Malawi Antlers White Tea


Malawi White Antlers - dry twigs

After reading Henrietta Lovell’s book “Infused: Adventures In Tea“, which tells the tale of her Rare Tea Company, this tea, a product of the Satemwa estate in Malawi, became a no questions asked must have.

Whilst reading the book I twigged on that I’d already sampled one of the other teas from the Satemwa estate, namely their shou Pu-erh. Back then I said that one day in the future I’d love to get my hands on the other teas produced by the estate, and so when I was ordering the White Antlers I bought four more, as you do.

This is how Rare Tea Co. describe the tea…

“Rather than being made from the leaves of the tea bush, this incredibly rare tea is made from the velvety stem of finely plucked spring shoots. These antlers wonderfully express the unique terroir of this extraordinary tea garden. Only a few kilos can be produced each year.

Antlers also express the farm’s wonderful obsession with quality and innovation. Just like a vineyard, the tea garden produces tea from several fields. We buy our antlers from just one field that is reserved exclusively for Rare Tea.”

Sounds good to me.

The 20 grams of tea in my order kind of pushed me towards the decision to opt for Western style infusion. I’d rather have more sessions with a smaller yield rather than relatively few gong-fu sessions, feeling that this would give me more chance to get to know the tea better. This approach was also more in line with the way I prefer to steep other stem teas.

The dried stems had both fruity and floral characteristics, but it was hard to put my finger on exactly what I was reminded of.

Steeping method
Water Used: Filtered tap water
Weight of dry leaf: 3 grams
Infusion style: Western
Steeping vessel: 150 ml glass teapot
Water temperature: 90°C
No. & duration: 4 infusions of 2, 3, 4, and 5 minutes duration

Once the stems had been given a few minutes in the warmed up pot those aromas had intensified, but were still as ambiguous.

Malawi white antlers - a cup of

Before taking my first sip of the first infusion I had a good sniff of the warmed up stems. Now I was picking up an almost incense like aroma, that also had me thinking of sandalwood oil, more specifically the interior of Swedish store Indiska, purveyor of clothes, furniture, and other assorted nice stuff made on the Indian subcontinent.

The first infusion was a genuine flavour sensation. As well as the aforementioned aromas, the thick and milky liquor was giving me crystallized tropical fruits, papaya or mango, something in that vein. It wasn’t all sweet stuff, though – there was an astringent nip hiding in the background.

The second round saw the aromatic, woody notes become more dominant, and the astringent nip grow a few more teeth and become a bite.

Things started to slip a bit with the third steeping, but I wasn’t prepared to give up on these stems yet, and so went for a fourth infusion. Perfectly drinkable, but all I was left with was the sweet wood, and a faint echo of the fruit and flowers. I reluctantly called an end to the session.

Malawi white antlers - used twigs in pot

This was the first of the teas from Rare Tea Company I got to grips with, and even though my expectations were high, it didn’t disappoint. If anything, it’s got me utterly stoked about sampling the others.

This tea has most certainly elbowed its way onto my “specials” list. I’ve got 5, 6 at a push, sessions left with it, and I’m going to ration them carefully. It’s definitely going on another list too, the “buy this again” one.

Good stuff.

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12 Responses to Malawi Antlers White Tea

  1. I just placed my order with Rare Tea Company (the tea fund took some time to refill) and the White Antler Tea is one of them. I’m even more excited to try them now!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve been thinking about visiting the Satemwa estate while I’m living in Malawi, and this post and your book review are really pushing me to do it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Jenn Robinson says:

    These are also fantastic done grandpa-style. They just don’t get unpleasant even after a very long steeping time. I used to have them first thing in the morning, steeping them Western-style for a few infusions, and then putting them in my travel flask for a very fancy commute restorative.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Friday Roundup: March 15th - March 21st - Tea for Me Please

  5. Pingback: Rare Malawi Peony White Tea | Northern Teaist

  6. Pingback: Tea Review: Malawi White Antlers from Rare Tea Company – Eustea Reads

  7. Tim Sands says:

    You can get the same tea from the same estate for like a third of that price from What-cha.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes indeed. I found that out after checking which of the estate’s teas What-cha currently have in stock – I bought the Malawi dark (shou) from them a while back.

      I was expecting a slight price difference one way or the other, but I have to admit the actual size of it raised an eyebrow…


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