Review: Drink the Leaf White Peony

Bai Mu Dan Tea, Drink the Leaf, White Tea Add comments
Raven’s Teaview Snapshot
Its OK"Mildly, the flavour of bamboo, characteristic of Bai Mu Dan, lingered without much further character."
Raven’s Teaview: 6.2/10
Other Teaviews: Katie gave it 7.4/10, Jamie gave it 7/10, CJ gave it 6/10
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drinkleafwhitepeonyThere’s no better time to enjoy a blissful cup of tea than when you can hear the blustering cold rumbling at the windows, as if daring to steal some of your warmth. So I thought it appropriate to celebrate the season in my tea selections with the hope of finding the brighter side of the icy onslaught. One of the most beautiful things amidst the winter landscape is catching a snowflake, glistening in the sun so you can see each nuance of its ornate design. To match this vision, I can think of nothing better than white peony, Bai Mu Dan, to bring a snowflake to my cup. The Fujian white peony from Drink the leaf seemed oddly appropriate by its description at their website to bring a ‘clear and bright cup’. Although the description compares their white peony to a spring day, the promise of warm buttery flavours seemed ever more fitting.
None of this warmth is evident from looking at the leaves. It is a motley of greens, dark light, matte and almost shiny leaves, interspersed with silvery buds and quite a few noticeable dark stems that it seems remarkable they are all from one type of tea. I would guess from the assortment and broken leaves, it was lightly heated to stop oxidation rather than simple air or sun drying. The light scent of the leaves sings of clover blossoms and milkpods with a trace of fresh mushroom.
I couldn’t help think of snow shoveling, measuring out the recommended 1.5 tablespoons needed per cup although it would likely only weigh a gram. Upon brewing the tea for 2 minutes at 175 °C as Drink the Leaf suggests, the radiance from my vision of glistening snowflakes appeared in the rich yellow gold colour of the brew, tinged peach at its edges. A sweet light marigold scent intermingled with hay emanated from the cup as the tea brewed leaving the aroma of the finished cup softly humming of a mixture of saltine crackers and ferns with a hint of mushroom remaining.
The palate was equally warm if not perplexing. Nicely structured, the medium body spoke of the light sweetness in the cup that was very smooth. However, the actual flavour was as delicate as the snowflake without the same intricacy. Mildly, the flavour of bamboo, characteristic of Bai Mu Dan, lingered without much further character. There was no bitterness but each sip seemed to coat my mouth and teeth with an uncomfortable dryness.
A second infusion produced a more substantial cup with a rounder, a bit more satisfying bamboo flavour with touches of butter and honey that was less drying although I felt a hint of oiliness. The colour and body of the tea were less decadent than the first steeping but still enjoyable. In the spirit of snowflakes, trying the tea cold brought out some different elements traced by faint cucumber, melon and avocado notes yet the oily or waxy character became more apparent. The neutral flavours didn’t really hold to relish in a third steeping of the leaves, as perhaps, may be expected for similar to the glistening snowflake, the delicate wonder is fleeting. Likewise, I think the light flavours of this tea would be better appreciated in the day amidst the sunshine for those looking for a soft sip.

— To purchase Drink the Leaf White Peony, 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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