This is a White Moonlight, which is a type of white tea made with a different cultivar than usual called Camellia Taliensis. The processing is also quite different from your average white tea; and thus creates a very different tasting profile compared to many white teas from Fujian. Although it has many similar characteristics to Yunnan-made white teas, the tea has its own sticky, citric and sort of medicinal character that is unique to this tea. Some argue that this is a pu erh, and some say its a white tea. However, I am no expert so I have no free will to comment on this. The most important aspect to any tea is the actual experience and the taste.
This tea was made by White2tea, and they mainly sell Puerhs, but also deal with White, Oolong and Black teas.
Basic info about this special tea:
- 2018 White Moonlight (Yue Guang Bai) Tea
- Camellia Taliensis
- From Yunnan, China.
Temperature ( 90 degrees celsius)
Brewing Vessel (100 ml Jingdezhen gaiwan)
Grams of Leaves ( 7 grams)
Steeping Time ( less than 5 seconds per infusion, and every infusions increasing the time by 5 to 15 seconds depending on infusion)
Number of Total Steepings: Over 13 strong infusions.
Aroma of Dry Leaves: Sour apple, apricot smell with some creaminess
Aroma of Wet Leaves: Rich, deeper honey, some spiciness, smell of cold patches; like root beer. But not very very strong root beer smell, only a hint. Vanilla as well. (Sorry to all root beer fans;(
Taste Profile: See Below
Texture Profile: Different with every brew
Feeling/Aftertaste: relaxing and very natural. Spicy and slightly medicinal aftertaste.
Price: 35 dollars/200 grams
Rating 7 out of 10.
First to Third infusions : Light, sweet, warming. Notes of hay, apricot, but not much else going on. Mostly focused on the texture and mouthfeel. The finish especially on the third brew is quite drying.
Fourth to Seventh infusion: Richer, and more texture, medium to medium thick body. Taste of medicinal honey, apricots, and the classic Yunnan white tea taste. But, the finish is still dry. Cooling gan sensation on both sides of my mouth, and back of my throat. Every infusion is very consistent, and you can push this tea without getting bitter. Slightly astringent, which makes you want more.
Eighth to Tenth Infusions : Soft, silky tofu with honey and almonds. Nuttiness coming out.
Eleventh to Thirteenth Infusions: Acidic, soft, velvety, and super easy drinking. But, no more tea taste.
This tea is a good, daily drinker. Price to quality ratio is very fair, and I am excited to see the progression this tea will take over the years as it ages. Aged White Moonlight should give more oomph and more character to satisfy the senses. Nothing crazy in this tea, a very good easy drinker that is soft on the pallet. I am also curious to see the outcome of this tea; cold brewed. The higher notes of the tea should reveal better that way, and not much of the astringency should reveal. This tea is ideal for people that are not very comfortable to spend a huge amount on tea and like teas that aren’t too strong yet still has a distinctive quality but want something nice and solid in their collection to drink daily.
Floral Mountain Tie Guan Yin Tea from Totem Tea
Basic info about this special tea:
Tie Guan Yin varietal
– From Alishan, Chiayi, in Taiwan
– Muzha style
– Temperature ( 92 degrees celsius)
– Brewing Vessel ( Large Dehua porcelain gaiwan 100ml)
– Grams of Leaves ( 5 grams)
– Steeping Time ( less than 25 seconds per infusion, and every infusions increasing the time by 15 seconds)
Number of Total Steepings:
– 6 strong infusions.
Aroma of Dry Leaves:
– Slight smoky,
– Roasted corn flakes
– Cereal like.
Aroma of Wet Leaves:
– Poached peaches with fried rice.
– Similar to a Oriental Red dan cong tea
– Honey, Ripe mango, Papaya, And lychee profile.
– Leather, Library books. Not too sticky
– More of a mouthfeel and richer taste compared with other Taiwanese high mountain tea.
– Crisp, Slightly sour taste from the Muzha. Hui gan is slow but long lasting. .
– Price: 15 USD
– Rating 7.5 out of 10.
Something triggering has happened when I tried this tea. As I smelled the flying scent of the craftsmanship, I began to recall the moments of when I really started to discover the beauty of tea. When I first had the Oriental Red Dan Cong at my friends house in Vancouver, I was lost for words. I cannot even describe the amount of significance and declaration of satisfaction I felt from drinking every sip of that golden drink. My mind felt as if I entered nirvana, and didn’t care where I was going. The scent I first got when interacting with the warm dry leaves and me bringing back the emotions from the past was great. The cornflake like, typical cereal or cookie smell was present, like how in a dan cong some of the major characteristics are like the marzipan or butter cookies .
Oriental Red was a mixture of Duck Shit and Ba Xian together. A buttery, fruity, spicy, and dry finished dan cong. Truly remarkable. But, don’t have the money to spend 8000 CAD for 500 grams. That’s 160 dollars per pot, and most people won’t pay that kind of money for the drink. I would rather buy something affordable for my budget, but not as long lasting as the dan cong. This muzha doesn’t last too long, while the mouthfeel is still consistent and the bitterness still being persistent. The sour taste becomes more metallic and I would’ve wished that the tea can last a little longer. That’s the only thing I wished was different.
The packaging is very organized, clear, and the leaves are nice and shiny. Very affordable too. 15 dollars for a package is better than any other price I’ve seen before for Taiwanese Tie Guan Yin’s out there on the western market. I must say that I am very impressed and Totem tea; you converted me to Taiwanese Tie Guan Yin. I very much was intrigued by the incredible honey and strong fragrance it carried while being very grounding and having a thick body. My final rating for this tea would be a 7.5 out of 10. Great tea for people who are looking into trying to get a very uplifting and satisfying experience at the same time, and very affordable. Thanks Phillip for this tea, and more reviews coming shortly.
Tie Guan Yin Tea from producer Zhiqiang Wang
Basic info about this rare tea:
Tie Guan Yin Varietal
2017 Spring Tea
From Anxi County in Fujian Province
600-700 m Elevation Above Sea Level.
Temperature ( 95 to 96 degrees Celsius)
Brewing Vessel (Jingdezhen Porcelain Gaiwan)
Grams of Leaves ( 8 grams)
Steeping Time ( less than 3 seconds per infusion, and every 2 infusions increasing the time by 5 to 10 seconds)
Number of Total Steepings: Over 8 strong infusions.
Aroma of Dry Leaves: Dried Nougat, Sour Apples, Grassy Nuts.
Aroma of Wet Leaves: Soft ketchup, Orchid.
Taste Profile: Boiled Broccoli with Gardenia Stems, Bitter Grass.
Texture Profile: Soft but Astringent.
Feeling/Aftertaste: Gentle, Sweet Melon aftertaste.
Poetic Expression: “ A bull frog taking a nap under the hibiscus flower.” -An ugly beast having pretty foods, that’s what I feel from this tea.
Price: 150 dollars/500 grams
Rating 7.2 out of 10.
I will first give a brief introduction to Tie Guan Yin.
The Chinese believe in two stories surrounding the myth of where Tie Guan Yin is originally from. The first story is from Wei, where the tail saids that Wei was concerned about the local temple that had a Iron statue of the Buddhist goddess Guan Yin, who is no other than Avalokiteshvara in Sanskrit, while he was so poor and couldn’t even afford thinking about repairing the statue and temple. So, what he did was bringing a broom and some incense twice a month for a long time, accumulating merits for his good karma. One night, the goddess Guan Yin appeared in his dream indicating that there is a treasure in a cave nearby, and he was told to take it out and share it with others. In the cave, he found a tea shoot, and brought it out to plant in a small stream. This eventually became a great bush, providing the best tea. Later on, people in the village started to call this tea, Tie Guan Yin, The Iron Goddess of Mercy.
The second story is from Wang, as this tale goes like this. The great scholar Wang accidentally found a Tea bush underneath the Guanyin rock in Xiping, Anxi, China. He then brought the plant back home for cultivation. In the 6th year of ruling for the Qianlong Emperor, Wang visited the emperor with this tea as a gift from the local village. Qianlong was so impressed, he asked where this tea is from. From there, the name Guan Yin was started to be used for this tea.
There are three main types of Tie Guan Yin teas.
Traditional ( Charcoal roasted)
Jade or Modern Style ( Unroasted)
Medium Roast (Traditional medium roast)
The traditional-style Tie Guan Yin offers a very dark, heavily-oxidized, and was the first kind of Tie Guan Yin to ever be made. The roasting however is usually lighter and more fragrant than typical Wuyi Rock teas. The Medium Roast Tie Guan Yin offers very bright and deep aromas, compared with the Green Type, also known as Modern Style, very strong on the nose and has notes of gardenia flowers, honey butter, and melons. The market recently has shifted more attention on the Green Tie Guan Yin rather than the Traditional ones, due to the high-rise in Taiwanese Oolongs, and land, labor, and capital is actually cheaper to produce green oolongs in China than it is in Taiwan. Plus, making Green style requires less effort and is cheaper, so more people want to buy it, and the economy is rising for this.
I did enjoy this tea, but I wouldn’t say I am a lover of it, because I know the quality isn’t the highest. High quality Tie Guan Yins are very hard to find in the western Market, because of two main reasons. First, because the good Tie Guan Yins are being bought within China, and the outside market doesn’t usually get involved. Also, because the price gap between qualities of Tie Guan Yin significantly jumps from very low to high. I mean, very much. In my opinion, Pu Erh has a much more controlled and standard rate for Gushu material, while Tie Guan Yins are very skeptical and increase in price so much compared to other higher quality teas. This one I tried was given to me by Lillian Li, the owner of SpiriteaStudio, as it was given to her by her friend in Xiping, Anxi. The initial taste is very good, resulting in a deep, warm taste of broccoli, with gardenia stems. I should say this sample was not exclusive, but was not bad either. It was not a tea for me to contemplate on, and during the last 3 infusions, I experienced the typical, minerally, acidic sort of taste that comes from Green Tie Guan Yin when the session is almost starting to fade away. This gave me that look on my face of, “Is this the thing again?” Yes, so this tea is a good oolong but not a great oolong, because it doesn’t have anything unique, but very standard and fair. It is a good tea for beginners to compare qualities. For more info and to get sample packs of different grades of oolong teas, go to Spiritea Studio in Vancouver or contact Lillian at firstname.lastname@example.org. This was a introduction to Tie Guan Yin, more oolong related articles coming soon. Stay tuned for the next article, the Floral Mountain Tie Guan Yin.`
Basic info about this rare tea:
– Half raw and ripe Pu Erh
– From 1976
– A mixed material between different mountains.
– $2 a gram
Temperature ( 96 to 98 degrees celsius)
Brewing Vessel ( Yixing Hongni Factory 1 pot from 1990)
Grams of Leaves ( 8 grams)
Steeping Time ( less than 5 seconds per infusion, and every 5 infusions increasing the time by 5 to 10 seconds)
Number of Total Steepings: Over 16 strong infusions.
Aroma of Dry Leaves: Brown sugar, sweet ginseng
Aroma of Wet Leaves: Cinnamon cookies, dried dates.
Taste Profile: Pure agarwood, Chestnut cream
Texture Profile: Beginning is very smooth, but when passing the throat, intense
Feeling/Aftertaste: Extremely relaxed, every muscle feels refreshed.
Poetic Expression: “ The tea feels like a thief trying to steal from an empty house.” “Nothing to take, nothing to lose.”
Take a look at the mind and observe it, how it moves, how it feels, where our thoughts and understandings go and why it happens. Our mind is like a crazy monkey that cannot be controlled, yet when I drink this tea I felt as if somehow I am watching a movie happening inside of me, while I was standing apart from myself and just observing. The unique colours in the pitcher wehn brewed really shows the multiple layers of minerals, energies, and great storage. The mouthfeel being incredibly smooth to start, as it builds complexity within the throat and chest, it starts to move the energy and the “shoulder droppings” start to happen. By “shoulders dropping, I mean when you take a sip it relaxes your shoulders, and as it goes down to the stomach, you feel your shoulders drop down.
Keira told me that this tea was a half raw/half ripe tea, so the cooked aspect really shows in the beginning and is powerfully dark, but the lingering aftertaste and the hui gan definitely shows the potential of the raw nature it has. The agarwood incense is very strong, and the aftertaste of longan is amazing. This is such an amazing aged Pu Erh which usually signifies teas that were very astringent and bitter to begin with, but because it is aged for over 40 years, the tea has lost some of the original characteristics that may have been unpleasant and transformed into pure delight. If I am honest, I think this tea will be better appreciated and be loved by tea lovers who have some knowledge about Pu Erh and preferably has tried a couple aged Pu Erhs. The loose blend creates interesting notes within my mouth, and I think this is one of the most complex aged Pu Erhs I have ever had. But miraculously, it still does have a slight bitterness at the end, even though it has been aging for over 42 years. It means the enzymes are still trying to ferment this tea even more, as Pu Erh teas have no boundary to age.
Proper storage and humidity will keep the enzymes alive, tea healthy and taste beautiful. The storage for this tea was probably half Guangdong or HK storage, and half dryer storage. I do notice the slight wetness, but this doesn’t make the tea lesser in quality at all. It’s truly a wonderful tea to share at a special moment, cherishing for whatever that’s happening, making it a memorable one by using this hidden gem as the performer to dance in your soul.