CUP CHARACTERISTICS: Clear slightly pale cup with a fresh aroma and a smooth velvety flavor. Delicate jammy notes reminiscent of Keemun or a mild Bordeaux.
INGREDIENTS: White tea.
INGREDIENTS FROM: China
GRADE(S): Spring Grade 1
ANTIOXIDANT LEVEL: High
CAFFEINE LEVEL: Low
INFUSION: Pale yellow
This is the highest grade of white tea available before one enters the stratosphere in pricing for white teas such as Peony White Needle Tea. Pai Mu Tan leaves are plucked from a special varietal tea bush called Narcissus or chaicha bushes. Secondly the leaves are not steamed or pan-fired (the process used in green teas). The leaves are naturally withered and dried in the sun. If mechanical drying is required it is a baking process at temperatures less that 40°C. Thirdly only special 'two leaves and a bud' are selected. These leaves must show a very light green almost gray white color and be covered with velvet peach fuzz down. White teas that are withered in conditions that are too hot with become reddish and in conditions that are too cold they will become blackish. You will see on this Pai Mu Tan that the tea maker struck the perfect balance between solar and indoor withering resulting in a perfect white tea.
The western cosmetic industry has recently discovered the benefits of white tea. In addition to its anticancer properties, tea has a calming and detoxifying effect on the skin. White tea is especially potent in that it is has three times as many antioxidant polyphenols as green or black tea and has been shown to be 100% more effective in mopping up free radicals that cause skin to sag. Some of the world's top cosmetic companies are becoming very interested in white tea for skin creams and the result is that high grade white tea is becoming even more rare than before.
Researchers at the Linus Pauling Institute in Oregon tested white teas on selected rates to test for the ability of white teas to inhibit natural mutations in bacteria and to protect the rates from colon cancer. Interestingly, white teas were found to be more effective than green tea in inhibiting the early stages of cancer but researchers were quick to point out that their study was on rats and the effects should not be extrapolated to humans. The researchers also discovered that white tea contains higher levels of caffeine compared to green tea brewed under the same conditions. They suggested that this could occur because white tea oxidizes during withering whereas in green tea the oxidation process is stopped early in the tea making process by steaming or panfiring.
IDEAL BREWING TEMPERATURE: 85ºC/185ºF. For Food Safety reasons bring water to 100ºC/212ºF and let it cool down to 85ºC/185ºF.
HOT BREWING METHOD:
Bring filtered or freshly drawn cold water to a rolling boil and cool to 85ºC/185ºF. . Place 1 slightly heaping teaspoon of loose tea for each 7-9oz / 200-260ml of fluid volume in the teapot. Pour the water into the teapot. Cover and let steep for 3-7 minutes according to taste (the longer the steeping time the stronger the tea).
ICED TEA BREWING METHOD (Pitcher): (To Make 1 Liter/Quart):
Place 6 slightly heaping teaspoons of loose tea or 6 tea bags into a teapot or heat resistant pitcher. Using filtered or freshly drawn cold water, boil and pour 1¼ cups/315ml over the tea. Steep for 5 minutes. Quarter fill a serving pitcher with cold water. Pour the tea into your serving pitcher straining the leaves or removing the tea bags. Add ice and top-up the pitcher with cold water. A rule of thumb when preparing fresh brewed iced tea is to increase the strength of hot tea since it will be poured over ice and diluted with cold water. (Note: Some luxury quality teas may turn cloudy when poured over ice. This is a sign of luxury quality and nothing to worry about!)