The upswing in popularity and marketable chic surrounding white tea over the last decade has given rise to many variations and different classifications of the style. Some of it innovation, some of it hype, we're here to bear witness and see what's worthwhile. One of our favorite styles of new school white tea is the earlier, finer pluck of the Bai Mu Dan grade. A tea originating in Northern Fujian, 白牡丹 Bai Mu Dan "White Peony" represents a spring pluck of one bud and two leaves, set out to wither for some time before drying.
This finer pluck we speak of entails simply harvesting the leaf set as one bud and just one leaf. Depending on who you ask, you may hear this grade referred to as 高级 gāojí "supreme" or 牡丹王 mǔ dān wáng "king peony". We enjoy this finer plucking grade as our go-to white tea when we reach for one that is fresh and unaged, as the balance of fragrance, sweetness, and body is unparalleled.
This tea was harvested in Zhenghe County in 锦平村 Jin Ping village on April 4th from Zhenghe Da Bai cultivar bushes.
While the capitol of white teas in the world is sure to be the coastal city of Fuding, we are pleased to be able to offer teas from 政和 Zhenghe, sure to be its rival. Zhenghe shares the same government district of Nanping with the iconic and legendary post-volcanic mountainous region of Wuyishan. The average elevation of Zhenghe is 200 meters higher than Fuding, and as such the leaves grow slower; their average harvest date is later.
While Fuding white tea production takes advantage of earlier seasonal sunshine for withering, Zhenghe’s later production time-frame bookends the onset of monsoon season, necessitating producers to use partial indoor-outdoor withering methods with less direct, more passive light. Leaves can often oxidize at slower rates and lower temperatures, resulting in a more robust and sweeter profile. If you like northern fujianese white teas, you must try Zhenghe teas.
Though this tea is remarkable fresh, it can be aged as well (read more about aging white tea here). As one of the more higher grades of white tea, you won't find a lot of early Mu Dan Wang aged. Most of the white tea set aside specifically for aging and pressing is later harvest, lower grade material.
Find the aged and pressed version of this tea here: 2016 Zhenghe Mu Dan Wang
Other teas from the same family: