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2021 Nannuo Moonlight White + Tea Blossoms

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This is our first white tea offering outside of Fujian. Like many tea producers in the pu’er mountains, Dá É makes moonlight white style bai cha, or 月光白 yuè guāng bái. The style typically looks like: a plucking grade of one bud + two-three leaves, the tea is set out to wither for several days, experiencing a range of oxidation between the leaves of various thicknesses. Since the leaves are withered through the night, people have given it the name Moonlight white. The likeness of the shiny white hairs contrasted against the darker, more heavily oxidized lower leaves in the tea cake — resembling the shine of the moon against the night sky — is another hypothesis for the origin of the namesake of this style of tea.  The tea liquor pours relatively darker, more oxidized compared to more delicate Fujianese var. sinensis cultivars.  The longer withering + drying step necessitated by the sub-tropical Xishuangbanna climate without drying ovens allows for some of the more enzyme-rich lower leaves to oxidize more fully, adding complexity to the brew as well as versatility to how it can be brewed.  Gong fu or boil it, as you would a shou mei.

Back in early September, when the tea trees of Nannuo began to flower, Dá É went out to collect and dry these flowers for tea. A flower tea that folks will often press into cakes by themselves, we decided with Dá É to experiment by putting a small amount of these blossoms into each of these moonlight white cakes for an additional florality and apt expression of fall time. Thick, aromatic, and most agreeably smooth, this tea is good to drink now, yet like other white teas that can be aged, this tea is still teeming with enzymes that will transform the experience and complexify over the next few years.

This tea and its blossoms comes from her old growth trees in 石头寨 Shítou zhài AKA Stone Village (leaves harvested in late september / early october).  Check out more of her teas here, as well as a write up on autumn harvested teas with more information about fantastical animal featured on this wrapper, the Chevrotain, here.

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Wrapper artwork in collaboration with Rosy Kirby of Lost Mountain Prints.

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