This is the tea that convinced me to include the tisanes as a category of 365 Teas Challenge. I will tell you how.
Last year, I went to a Tea Expo in Shenzhen and saw that moyeam was offered to me. I had no clue what this tea was, it looked strange. Indeed, not like tea. I took my first sip, and it was super astringent. I had no clue what is going on. I somehow thought there must be something about this tea. I started to ask questions and got some replies, but communication was not straightforward. What I got out of it was that it was super healthy to drink this tea which translates from Chinese as ‘White Berry Tea’ and it belongs to the category of white tea. As we kept discussing, I continued sipping, and the taste was not too bitter anymore. Once, I finished my cup, I was offered a cup of water. How bizarre I thought and was about to reject but the beautiful girls from Hunan (in their traditional costumes) insisted that I take the water. I took a sip from the water, and all of them were staring at me. They expected me to something, and at that moment, I realised a sweetness was running through my mouth. I took another sip to reconfirm the sensation. It was there and made me smile. Everybody else smiled. I think this was the reaction that was expected.
Later, I researched about this tea and found that it is indeed not a tea. It is a species of plant in the Vitaceae family which is endemic to southern China but also grows in some Southeast Asian Countries. Moyeam is rich in flavonoids, especially dihydromyricetin. This website claims that the content of flavonoids is the highest in all the plant resources in the world. Actually, I saw the same claim on other sources too, so it might be actually true. Apart from flavonoids, Moyeam is also rich in amino acids, proteins, vitamins and essential trace elements like iron and zinc. It is health benefits said to include curing respiratory disease, relieving stomach complaints and promoting restful sleep, among others.
What is even more interesting is that Moyeam has been processed as a tea for at least 600 years. In 1385, it was gifted to the king of the Tujia minority (who keep producing it today) and was claimed to cure diseases. This loose-leaf tea is hand-plucked, withered, rolled and fermented. Flavonoids make up the snowy look of this tea. Apparently, the whiter the leaves mean, the higher the flavonoids and other nutritious elements.
Ampelopsis grossedentata naturally grows in the mountainous Zhang Jia Jie area of Hunan province at the altitude of 800-1500 meters. The plant keeps the pests out. Therefore, moyaem tea is considered all-natural. It is also stated that Tujia minority are healthy people with an average life span of 89. This is attributed to their moyeam drinking habits.
Origin: Zhang Jia Jie, Hunan
Harvest time: 2019
Leaf colour: White frosty look
Liquor colour: Faint yellow
Tea aroma: Floral and citrus
Tea taste: Very bitter and tart
Steeping/brewing: I placed about 2 tea spoons of moyeam in your tea pot and steep for 10 sec. (for a better taste) of 3 minutes (for a better extraction of its nutritions). It usually steeps multiple times. You can eat the leaves or give them to your plants.
Shelf life: A few years