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In a country where tea drinking dates to 2737 BC, making news isn't an easy accomplishment. Essentially, everything's been done before. Every leaf style, production method and scenting technique has been experimented with and perfected 1000 times over by artisans from Anhui to Zhejiang. Still, developments are possible, but to make Chinese tasters and tea-traders stand up and take notice of them, they had better be spectacular. Now, while pu-erh teas and white teas are by themselves quite ancient, (white pu-erh alone dates to the Qing Dynasty around 1796) white pu-erh is not. In fact, this notable new arrival to the tea party was first manufactured around 2001. Initially, China's tea connoisseurs viewed its creation with skepticism and trepidation - until they tasted it. Once the playfully delicate infusion of the finely fermented silver buds began to tempt China's tea drinking populace, skepticism vanished and the tea began to fly from shelves. In fact, during the past half dozen years or so, collecting white pu-erh has become a popular pastime with the country's newly emerging middle class. Today, as white pu-erh, including this Xantou Mandarin White Pu-erh, steadily makes it way westward, it is finding converts everywhere it turns up. (Interestingly, white pu-ehrs have become highly sought after by German and Belgian collectors.)
White pu-erh's comparatively short lifespan, (by contrast there are aged black pu-erhs available that are hundreds of years old), makes it a young pu-erh. As such, the qualities one would look for in an aged, black or green pu-erh, musty character, assertive earthy tones, will generally not be found to the same degree in a white. Instead, white pu-erhs typically greet the pallet with warm notes of vanilla, early spring grass and the subtle character of a lightly roasted mountain oolong.
And now for the latest development in white pu-erh - Xantou Mandarin White Pu-erh. Besides the obvious fact that the tea is packed in an orange, the care of craftsmanship used to get it in there cannot be underestimated. From the careful plucking of centuries old tea bushes, to the rolling on wide wicker baskets to the natural wood fires used to flash heat the mandarin orange peel, everything is done entirely by hand. (Note: firing the orange peel serves to kill any microorganisms that may be present.) The cup it produces is outstanding. A light yellow liquor resembling camomile tea leads to a medium body with a gentle astringent assertiveness, sweet notes of citrus, honey and vanilla and a surprisingly clean finish. One of the China's most interesting and uniquely rare teas! (An excellent pu-erh for the first time drinker!)
Brewing for Best Results
Ideal Brewing Temperature: 180°F/82°C.
Minimum Brewing Temperature: 175°F/79°C.
Modern Method: Bring filtered or freshly drawn cold water to 180°F/ 82°C. Break apart tea. With an infuser, use 1 slightly heaping teaspoon of loose tea per 8 oz of fluid water. Rinse the tea first by placing enough prepared water over the leaves and leave set for 10 seconds. Discard rinse water. Do not drink. Steep 1-2 minutes according to taste (the longer the steeping time the stronger the tea). If you leave the tea too long where it becomes cloudy, the taste will be bitter.
Traditional Method: When preparing by the traditional method, this tea can be used repeatedly - about 3 - 4 times. Bring filtered or freshly drawn cold water to 175°F/ 79°C. Break apart tea. With an infuser, place 1 slightly heaping teaspoon of loose tea per 8 oz of fluid water. Rinse the tea first by placing enough prepared water over the leaves and leave set for 10 seconds. Discard rinse water. Do not drink. Pour the prepared water directly over the leaves after the rinse. Steep for about 3-5 minutes then remove leaves. Rinsing the leaves are not recommended when brewing the second or third time.
Milk / Sweetener
Tea(s) From: China
Region(s): Yunnan Province
Luxury Ingredients: White tea (Pu-Erh style), Mandarin pieces.
iced tea instructions
Per Serving: Bring filtered or freshly drawn cold water to 185°F/ 85°C. Break apart tea. Place 1 slightly heaping teaspoon of loose tea per 7-9 oz of fluid water. Steep 5 minutes. Add filtered hot tea to 16 oz glass filled with ice.
Per Pitcher: Makes 1 Quart. Bring filtered or freshly drawn cold water to 185°F/ 85°C. Break apart tea. Place 6 slightly heaping teaspoon of loose tea in a heat resistant container. Pour 1 ¼ cup of prepared water over the tea leaves. Steep 5-7 minutes. With a fine mesh sieve, filter the hot tea liquor to the serving pitcher filled with ice. Add cold filtered water to top off. (Some luxury teas will turn cloudy when poured over ice).
Making an amazing cup of tea requires several things. High quality tea, filtered or freshly drawn cold water, correct water temperature, time of infusion, and filters/infusers. Unfiltered water or too hot of water can ruin the best of teas. Always use filtered or freshly drawn cold water. Any flavor from water treatments or heavy minerals such as lime or calcium can taint the water. Brew at the ideal temperature. Too hot of water can scorch the leaves and produce a bitter brew. If you find that the tea is still bitter following the recommended brewing temperature, try lowering the brew temperature another 5 to 10 degrees. Use infusers that allow the tea leaves to fully expand and has full contact with the water. Ditch the tea bags. Know the steeping time for your tea. Too long of steeping can make your tea bitter and undesirable. Too short of time will make a weak tea. Don’t make tea in the microwave.
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 illness. Cool the water to the ideal brewing temperature before brewing.