Every year in March, my Japanese friends start posting their glorious pictures of cherry blossoms and ‘hanamatsuri’ parties under the cherry trees. Spring has arrived in many parts of the world… but not here. I look out the window at another dark grey day, with remnants of dirty snow in patches, and heavy grey clouds for miles. I feel sluggish and slow… dim-witted and foggy… nothing will come into focus. It’s freezing outside when I walk to the supermarket. I consider buying a little flowering plant to brighten my windowsill… but decide against it. I don’t think it will get enough sun to survive. I don’t think I will get enough sun to survive.
On days like this, I always crave white tea. I don’t know why. There must be something in it that my body is lacking. Somehow white tea clears the fog and lifts me out of my winter depression for a few minutes. It’s a welcome reprieve. I usually go for my beloved “Silver Needles“, but this time, I want to try this “Pai Mu Tan” by Divine Tea Library. It’s been in the cupboard for a month. It’s calling my name.
Opening the package, it smells earthy and dry. It has a much more pronounced ‘tobacco’ smell than Silver Needles. The leaves are a strange combination of broken green and brown pieces, and some fuzzy white needles. Whereas Silver Needles is simple and pure, this smells more rich and luxurious. It has some body to it… some layers.
I brew it to a light golden colour… not too hot. It has a nice clean honey, buttery taste. The aftertaste is mildly sweet and buttery, like shortbread. It is very clean and fresh… like sunlight. I think it is liquid sunlight, even if there is none to be found in Toronto in March.
This Pai Mu Tan is a good fresh tea with more richness and depth than Silver Needles. I may not have cherry blossoms, but this white tea gives me hope that the clouds will clear some day… soon?