One does not come upon a tea rare as White Shiiba that often. Intended originally for producing green tea, the small row of Japanese Shiiba tea plants that our producer has successfully planted in his farm in Nepal have acquired a different character from their Kyushu ancestors. Processing the leaves in the traditional white tea fashion is not common in itself in Nepal either. The old way of long wither style is rare, if heard of at all, outside of China. Somehow, through a string of coincidences, this old fashion Fujian processing done on an entirely different cultivar grown 1800 m above and 4000 km west of its origin has resulted in a tea that is simply one of the best tasting, and definitely the most likeable in the entire white tea category.
Warm, buttery aroma with floral and earthy undertones. Bright accents with touches of sweet spices and a certain freshness that reminds of highland forrest after the rain. Hints of freshly picked apple and wild honey.
Creamily smooth body with tones of apples and pears. Lightly umami with a sweet and malty twist. Mild and delightful bites of sweet spices. Malty aftertaste.
If the Chinese term yan yun that is usually used for finer Wuyi oolongs can be borrowed here, this tea is a great demonstration of that “tones from the rock” idea, and in a unique and silky way.
Begin experimenting with 1.25 g to 100 g water and infuse for 5 minutes at about 95 °C. Gradually increase to 2g to 100 if you think you prefer it stronger. May even go above 3g by adjusting the duration, but no less than 2 minutes. Always use a smaller, but thicker or denser teapot for such precious rare tea.
Unlike other green teas that are prized for plucking early in Spring, leaves of Da Guazi need to be quite open in order to make a fine Luan Guapian. This gives the proper biochemistry that yields enough pectin for the tea’s signature velvety texture and slightly sweet character. This unique nature is possible only with a special local cultivar — Da Guazi — Big Melon Seed, hence the funny name. If Longjing is too savoury and Taiping Houkui is too “green” for you, Lu’an Guapian is a great alternative of high quality with a different, yet pleasant and lively character.
For people who like classic style Phoenix but desire something more mellow than Honey Orchid, Orchid Gratus offers a taste that is as full-bodied. It is balanced with as subtle a warm and slightly sweet aroma. Not only is this a great choice for the veteran tea connoisseur who seeks peace in the cup, but is also a bridge between softer oolongs and the more vibrant world of taste in Fenghuang Dancong.
For those who prefer a little more strength in their green tea, April Mist is a pleasant choice. Harvested from scattered wild tea bushes in April during the misty days of the mountainous region and lightly roasted to perfection, this Yunwu (translate: misty) makes a distinct difference from its counterparts that may look similar.
This is a more affordable version of the most sought after Chinese green tea. While some people are willing to pay thousands for a small pack of the earliest harvest in Spring, Tea Hong brings you what is authentic but slightly later in season, for similar enjoyment but much less in price. It is, nevertheless, still a first flush — some tea grows slower than others, dependent on the cultivar, horticulture and micro-climate.