Review: Silk Road Teas White Peony

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Raven’s Teaview Snapshot
Its OK"After the delightful dash of fruitiness in the aroma, the tea seems to reveal a chimera of sorts as the stemmy, sunflower seed flavours and lighter body seem to take on a green tea's form. "
Raven’s Teaview: 6.5/10
Other Teaviews: Geoff gave it 6/10, Vanessa gave it 6.5/10, Bryan gave it 7.2/10
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As China’s national flower, many a tale has been told of the peony. It's not so surprising then that somewhere along the way, they would name a tea after the fair flora. According to Chinese legend, it was once believed that nymphs coyly hid in the petals of the peony while the peony was also said to endow the ability to keep secrets to its holder. As white peony often seems personified standing quietly beside its elegant silver needled sister by its more playful yet subtle silhouette, it’s no wonder that the white tea brandished the name. Silk Road Tea’s white peony seems to capture such whimsical lore as the leaves betake a scattering from the forest as if gathered by some sprite or fairy.
Yet, as Silk Road Teas explains on their website, they select such a variety of leaves on purpose to add a sprinkling of fruitiness to a spell of long lived substance. And as if tumbled from the fairies’ pouch, the array of shape, size and colour present varying shades of greens, yellow and greys, open and closed, furry and sleek, fat and flat. Yet, overall the collection of leaves are mostly a dark greyish green of whole and broken leaves and buds, some still with their adjacent leaves, that have a demurely matte appearance.
Bringing the leaves out to play, their medium full perfume sweetly romps with a cozy dry leafy aroma, herbal more than floral with a note of white grape and cucumber to its fresh enthusiasm. While it has a nice sweetness, the pretty dried grassy scents reminds me a bit of fabric softener, rather than a perfumey bouquet.
So doling out the varied leaves, like toys from the toybox, based on the suggested brewing on the Silk Road Tea website, I steeped three and a half teaspoons of tea at 65°C for five minutes. Unexpectedly, the tea shines onto the scene, not bashful in the least with a dark straw yellow, a tad dull to ponder its being. The scent however is more exciting, faintly sweet with a dash of fruitiness as it dangles white grapes atop the more prominent notes of straw and fennel seeds. An air of refreshment in the aroma follows in the medium body that is some lighter feeling than other white teas I’ve had. Though round with just a slight sweetness and subtle dryness, something seems missing from the heft or impact. The taste flips a different card from the bouquet, mildly infused with cooked lettuce or cucumber and green stems with a fatty flavour that apexes in the finish to a hanging sunflower seed flavour, briefly painting one’s mouth. The light, green and reed flavours combined with the fattiness remind me of diluted vegetable oil while the finish also seems a bit like watery melted butter. The stem and green flavours are somewhat familiar to light Chinese spring greens like Mao Jian or Xue Ya, as if this white took a foray into make-believe, the tea seems an imaginary green.
Tagging the kettle “it” again for a second infusion, runs to a straw gold with a darkish cast to the colour, as if hiding. The aroma seems to play along adopting a more elemental rock like aroma on top of lettuce and bay leaf nuggety scents. The flavour dissipates into more feel than flavour, tasting faintly of green, fatty light seed. A slight astringency grittily sprinkles the flow into a medium finish with little aftertaste that friskily leaves an itch in one’s throat. A third steeping follows the leader, yet is tamed with a slight haze and a faint bouquet of dry rice or seed hulls. Little taste remains though traces of reeds and mineral peek-a-boo through and rather oddly, a light pine builds on one’s breath through the cup. As interesting as the piny linger is, the third brew may be too far as an increased dryness loses the tea's refreshment.
At the end of the games, Silk Road Teas white peony is not your average white tea but seems a chimera of sorts between a white and a green tea. Regardless, it is playful with its off beat aroma and nuance, it might make a frivolous daytime brew when you can’t decide on a green or white or for out of sorts kind of days when you think you can’t help talking to your imaginary fairy friend.

— To purchase Silk Road Teas 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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