Since I started to enjoy aged white tea, I placed an order for an aged shou mei from 2013. Which was this tea. Having been aged more than 7 years, this tea has received an ideal maturity for consumption. Given that old Fujian proverb: ‘7 years treasure’, I had high expectations from this tea.
I thought that this aged white tea had an intriguing aroma, including fruit, spiciness, nuttiness and maltiness. The latter (maltiness) is a character of a full oxidised black tea and not white teas. However, it makes sense considering that this tea has been naturally oxidising – the colour of the leaves turned darker, and so does the tea liquor. Its taste was sweet with an astringent finish. I do not know what caused that, maybe the number of buds in the tea.
This tea was made by a family from Taxiacun, Nanjing County, Zhangzhou, Fujian, which elevates 750 meters. They do not have tea cultivars, but they have tea trees growing amongst other trees in the wild, limiting their production but making their teas unique. The tea master has 40 years’ experience making tea and another property that makes this tea special is that is has been charcoal dried at a low temperature.
If the popularity of aged white tea continues to rise, we may find some white teas in the market that have been aged rapidly. I was not surprised to see this scientific article investigating the aroma quality of investigation on aroma quality of rapidly aged white tea (aged at controlled rooms with a temperature of 45-50℃ with humidity of 15 ~ 20% for 180 days). The quantitative analysis findings suggest that white tea that has been aged rapidly carried an improved sweet and herbal aroma was significant. In contrast, the grassy green and delicate aroma of the fresh white tea declined sharply. I am curious to try one rapidly aged white tea to see whether its taste can come close to the quality of naturally aged teas like this one.
Origin: Taxiacun, Nanjing County, Zhangzhou, Fujian
Harvest time: Spring 2013
Leaf colour: Tones of dark brown with a few golden tips
Liquor colour: Dark amber
Tea Aroma: Fruity and woody
Tea taste: Sweet fruity and malty with an astringent finish
Steeping/brewing: Place 4g in 100ml of water at 100ºC for 5 seconds for the first infusion, with an additional 5 seconds for the subsequent infusions. You can re-steep this tea multiple times.
Shelf life: Can be aged