Caiqing Co-op, Zhenghe, Fujian, China
The late harvesting of shou mei gives the tea a bolder flavour as more mature leaves tend to do. It makes perfect sense then that a pleasant surprise could be had with compressing and ageing shou mei. Often, correct ageing techniques take the edge off of rich flavours. The theory is proven in this cup.
The 2016 shou mei cake yields a balanced drop. The briskness is removed from its original loose leaf form leaving behind equal measures of muscatel, chestnut and bok choy notes. The ’tong’ has a medium body, giving your palate something to play with. A well thought-out, sensible production. A clever way to elevate what was once a rudimentary white tea.
Note that it is possible to “cook” the tea leaves for latter infusions. See below.
Dry leaf: a balanced mix of green and darker leaf with buds present.
Taste: Darjeeling, chestnut, bok choy, Oriental Beauty
Process: sun-withered, sun-dried, compressed
Storage: Keep in dry, cool, dim place. Once opened, can transfer to clay caddies.
1. Warm a 125ml gai wan with water just off the boil
2. Add 8-10g of tea and rinse the leaves
3. Brew using 90C water for 15 seconds
4. Infuse 4 times
5. 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.