White tea is classified according with different kind of criteria like the way of harvesting and the quality of tea leaves. Therefore, white tea can be classified as following:
- Bai Mu Dan (White Peony)
- Yin Zhen Bai Hao (Silver Needle)
- Shou Mei (Long Life Eyebrow)
- Gongmei (Tribute Eyebrow)
All of these white teas are cultivated and produced in Taiwan and China, being available everywhere in Europe and America.
From all sortiments of whites teas mentioned before, White Peony and Silver Needle are having the highest quality. Both of them are having various grades and are grown in just a couple of provinces from China, like Fujian. Silver Needle is carefully hand selected from the buds of the "Big White" or "Narcissus" tea bush. In case selected buds are having two leaves which are intact, then they will make the White Peony tea. Everything else that remains after producing Silver Needle and White Peony teas will be used to process other kind of white teas like Noble or Long Life Eyebrow. The variety of white tea called Gong Mei is made from the "chaicha" bushes, being produced in a different manner than the others. Gong Mei and Shou Mei are on the bottom in the list of quality white teas, compared to Yin Zhen Bai Hao and Bai Mu Dan.
Bai Mudan (aka White Peony, Bak Maodan)
White Peony tea name is a literal translation from the Chinese name, Bai Mudan. Tea producers are having the habit to use flower names for getting a nice association. Peonies are flowers of the wealthy in China and maybe this is the reason why they borrowed that name to label this special white tea.
White Tea Peony Origin
White Peony tea was initially produced in the northeastern part of Fujian, a well known province from China for tea lovers. There are a lot of different regions in China trying to imitate this tea, but the origins still reign for the highest quality and tastes.
How it tastes a White Peony tea
The aroma of White Peony is a fresh one, witho floral and mellow notes, given by the spring season when is harvested. If this tea gets infused properly, then the tasting is fresh, a little bit sweet with a medium body and very good for a daily consumption. The Fuding variety is fermentated just a little bit and tastes brighter in comparation with Zhenghe variety, which is more fermented, with a sharp taste and full body.
Better quality White Peony is one of the easiest teas to infuse. It is difficult to make a cup that is too strong unless you really go at it. It is a good choice for casual daily use and for tea beginners. The price of even the finest ones in this variety is a fraction of that of similar grades in renowned greens or oolongs. Varieties
The two main varieties are Fuding and Zhenghe, having different appearances. First one has a green color while the second are having a silver color. The leaves of Zhenghe are a little more darker because it had a longer fermentation process.
The Fuding version is a popular tea, having a higher price. Fuding Dai-bai is the most popularly used version, having large leaves and a clean taste.
If you preffer a full body tea then Zhenghe Mudan Wang (which is King of Peonies from Zhenghe) is the best choice you can make, even if the leaves are not so nice looking. The matured tea has much more sweet and it has a taste that is not very sharp.
Bai Mudan is really one of the best choices for those who want to switch from green tea and to keep the same taste but to get better health benefits. If you want a more cooling effect then you may go for a Fuding version.
How to make the infusion for White Peony
White Peonies teas can be infused on high tempteratures and the taste goes well. If you want to taste it better, then make sure to have the water temperature around 90 °C degrees. Even of this kind of white tea has a very high tolerance of water tempertature and infusion timens, do let it too much to infuse. Make sure the infusion does not exceeds 10 minutes. The best infusion time is around 5 minutes, like other types of tea.
How to buy White Peony
Lower grades White Peonies are having lower prices than high-grade tea, while the appearance is quite the same. Good quality White Peony have a fresh clean smell with floral influences. The tea must contain whole leafs in a high density and the packaging should be done correctly in order to preserve the freshness and to keep intact the leaves. Body roundness is differentiating the fine ones. In case you make a quick infusion like is performed in a tea shop, then you won''t be able to catch the real taste of this tea. It is recommmended to perform a careful tasting in order that you to know what you are buying.