Tea: Bailu Shoumei (白露寿眉）
Type: Charcoal-Bake-Finished Fuding White Tea
Harvest: Bailu (Early September) 2022
Region: Taimushan, Fuding, Fujian, China
Producers: Master Zhang
Tasting Notes: Unglazed Doughnuts, Cedar Wood Bark, Roasted Peanuts, Green Bell Peppers
This Bailu Shoumei comes from the verdant slopes of Taimu Mountain, the legendary birthplace of Fuding White Tea. The picking grade of this tea is very high, an early September pick replete with many silver buds. There is a large stem to leaf ratio, which is characteristic of Zhang's production, as he desires their woodsy sweetness to mature over time. Although this tea is comprised of small leaves and many buds, there is a large amount of stems and some broken leaves, this is a common issue in these more delicate white teas, and why it is so often pressed early into cakes to preserve the leaf integrity.
The Dry leaves offer a clean aroma of unglazed doughnuts and something distinctly woodsy. One can catch small whiffs of a floral bouquet ready to come out as the vegetal notes transmute with time. Once hit with hot water, the leaves instantly give off a thick umami fragrance redolent of roasted peanuts and buttered artichokes.
The brew is an immaculate gold enriched by a swirling cloud of trichomes, or tea down. The taste on the tongue is rich and smooth, but not without a vegetal sharpness reminiscent of fresh green bell peppers. This tea will mature very quickly over the next few years, so it is a wonderful tea to practice aging; the strong vegetal notes will slowly lose their strength and transform into a sweet bouquet of vanilla flowers.