I don’t have much experience with white teas, so I’m really looking forward to seeing what I can learn from this one. On first look, the leaves are beautiful – furry and very soft. They smell wonderfully fresh. The liquor is touted as being champagne-colored, but I think it’s a little too dusky for that; I’d say it’s more like a very light ginger ale or cream soda: a very light yellowish tan.

The flavor is light as well, but more complex than I had anticipated. There’s grassiness, but not in the same way as a Japanese green; more like a straw-grassiness, akin to chewing on a dried piece of sweet hay. There’s some sweetness and absolutely no bitterness or astringency, though there is a high note I’m having a hard time putting my finger on. Almost like pine, in a very subtle way.

Second steep: It’s funny, I’m getting almost as much of the flavor in the aftertaste as in the sip itself. I’m not used to teas that are so quiet – it’s kind of throwing me off my tasting game! There’s enough going on that I know I’ll be able to appreciate it, it’ll just take a little reprogramming of the taste centers to get there.

175 °F / 79 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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Grandma introduced me to tea as a kid (lipton with milk and sugar; a bit poured into the saucer to cool it down and then sipped from there), and I’ve never looked back. Still have a slight preference for teas that go well with milk (or even better, cream) and sugar, but since Grandma’s day I’ve branched out to appreciate green and white teas, rooibos and pu erh. Absolutely love Mariage Freres!


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