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White Pu-Erh – Wenshan


GRADE(S): Compressed OP (Orange Pekoe)


REGION(S): Yunnan Province, China

CUP CHARACTERISTICS: Delightful astringency and body with light creamy nut notes.

Ingredients: White tea (Pu-Erh style) 2018

£ 69.90

In stock

SKU: 771541396356 Categories: ,


White Pu-Erh – Wenshan

With a 5000-year-old product like tea, developments are always news. While Pu-erhs have been around for centuries, white Pu-erh only appeared in marketable quantities around the year 2000 – at the time, big news! Before 2000, white teas of any sort were produced in such limited quantities that to even dream of experimenting with them was unheard of. Certainly, extremely small quantities of white Pu-erh had been produced in the past, but these were generally scooped up by the cream of Chinese society, government officials or tea loving high rollers in Hong Kong and Macau. This all changed with the democratization of the Chinese economy. This development saw a rise in the overall standard of living in China and with it, new interest in rare specialty teas. These rare teas, white Pu-erh among them, are generally only produced for the internal market. From time to time however, they can be purchased and brought over to the West. (The trick is to be in the right place at the right time.)

Making it is something of an art – artisans hand select the buds and top leaf of the broad-leafed white tea genus. Next, the crop is piled on a table and selected leaf by leaf for perfect color and form. The tea is then fermented very mildly and hand sorted a second time. [Now, we’ll stop for a moment. Fermented white tea? Yes. In order to be officially labelled as Pu-erh, even traditionally unfermented teas, (white varieties included), must be fermented. According to the Bureau of Standard Measurement of Yunnan Province, Pu-erh teas are officially: “products fermented from green tea of big tea leaves picked within Yunnan Province.” After fermentation, the tea is pressed into traditional Pu-erh molds, steamed, packaged and stored. The finished cup is superb, weaving sweetness layers that hint at musk, earth, damp moss, leaves after rain and subtle orchid leading to a light lingering finish – a stunning tea – White Pu-Erh – Wenshan. (We put this one in the life-altering category!)

Aging white Pu-erh: Like fine wines, Pu-erh can be aged for many years. As the tea ages it continues to ferment – its profile reacts to its environment and the leaf takes on new characteristics. Interestingly, white Pu-erh, since it has only been produced in large quantities for a handful of years, has not built up a vintage history. As such, there is much speculation as to how time will treat the delicate cakes. The general consensus in the trade is that white Pu-erh will age gracefully, developing a wonderfully sweet, noble, musty character.

Enjoying White Pu-erh now: It is perfectly acceptable to enjoy this tea now. In fact, White Pu-erh is often recommended to new Pu-erh drinkers because of its mild flavour. So go ahead, break off a piece and brew a pot.

Brewing loose leaf or pieces of a Pu-erh cake in a gaiwan over multiple steepings allows you to experience the flavor at different stages in the extraction process. Starting with a light flavor and cup color, then developing into a dark and rich experience, watch how the tea evolves and until it reaches its full extraction.

  • Bring fresh, filtered water to a boil about 100 C°.
  • Place 1 tablespoon of loose leaf Pu-erh or Pu-erh cake directly into your gaiwan.
  • Fill the gaiwan with hot water, allowing the leaves to sit for no more than 5 seconds, then discard the water. We refer to this first steeping as the rinse. This removes unwanted smaller leaf particles and facilitates further extraction in later steeps.
  • Once again, fill the gaiwan with 100 C° water, pouring directly over the leaves. Wait approximately 10-20 seconds, then pour the tea through a strainer into the glass pot. Next, pour tea into the tea cups from the glass pot. This will ensure that each individual is experiencing the same flavor in each pour.
  • Continue steeps as many times as you like, adding 5-10 seconds to each. As time passes, look to see the evolution of the leaf and the deepening of the liquor colour. Most importantly pay attention to the changing flavour with each steep.  Once the strength of the tea no longer comes through, the leaves have been fully extracted.

We strongly recommend using filtered or freshly drawn cold water brought to a rolling boil when brewing all types of tea. Today’s water has been known to carry viruses, parasites and bacteria. Boiling the water will kill these elements and reduce the potential incidence of water-borne illnesses.

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