White Tea, Side by Side
Occasionally, I'll come across a delicious white tea. There are many out there, and one of the most sought after is Bai Mu Dan, or "White Peony," from Fuding, Fujian. It just so happens that I got a small amount in my coffers.
The combination of two leaves and a fuzzy bud (like down on a newborn baby) and produced from a specific cultivar called Dai Bai, or large white leaf, Bai Mu Dan, has a distinct floral aroma with a mild apricot backnote that keeps on getting sweeter with each steep. Sun dried, the beautiful leaves produce a crystal clear, golden "soup" with a very clean taste.
Like all teas, white tea is believed to have many healing qualities for such conditions as cancer, diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and many more. It is also enjoyed for its ability to relax the mind and therefore relieve tension, and its perceived anti-aging properties. When I drink a tea called White Peony, I must admit that it's easy for me to feel youthful, calm and happy. Perhaps it's all in my mind, but then again, if a tea has the ability to make me feel good, how bad can it be? Delightful, Bai Mu Dan is like silk on the tongue. This tea will make you salivate, activating all your senses. Though refreshing, it just might make you feel warm and fuzzy all over, which is especially wonderful on a cool evening.
Another white tea I very much enjoy is Yu Erhuan, or "Jade Earrings" from Simao, Yunnan. There is nothing delicate about this white tea. It is a robust pure bud tea, each leaf hand-rolled to perfection into tiny rings. I've never seen anything like it before. Simao is the only place it comes from. Unlike Bai Mu Dan, its finish is on the dry side. Its cooling effect and deep floral aroma make this tea a wonderful choice during hot summer months, when I might occasionally add cucumber slices while cold-steeping it. I've also enjoyed this tea in the winter with a few goji berries to sweeten the finish, when I want to feel warmth, not just on my tongue, but everywhere. Truly lovely!