White teas primarily come from two Fujian counties - Fuding to the east and Zhenghe to the north.
Last year when prices doubled due once again to unscrupulous speculators hoarding the supply, we had to look for new sources for our white peony. We ended up stepping away from our traditional Zhenghe leanings and onto a Fuding. Those in the game can distinguish one from another - on the dry leaf usually, the Zhenghe have daintier buds, smaller leaves while the Fuding leaves are darker, broader and “furrier”.
They are two botanically distinct varietals after all.
On the palate, Zhenghe tends to be lighter and sweeter like steamed baby bok choy. Fuding notably brisker with notes reminiscent of sheng puerh and dare I say, a Darjeeling.
For the infamous year that was 2020, I enjoyed the bolder, brighter change. But a year on, I was hankering for some fresh greens in my white peony.
So I spoke to our old Zhenghe supplier:
“Ayo, you got any of the sweet stuff left without the exorbitant price tag?”
“Fam, I still gotta jack it up a bit but since no one’s been selling much last year I still got keys.”
“Cordon off ya stock, imma take it.”
On that note, we welcome back the sweet, sweet Zhenghe in all its young green leaf glory.