Review: Canton Tea Co. Ye Sheng Wild White Tea

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Thumbs up!"Up 'til now my absolute favorite white tea has always been Silver Needle. Second place? Ceylon Silver Tip. Third? White Darjeelings. Well, this trumped 'em all."
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I officially declare that April is Ye Sheng Month. Why? Because I've had, hands down, more teas from this leaf varietal than any other tea (besides matcha) for weeks. It all started with sampling Norbu's Ya Bao white buds, to their "lemony pu-erh" made from the same leaf. Now, in swoops Canton Tea Co. with a wild white tea of their own. This was a must-try because - unlike the Ya Bao - this was a full-leaf white tea, rather than just buds from the plant. This was also grown in Fujian instead of Yunnan. And given my love for that wildernessy white, a fuller-bodied tea couldn't be resisted.

Since December, I set a self-imposed limit on my tea purchases. Once a month, I would make one purchase totaling no more than $20, and the tea had to be something I'd never tried before. Canton wasn't on the radar until they mentioned acquiring the Ye Sheng from a formerly-defunct Chinese government farm where the cultivar grew wild. The way it should be. What finally pushed me over the edge was a "Spring Taster Pack" that was made available with the Ye Sheng included. Sold.

The leaves were far different from other Chinese whites out there. Instead of being rolled or cut into specific shapes, these were chaotically twisty. They were also darker than other varietals but still maintained the downy fur of most whites. The smell was all lemon and prairie, just as I expected.

Surprisingly, there were no brewing instructions on the Canton Tea site for this wild white. Odd since they usually made a point to include either Western or gongfu preps, depending on user preference. It wasn't all that important, since I knew of a good default for white teas - 1 heaping teaspoon steeped for two-to-three minutes in 8oz of 165F water. It probably could've held up to a stronger temp or time, but I went with my comfort zone.

The liquor brewed up to a clear-to-pale yellow - a white tea staple. The steam aroma matched the dry scent in its vaguely citrus impression. It smelled as refreshing as I hoped it would be, vaguely like White Peony if lemongrass had been added. The taste? Oh my...Up 'til now my absolute favorite white tea has always been Silver Needle. Second place? Ceylon Silver Tip. Third? White Darjeeling. Well, this trumped 'em all. Lemony accents complimented the natural melon-like lean most white teas possessed. It was also significantly louder in its nuances than Silver Needle with the robustness of Peony. Being a fan of - and having a bias for - citrus subtleties puts this one in the clear and distant lead.

— To purchase Canton Tea Co. Ye Sheng Wild White Tea, or for more specific information on ingredients or the story behind this particular tea, click here to go directly to the manufacturer's web site.

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One Response to “Review: Canton Tea Co. Ye Sheng Wild White Tea”

  1. Sammy Says:

    FYI… has this same white tea for $30.00 for 4 ounces. They call it Fuding Curly Wild Leaf from wild tea bushes. It is from the early weeks of the 2011 harvest in Fujian Province, China, and it is my new favorite white tea.

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