I wrote before that in Turkey tea farmers, and traders call a tea bud ‘white tea’. This means that the mainstream white tea production is Bai Hao Yin Zhen (silver needles). When I spoke to some boutique tea producers and show them different white teas like a shou mei from Ceylon that I reviewed earlier, he got surprised that shou mei could be called a white tea. So, I did order a sample amount of shou mei from that tea master, and this is it.
This tea has the first bud and top two leaves. I think the result was good taste-wise. It was floral and sweet (not as sweet as silver needle), but it had a thicker taste. Given that the conventional white is unaffordable, I think shou mei has a market in Turkey like it happened with Chinese white teas. Shou mei (old men’s eyebrows) is not that the most common white tea type.
As for the steeping of it, I read that shoumei tastes best when it is slowly infused in colder water. At the same time, another school of thought suggests that it should be brewed at a higher temperature than silver needle and white peony. I did brew it at a higher temperature and liked the result. I already ordered ‘white peony’ from the same farmer, and I’m looking forward to trying it.
Origin: Rize, Turkey
Harvest time: June 2020
Leave colour: Tones of green and brown with some white fuzz on buds
Liquor colour: Yellow
Tea aroma: Floral
Tea taste: Sweet with mineral and floral tones
Steeping/brewing: You can use around 90°C water temperature (yes don’t be afraid) and brew for up to one minute in gongfu style or up to three minutes in Western-style. You can brew the leaves many times (until the taste is lost). To each infusion add additional time. Experiment for a result that suits your taste.
Shelf life: Up to 10 years or more if aged appropriately.