the white teas, you haven’t tried anything like this yet. Give it a try- it is unlike anything else. A true taste of untouched tea.. crazy fun. I am having a good time figuring this out.

PS: Yes, this is one of Verdant’s few teas where steep time, etc is actually important (the other being Dan Cong and maybe Farmer’s Coop). Basically everything else is very forget/work-proof.. I take the tea, I put it in a cup, I add water, and I can just drink all day.
You could probably do this with any other white tea- Bai Mu Dan and Bai Hao Yin Zhen shoudl never get bitter, no matter how hard you try. But this is a very different white tea. Western style, I’d say two minutes or less. In fact, whether you’re doing it in a small glass pitcher (like I do so I can see that dancing leaves) or in a bigger pot, I’d recommend going by the smell of the tea the first few times. Just like green vegetables are done when they look done and most delicious, so too will this tea be done when it smells just right.
In a glass pitcher, I added the tea leaves (enough to cover the bottom, plus a tiny bit more), and then poured my boiling water onto the side of the glass until the water covered the leaves. Poured until the glass was 2/3rds-ish full. Let it steep for 15 or 20 seconds the first time.. basically, I swished the leaves around once, smelled them, swished again, smelled- and then poured off.
So if this tea seems bitter or overly sharp, I’d say back off on the steep time. These leaves have had the utter minimum in processing, so they are very unprotected from the hot water we pour on them to wake them up. Be gentle, and they should reward you with the fun flavors described above.

Kashyap

truly wonderful review..comprehensive, personal, self-revealing…outstanding…thank you so much for relating your experience in such a compelling way…

TeaBrat

excellent advice. :)

Stephanie

Beautiful note!

BTVSGal

Hmm I almost asked for a sample of this, but decided not to when it was mention that it was almost green. After your review I might have to ask for it for my last Verdant purchase this year.

Spoonvonstup

@BTVSGal- It is definitely full of green tastes, so those expectations are right on the mark. But it sure is an interesting find that’s worth trying, even if only to get exposed to a fuller range of what white processing can accomplish.

@everyone-else: D’aw.. glad you enjoyed. I just write down all the blather I scribbled in circles on my note cards, so I’m always pleased when it just makes sense.

SimpliciTEA

Spoonvonstup: This isone of the most well-written and intriguing reviews of a tea I have EVER read.

I thought about asking for this as a sample when I ordered my recent batch of Laoshan black, and after reading this I wish I had (Although he sent me a Wuyi Big Red Robe oolong, which I believe is a quality Wuyi Oolong, and I look forward to trying it).

Thank you for gifting us with your words/thoughts/experiences!

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75
2487 tasting notes

Thank you kindly Verdant for sending me a sample of this in my last order!

Everyone else has been raving about their Jasmine white tea but I was rather glad I got this one instead. Upon smelling the leaves I decided to brew them up in the xi ying and let it steep for about 1.5 minutes, very bitter. I thought perhaps the clay was throwing off the taste a bit so I transferred the leaves to the gaiwan and let it steep for about 20 seconds, still very bitter. Then I finally decided to heed the gong fu directions on the bag and let it steep for 8 seconds which basically meant I poured water over it and poured it back out into a cup. They recommend 205 F for whites but when I did that it got brackish really fast. I had to brew this like a green. Now I am getting the clean vegetal aromas were described. This is very interesting and reminds me more of a green tea than any other white I have had. I think I need to start all over again on a new day with a little less leaf and very short steepings. I was very surprised at how easy it was to mess this up but I really don’t have a very good track record with white teas. I will be glad to increase my rating if I can figure out how to make this more palatable.

Preparation
205 °F / 96 °C 0 min, 45 sec
ScottTeaMan

I always brew my whites gong fu and start steeps around 45 sec to one minute. It also depends on the amount of leaf you use and water temp. I use more leaf and start with lower temps (160-170) and gradually increase both times & temps

ScottTeaMan

Yixings are also usually used for Oolongs and Puerhs, but you can use them for blacks. I would not recommend Yixings for Greens and Whites.

TeaBrat

Hey, they said you could brew this western style with 205 F water for 4 minutes, I can’t imagine, it would be like a seaweed broth. Seems like less is more here for sure.

ScottTeaMan

Yeah, I never brew my whites 3 or 4 minutes unless I’ve steeped it a few times, but never for the first few brews

David Duckler

Hi Amy,
Thanks for the real-world field testing here. This is a very different white tea. I am of the school to use boiling water on white tea, brewed in a glass pitcher for 10-15 seconds, but it sometimes gets me in trouble with thse 175 degree crowd. HOWEVER- that works mainly for silver needle white, especially Yunnan silver needle. This Songyang, as you rightly point out, is closer in flavor to a green tea, and should probably be treated as such when brewing, even though it is technically a white tea due to processing. This one is slightly temperamental, but I think that when you return to it, you will hit the sweet spot and get all the good fresh green flavor. This one always feels very “alive” when I brew it, if that makes any sense. If you used up your sample, let me know and I will give you a bit more to play with in your next order.

I will play around with the Songyang this week and revise the brewing instructions to reflect how different it is from the other white teas I have encountered.

