Hong Yu White

Taiwan Hong Yu White - dry leaf

I first spotted these leaves when I was logged onto House of Tea to re-stock on their Bai Mu Dan.

This tea was placed directly underneath it on the listing. What then caught my eye was the fact that underneath the Hong Yu White was the Red Jade White tea I posted about in September of 2019.

This threw me, because Hong Ya is essentially the same name as Red Jade. I checked House of Tea’s notes for both teas and yes, both teas are made from the same cultivar, TES nr. 18.

Now, this was very interesting, given the two teas’ quite different appearances.

It seems as though (please, do correct me if I’m wrong!) the Red Jade version look as it does because it’s a very tippy tea, whereas this tea is more along the lines of a Bai Mu Dan in terms of the plucking standard.

If there are in fact some other differences in processing between the two teas, I’d love to know what they are…

Anyway, the physical differences between the two teas piqued my curiosity to such an extent that I ordered a batch.

Just like a typical Bai Mu Dan the leaf here was rather fluffy, and the 5 grams I used was a very snug fit into the pot.

The dry leaf had a very faint, faraway floral aroma, but all that changed once the leaf had been given a few moments in the warmed up pot. After removing the lid to the pot and taking a deep sniff I was greeted by chocolate chip and raisin cookies!

Steeping method
Water Used: Filtered tap water
Weight of dry leaf: 5 grams
Infusion style: Gong-fu
Steeping vessel: 150 ml glass teapot
Water temperature: 85°C
No. & duration: 7 infusions of 5, 10, 15, 25, 40, 60, and 90 seconds duration

Taiwan Hong Yu White - a cup of

The first infusion was different yet again. In common with all the other teas I’ve sampled that were made with this cultivar, I picked up a significant lychee taste. This tea, however, had a distinct impression of buttered popcorn layered on top of it.

In line with other white teas this one had a more subtle nature to it, like the difference between a trained actor projecting their voice rather than someone simply shouting very loudly.

Throughout the rest of the session nothing joined or left the party, rather there was a gradual fade in the intensity of the mix of flavours in my cup until the end of the session.

Taiwan Hong Yu White - used leaves

Comparing this tea with the Red Jade White I think it’s fair to say that it does indeed have it’s own character, quite distinct from the other tea, even though they are made from the same cultivar and have been through what appears to be broadly similar processing. As I say above, until I know better I’m guessing that’s down to what appears to be the dissimilar plucking standards for the two teas.

Finally, as nice as this session was, in future I think I’m going to have to try to Tetris an extra gram or so into the pot!

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