This is wonderful. I am sort of in love with it which is a surprise because so far I had not really loved white teas.
The leaf itself is beautiful and slightly strange – so silvery, so long, the strangeness that is the blossom. It smells wonderfully, an essence of tea smell with notes which remind me of raisins and yes, vague flowers (I have no idea what peonies smell like!).
I could not control temperature too well, so keep in mind the desired 80C are probably just an approximation. But regarding the liquor, brewing this at the advised amount with bottled water, at close to the advised temperature, and at 2 minutes per steep:
1st steep – very pale, very light golden with no hints of red (yet). Surprisingly full of body and tastes fruity and slightly floral at the same time, a taste which reminds me a bit of grapes – tiny grapes with a lot of skin but sweet table grapes just the same (comparing anything to wine grapes would not be a compliment!).
weirdly I do not like at all the smell during the steep, it smells very grassy and almost minty, I worry if I am using too hot water. But it does not translate to the taste of the steep
2nd steep – no worries after all. A deeper color, and flavour much richer, with perhaps even more body. No bitterness or astringency. Absolutely wonderful.
3rd steep – ah, now it has decided to remind that yes indeed this is related to black tea. The color now really has reddish tones. Just as sweet if not even more, with even more body, and the taste has now moved fully to raisins. I try to decide if this or the 2nd steep is my favorite, I decide the 2nd probably but it is close.
Brewing the 4th steep I am wary, I think the leaves are probably gone.
4th steep – but no, still alive and kicking. Slightly less rich than the 3rd steep, but still great and full of body. Lovely. I am going to go for a 5th steep but decided to stop the review right here since Peony Tea S only advises 4 steeps, not fair to take it further and risk finding fault on it when it´s me taking it past its limits.
I received this tea from Peony Tea S a few months ago, when they were asking for volunteers to test their shipping services, thank you so very much for your generosity! They selected the teas and I took my time getting to them. This was a weird psychological thing: a mix of weather, me being slightly intimidated by the tea´s obvious quality and wanting to try them for the first time when I could give them their due attention. I left this for last because well, silly me, thinking I was not fond of white tea. I was wrong, of this I am very very fond indeed.
Ah, a note, as advised by Derek, I kept this (and the green tea) in the fridge, sealed and double sealed from the rest of the fridge. I think it is more than worth that small effort!