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2023 Nannuo Moonlight White Tea


Like many tea producers in the pu’er mountains, Dá É makes "moonlight white" style bai cha, or 月光白 yuè guāng bái white tea. 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.

For this production, we requested a bit of a more bud-heavy white tea; the exclusion of some of the lower leaves that typically finds its way into yunnan moonlight whites as to highlight more aromatics.  On the morning of April 9th, Dá É went out to a special garden planted in 1937 to harvest bud heavy sets to make into a micro batch of white tea.  This garden is a seed propagated (non-clonal) garden that was planted in tandem with the breaking ground of the original Nannuo tea factory in Stone Village during that time.  Dá É's now deceased husband's father 杨开当 Yáng Kāidāng used to be the president of that factory (making Dá É's two sons his grandchildren) which allows her special access.

Merchants detailing tea trees of this age range may be tempted to describe them as 大树 dà shù Big Tree, 老树 lǎo shù Old Tree, or even 古树 gǔ shù Ancient Tree, yet in reality the farmers themselves often categorize this age range as the not-as-flashy sounding 中树 zhōng shù Middle Tree (as if to say in between young and old).

A bold, juicy, and unique expression of Nannuo tea that is delectable now and is sure to transform gracefully with a bit of age.

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4/9/23: just Dá É harvesting tea for this micro batch


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The original factory in Stone Village

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The ruins of the original Nannuo Tea Factory

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Mr. Yang, the former factory president and Dá És father-in-law


original Elephant artwork by Arulu Gallagher

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