I have to give myself a little credit for being one of the handful of people to convince Shang to market and sell this tea. I was at the shop in spring of last year asking about the recent harvest just a few weeks prior when he happened to have a sample of it, and he brewed some of the freshly harvested white tea for us. We loved the flavor so much we sort of begged Shang to offer it in the store. Green Peony may not be what you think it is by the name. It’s not a green tea at all. Rather, it is actually a white tea. His White Peony King tea normally gets aged for two years before he puts the tea on the store shelves. In these two years, the tea leaves take on a much browner hue and develop a more mellow and complex flavor that white peony tea is known for. Green Peony is what the company is calling their White Peony that is freshly harvested and has not undergone this aging. It also has been air dried rather than sun dried.
Green Peony is a limited tea from Shang Tea that he decided to sell around the winter holidays last year alongside a limited Holiday Red tea. It’s from the 2014 harvest of White Peony, and without the usual aging the leaves are a vibrant green. The aroma of the wet leaves is bright, dewy, and lush in comparison. It reminds me a lot of green grapes with hints of melon and cucumber.
The brew tastes very sweet and light, more grassy and fresh than the usual white peony, with a champagne-like green grape flavor and an unmistakable finish of peach. It’s also quite sweet, especially in later infusions brewed in a Gongfu style. It gets very peachy and unexpectedly sweet by about the 6th infusion or later, when you’d expect the flavor to be dying out rather than strengthening.
This tea is a beautiful one to look at and just as wonderful to drink. I’m not certain of its availability at this moment, as it is not currently on the website (they may have some at the store if you’re local), but I really hope Shang Tea will be selling a 2015 batch of this around the winter holidays like they did with last year’s harvest. Only time will tell. I think this tea is a wonderful addition to the Shang Tea repertoire, especially for those with a taste for green teas. It has a bit of the vegetal vibrance of a freshly harvested green tea, but the lightness and exceptionally clean taste of a white tea.
Flavors: Champagne, Cucumber, Grapes, Grass, Peach, Sweet