TeaBrat

David – thanks for your note. I still have more and I suspect if I treat it gently I will indeed like it more. :)

ScottTeaMan

I can’t imagine ever using boiling water for any whites or greens. Hhmmm Amy, was that a free sample with your order? If so, Major note to self: “Plan an order with Verdant Teas in the near future!” :))

TeaBrat

Scott, yes it was a freebie! :)

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1201 tasting notes

This tea piqued my curiosity so much that I decided to try it first form my Verdant order.

I steeped it following the directions on the site. I used about 6.5 ounces, knowing by the time I spilled it I’d have 2/3 of a cup. Worked out. I sprinkled a teaspoon of leaves into the cup, swirled it, let it steep for 20 seconds and poured it into a mug through a strainer.

The first few sips were creamy, and gave me like a sparkling wine impression. It was light, but something was there. Now it’s cooled a bit, and it smells and tastes like buttery green vegetables.

Onto the second steep! This is really like the green tea ice cream mentioned on the page! It’s so sweet and creamy. And it’s leaving a feeling similar to carbonation on my tongue.

Third is similar, less sparkling and maybe like a bit of citrus mixed with edamame. And for now I am going to stop because I am supposed to study, not keep playing with tea. But I don’t want toooooo…

Kittenna

Hahahaha, like you studying, I should definitely be working on my Monday presentation, not perusing Steepster… especially since I’m headed out of town at 8am tomorrow (Sat.) morning for a day and a half… Blaaaaah!

Also, glad you like this one! I think I’m ordering it as part of the budset sampler shortly.

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82
152 tasting notes

Wow I can’t believe I still had this and that I had not logged it in. I found a stash so I’m sharing with a friend at work. Even though this is a white tea this tea seems to cross the line between green and white tea, I’m sure it will be enjoyed.

I’m having this today because I felt like its been a while since I’ve just had some white/green and this one is easy to drink, sweetness that is not overwhelming with strong vegetal notes that always remind me of parsley for some reason.

First steep is sweet and slowly turns smooth, buttery and vegetal. What I like the most is how pale it is, tricks you into thinking it will be extremely subtle, it certainly isn’t bold but the flavors don’t hide either.

The second steep was still sweet and buttery but not as the first one. This one does wear taste that resemble Edamame when steamed. It turns sweeter and refreshing one it has gone down.

I feel like sometimes white/green teas are like a ‘cleanser’ of the mind. A purity about them that just relaxes you.

Preparation
165 °F / 73 °C
Bonnie

Great comment about the mind purity. I think the flavor lingers too which is like a reminder to slow down and rest or at least relax.

JC

Its true. I love my Puerh and I can relax with it. But every once in a while having a green tea or a white tea (at least to me), is like resetting my head. And in the aspect of tea, is like the pickle ginger to my sushi, restarts the palate. lol

Bonnie

I love puerh too, but I have to take a break. I’m a big fan of strong black tea’s, roasty oolongs and autumn darjeeling for kicking me in the head. Then, those delicate greens are like a defrag!

JC

Completely agree. It feels like you can run smoothly again. I have a stash or Silver Needle and Drum Mountain White and Green teas for this. I just happened to stumble into this tea today.

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84
244 tasting notes

I Like this tea, but it has a glaring problem: It’s a picky tea. Water too hot? Tastes bad. Steeped too long? Tastes like crap. Gets too cold after brewing? Tastes bad. The sample from Verdant had enough for three sessions, and two of those were bad. This led me to drop my rating down a bit.

The first infusion was fine, but the second turned out horrifyingly bad. I threw that out, and got the same result when I tried again. So I gave up.

Preparation
150 °F / 65 °C 1 min, 0 sec
Jim Marks

High quality white tea demands that you be present from start to finish. Prepare correctly and precisely, and then drink promptly.

Have you found other white teas to be less so?

Joshua Smith

Yeah, I have no trouble brewing Bai Mu Dan or Bai Hao Yin Zhen. This tea seems to be a whole new level of picky compared to those. If I get more with my next order from Verdant, I’ll be more prepared and I’ll probably not make the same mistakes again.

Jim Marks

Interesting. I find that bai mu dan comes out very flat if not steeped very carefully. It doesn’t taste “bad”, it just doesn’t taste like anything at all.

Joshua Smith

I know what you mean, that’s happened to me a few times. It actually makes me a bit curious about how exactly this Songyang white was produced. I have a feeling that the combination of the processing method and the cultivar used is a bit exotic, and that this “finickiness” – for lack of a better word – is just a side effect of this.

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174 tasting notes

A nice little sample I received with my order. Been wanting to try it but been lazy. So, here we go!

This is a very interesting and different white tea from any other white tea I’ve had before. I don’t get any hay or straw notes or the sweetness I get from Silver Needles. Instead I get steamed green vegetables with a touch of butter.

There’s a crispness to it that seems odd since I’m getting butter notes. There’s a hint of floral notes, more so as the tea starts to cool. There is a spice flavor in the aftertaste like pepper, but not quite. It reminds me of a Darjeeling. Tea grown from that area (or Ceylon) doesn’t exactly tickle me pink.

I can see where people say they get tea ice cream. It’s not something that jumps at me screaming ice cream either. It’s in the way the greens mix with the buttery notes and retains the crispness.

Now that the tea has cooled considerably I can taste the traditional white tea hay notes. It still smells and tastes like steamed green veggies. There is a slight astringency in the aftertaste, more as the tea cools, not enough to be unpleasant.

This is a very interesting tea, one I’m glad I tried, but one that unfortunately doesn’t quite fit my flavor preferences.

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 0 sec

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93
32 tasting notes

I finally nailed this tea! But first, let me tell you about my nigh-tealess week.

It’s only just cooled down enough outside that my apartment isn’t an oven inside. I can do things around the home without feeling like I’m dying! Seriously, the past few days, the temperature inside my apartment reached the 90s almost daily. No amount of fans helped. The windows only open a couple of inches, so that didn’t help either. The Boy and I spent most of our evenings nearly immobile, moving only to feed the furbabies something cool. Needless to say, we didn’t go into the (significantly hotter) kitchen much. That included forgoing tea making for the most part. I did make a couple of tea slushies, but it was nothing too fancy. In fact, I was pretty sloppy with the steeps, because I just wanted to get back to vegetating in front of the two fans.

Needless to say, this 60F weather is a dream come true in comparison. It’s still a bit stuffily warm in the kitchen, but I can tolerate it enough now that I can make myself tea more often. I feel human again.

Now, this is the tea that I sadly mishandled last time I tried. I crowded the leaves and oversteeped it Western style. Even then, I could tell how much I’d like it if I got it right. And now I’ve gotten it perfect.

I took Mr. Duckler’s advice to try this Jingshan style, though leaving the leaves in a basket so I could stop the steeping a bit more easily.

1 tablespoon to a 12oz glass (one of those Pom Tea glasses they discontinued a while back). 175 degree water. First steep – about 15-20 secs; second steep – 20 secs; third steep – 30-35 secs; fourth steep – I eyeballed it until it was the right colour, about 3 minutes, sipping every so often to check the taste.

The result is a beautifully thick, vegetal, delicate, and extremely compelling tea. I’m not sure I have enough tasting experience to do it justice. It’s some sort of buttered vegetable, maybe green beans, that melts into a vegetal sweetness that’s delicate without being boring. A whisper of a green apple tart at the very end – tangy and buttery and sweet.

Beautiful and soothing, hot. Wonderful and refreshing, cold (I made enough to stick some in the fridge overnight!).

I’ll keep playing with this tea, next time I’ll try it in a gaiwan!

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 0 min, 30 sec

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82
138 tasting notes

I just received my package today although it was "delivered"on the 29th, my apartment complex held it in the office.
I asked for a sample of this tea because I thought " why not sample both of the whites Verdant has to offer?" The jasmine Yunnan was great so I asked for this, this time.

Hmm.. I went on Verdant’s website to see what temp I should boil this at. I usually do it at 185, but the site said boiling and to use a tablespoon of tea. Instead of using my gaiwan I decided to go for the tasting cup instead.
I brewed it for about a min. It had a nice yellow color. The wet leaf had some floral notes, but I really could not smell more then that. The taste for me was even a little harder to make out. It was sweet at first then a little bitter. It had a floral note but there was something more.
After reading both of the tasting notes that were on here, I think I am going to try again with a lower temp. Maybe 175?
I will come back to this….

Preparation
175 °F / 79 °C 0 min, 15 sec
Charles Thomas Draper

I have this coming too as a sample….

TeaBrat

It wasn’t a huge hit with me but you need to play around with it, I think

BTVSGal

Yes the sample was big enough for me to get maybe three tastings. So one down 2 more to go. I continued steeping the 1st though. I did it at 185…less bitter, but I think I just need to start fresh.

ScottTeaMan

I brew all my whites between 175-185.

BTVSGal

So I tried this again. This time I did the temp at 185 and brewed it for 20 seconds. Turned out a lot better. Crisp and clean. Tasted like creamed spinach.

Spoonvonstup

Creamed Spinach! definitely see that. That’s how I’ve been doing this tea… short and sweet to protect the baby leaves.

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84
240 tasting notes

I have played with this tea a few times before rating it because at first I couldn’t figure out the right steeping parameters.
I think I have it now =)
1st: boiled water that is now down to steaming only, 12 seconds as I was nervous about the bitterness, 1tbsp or a bit more of leaves. Creaminess beyond belief on the sides of my tongue. Brussel sprouts and a creamed leek soup maybe? I can see the comparison to a Darjeeling as it has a similar astringency to me. My tongue also reacts the same way to a mouthful of this tea as it would to a mouthful of citrus juice.. except its not citrus. Its sparkly and bright after the creaminess.
2nd: The leaves smell of sweet cream. Yum. Sweet cream with marshmallow and vanilla. The taste is mild, but reminiscent of a custard. And a nice Darjeeling.

I am enjoying this tea.. though I do find it a little mild and I am having a hard time picking out flavours sometimes. Though when I find them, they are lovely!

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