Caiqing Co-op, Zhenghe, Fujian, China
The Zhenghe native varietal of white peony is known to age better than its famous Fuding cousins. Even in loose form, the Fuding leaf tend to be fruitier up front but dissipates while the Zhenghe prizes itself on the lasting afters. It is perhaps this genetic disposition that allows it to mature well.
Currently, the 2015 is at a sweet and peachy stage. It’s a sort-after transition phase. On one hand, these pleasant notes may not have been prominent when leaves were fresh yet they will not linger for too long before flavours convert to woodier, cooler sheng pu-erh-like maturation.
The astute will take this up now to experience ensuing flavour change over time. They’ll also be keen to get ahead of the inevitable price upswing as the years go by.
Note that it is possible to “cook” the tea leaves for latter infusions. See below.
Dry leaf: a compressed disc of green and auburn leaves and plentiful white downy buds.
Taste: peach, orchids, steamed rice cakes
Process: sun-withered, sun-dried, compressed
Storage: Keep in dry, cool, dim place. Once opened, can transfer to clay caddies.
- Warm a 125ml gai wan with water just off the boil
- Add 8-10g of tea and rinse the leaves
- Brew using 90C water for 15 seconds
- Infuse 4 times
- After fourth gai wan infusion, you can do subsequent infusions using the “cooking” method. Bring 300ml water in a saucepan to a simmer and add used leaves. Bring that to a rolling boil for 1 minute. Strain and serve.