Hello, fellow tea drinkers!
This week I officially got back my taste buds after being ill and I thought it was wise to partake in my first cup of white tea. So I figured that Tea n’ Joy’s White Peony was the way to go, for based on the description this tea is a perfect starter for black tea drinkers.
As far as white tea goes I didn’t know what I was expecting for my friends have informed me that white tea is usually very bland. Given that impression, I took that first sip and was pleasantly surprised. I will say that when I think of white tea I think of something that is light and cleansing and this brew did deliver that. But in addition to the palette cleansing, I was also greeted with a sweet after taste. It’s hard to put a description on it but the best that I can say is that it has a creamy sweetness. Also, White Peony goes amazing with cookies or biscotti. I myself used an almond chocolate biscotti and I did not regret it!
Now how hard is this tea going to hurt your wallet? Well at 4 oz it is priced at $18, 8 oz is $26, and $42 for 16 oz. So doing the math that is $4.50 an ounce which is normal for most loose leaf tea blends nowadays. Now I did not see an option to buy this tea as a sample outright but if you do make a purchase on their qualifying tea blends (White Peony is a blend that is qualified) you can receive two samples.
Given that this tea did appeal to me as an almost exclusively black tea drinker I will be sure to purchase this blend in the future. This blend has also motivated me to try other blends from Tea n’ Joy, their blend Earl Gray Moon is most definitely catching my eye.
See you for the next cuppa!
Here’s the scoop!
Leaf Type: White
Where to Buy: Tea ‘n Joy
Also known as “Pai Mu Tan” or “Bai Mu Dan,” White Peony is the second-most famous white tea after Silver Needle (“Bai Hao Yin Zhen”). Its flavor is bolder and deeper than Silver Needle, making it an exceptional choice for new white tea drinkers, especially those who usually prefer black teas. Refreshing and faintly reminiscent of fresh apples with a lovely, lingering flavor.
Learn even more about this tea and tea company here!
Ah, oolongs – my favorite type of tea. There’s no bad time of year for a good ti kwan yin.
Summer? Cold brew. Winter? Western-style brew in a giant mug. Any time? Gong fu.
The dry leaf of this particular ti kwan yin is forest green with brown stems. It is semiball-rolled. I could not find brewing guidelines on the company’s website so I improvised from experience. I got five decent steeps out of this leaf, all delivering a pale gold brew. I prepared the first steep at 205f for 40 seconds. The wet leaf looks and smells good. The leaves have substantially unfurled. They are medium sized, torn at the edges and sometimes in the middle, and attached to the stems. They give off a scent of light roast and honey. The flavor of this first steep is initially a light honey sweetness, followed by a soft nutty note.
Subsequent steeps bring out some bitterness in the leaf. At 205f for 60 seconds, the second steep may have been too long, too hot, or both. I have trouble identifying the flavor but the closest I can describe it is a stone fruit such as apricot. For the third steep, I keep it at 205f for 60 seconds rather than increasing the steep time. The flavor is a kale-like bitterness with a hint of sweetness.
As it cools, the bitterness fades (though never fully disappears) and a honeydew note comes to the fore. The fourth steep – 200f, 60 seconds – is less bitter and generally lighter, but overall similar to steep three with a slightly bitter honeydew flavor. The fifth steep – 200f, 2 minutes – isn’t bitter but is losing flavor. It still has a light and sweet melon note but this is the last steep.
For thoroughness, I decided to also make this Western-style. I used plenty of leaf and tried a lower temperature to see if that would reduce the bitterness. I brewed it at 185f for 4 minutes. That eliminated the bitterness but it also resulted in a less flavorful brew. There was a nutty note and a honeydew note, but they were weak and watery compared to the flavor of the gong fu preparation and other oolongs I’ve prepared Western-style. I would stick to preparing this tea gong fu style.
Here’s the scoop!
Leaf Type: Oolong
Where to Buy: Tea N Joy
This wonderful oolong tea comes from the Wuyi Mountains of Fujian Province. Gongfu style preparation is recommended for this high grade Ti Kwan Yin. The tea’s name came from a legend that told of monkeys being used by monks to retrieve this tea from the high mountains. In general, monkey picked tea are from wild tea plants that grow in inaccessible places, such as on high cliff faces. When brewed, this golden liquor gives a floral flavor with a hint of chestnut and a delightful aftertaste.