One of the criticisms often levelled at White2Tea is that they play their cards a little too close to their chests for some folks in the tea community, who want to know to the half metre where on the globe and at what altitude the leaves in their gaiwan were grown, as well as complete horoscopes and biographies for the farmer, his significant other, their pets, parents and siblings.
My philosophy is that when you sign up for the White2Tea experience, you go with the flow, accept that you are in capable hands, lay back and enjoy the ride. The web site says that this is a 2016 pressing of Menghai material, and that’s good enough for me.
|Weight of dry leaf:||7 grams|
|Infusion style:||Gong-fu / Asian|
|Steeping vessel:||150 ml porcelain gaiwan|
|Steeping method:||2 second rinse, then an initial 10 second infusion, with subsequent infusions @ +5 seconds until 35 seconds for a total of 6 infusions.|
The rinsed leaves remind me of “medieval library” – centuries old polished wood and equally ancient leather bound crinkly documents.
Right from the get-go this tea delivered a soup that was sweet and luscious, with the colour of orc blood and the consistency of engine oil. I wonder, how long can these leaves keep this up?
This tea is all about incredible body and mouthfeel, but not to the total exclusion of taste. It might be playing a secondary role, but there’s still a nice taste here, too, a subtle vanilla and raisin thing.
The typical shou earthiness is there but very muted and in the background, acting almost like a scaffolding for all the other tastes and aromas.
Interestingly enough, this tea tickles me with some rather sheng-like characteristics. Firstly, there’s a noticeable “wet leather” aroma in the mix, and later on, somewhere about the 3rd. infusion, I get a good Qi belt, not an A-bomb Lordy Hallelujah smother me mother shockwave, but still significantly more than shou usually delivers, a sweaty neck, chest and elbows (?!) job.
Towards the end of the session I start to get a peppery, tingling sensation on the tip of my tongue.
The problem I always have with teas that start out so intensely is that the second they show signs of fading I lose interest just as rapidly, and this was the case here. For me, at least, it seems meaningless to try to wring too many steepings out of a tea that was so great earlier on in a session. In fact, this tea made me think of John Of Gaunt’s words in Richard II –
“His rash fierce blaze of riot cannot last,
For violent fires soon burn out themselves…”
Indeed. Still, 6 excellent steepings of that quality was well worth the effort, methinks.
Oh, and just in case you missed it, that text on the back of the wrapper is paying homage to a song that shares its name with this tea, a song by a genius taken all too soon…