High-quality White Peony tea is known for its downy, gray-green leaves and abundance of unopened buds known as tips. (Lower grades contain thinner, brownish-green leaves and fewer tips.) So, right away, I can tell why this White Peony sample from Yezi Tea is ranked at Master Grade. Each teaspoonful contains twists of fine, sage green leaves and strong, silvery tips. Many of the leaves have a soft, downy underside that’s velvety to the touch. White Peony is also fluffy and well-stretched, so fewer leaves will fit on your measuring spoon. This explains White Peony’s higher leaf-to-water ratio compared to other teas.
When dry, White Peony’s aroma suits its delicate appearance. A subtle floral aroma with hints of plants and almond drifts out of the package when I open it. I think I even detect a whiff of caramel. Once brewed, the liquid carries a mild floral fragrance with a trace of seaweed. I’m not crazy about the seaweed undercurrent, but it’s still a pleasant-smelling tea. Not a permeating jasmine-like perfume, but gentle and fresh.
Despite the tea’s high leaf-to-water ratio, 1 teaspoon of dry tea for every 2 ounces of water sounds like a lot of leaves. So, I decide to steep 2 teaspoons of White Peony in 8 ounces of 185-degree water for 1 minute. The infusion results in a faint yellow-green – almost colorless! The flavor is there, though: a mellow blossoming of floral, seaweed, and almond. Again, I could do without the seaweed note, but it’s quiet enough that it doesn’t overpower the more attractive flavors.
To my delight, White Peony improves with each subsequent brew. With Steep #2 (1 minute 15 seconds), the liquid turns a brighter gold, and the seaweed tinge dissipates to let the floral and almond notes shine through. As it cools, the tea develops a slightly sweet aftertaste that reminds me of the caramel I thought I’d smelled earlier. Yay! Steep #3 (1 minute 30 seconds) introduces a buttery texture that enhances the flavor combination even more, especially once the tea’s down to room temperature.
My fifth and final cup of White Peony steeps for about 2 minutes. The flavor bouquet is mostly floral and plant now, but still mellow. No bitterness, no astringency – simply soothing from sip to finish. The ambiance this tea creates reminds me of floating down a river: peaceful and serene, with the soft trickling of water, the flicker of sunlight on the surface, and a touch of mist. Ahhhh, yes. I can see myself meditating or relaxing with a good book while savoring this.
Read the full version of my review here: http://bibliophilesreverie.com/2014/11/18/yezi-tea-white-peony-master-grade-white-tea/
Flavors: Almond, Caramel, Floral, Seaweed