I love it when tea and reading come together! Today I received my new Walrus magazine (fave!) and a fantastic shipment of White and Pu’erh teas from Tea Vivre! Wow! It’s like a conjunction of the planets! Planet Walrus… and Planet Tea Vivre… together again! How exciting! I can’t wait to explore both!
Ok, well, Planet Walrus is going to have to wait. I have too much work to do today… so we’re landing this ship on Planet Tea Vivre and sending out an ‘away team’ to explore the mysterious and unknown “Fuding Shou Mei White Tea Cake 2013″. The name alone strikes fear into the hearts of millions… what the heck is ‘Fuding Shou Mei”? A little research on Tea Vivre’s website reveals that Fuding is a town in Fujian province, China. Shou Mei is (unfermented) white tea; one bud and 2 – 3 leaves. It isn’t the top grade… but, packed into cakes, still makes a mighty fine tea!
I open the package and smell a wonderful sweet, rich, fruity aroma… like plums and peaches and apricots, with a teeny tiny hint of tobacco. Sweet and fruity! I pull out a chunk of a tea cake. (if you’ve never seen one, they are flat round disks – maybe 6 inches across – of compressed tea leaves that you have to pick apart with a special needle-like tool). This sample consists of a big chunk of cake and some separate flaky layers. I break one piece apart with my fingers, lifting off the layered leaves. It flakes apart easily.
I steep in a gaiwan for 35 seconds at 75 deg. The tea is a pale olive yellow, and smells so sweet!
Mmmm… this is sweet and very rich! I let it roll around in my mouth and it’s like… milk-chocolate coated apricots. The fruity peachy/apricot-y taste is the most obvious, but underneath, there is a sort of sweet malty/musky smoothness that reminds me of ‘Maltesers’ candy! So, this is a REALLY interesting and delicious combination! I like it very much!
The second steep, for one minute, is a darker, golden yellow, and the malty chocolatey musky flavour is just intensified. It’s so smooth and sweet, it’s almost like I’ve added cream, though I haven’t. The aftertaste is still fruity like apricots.
I go for a third steeping…. 2 minutes! (forgot!) Still rich, sweet, fruity… it’s much the same as #2. The flavour is so smooth and mellow. This is a very nice, sweet, mellow tea, without a hint of acid, or bitterness, or tannins. I’d be happy to drink this any day!
*NOTE* Later the same evening I got another 4 cups out of this tea, and it’s still delicious.
OK, Beam me up! This planet is friendly, and I recommend visiting again, as soon as possible!
HUGE THANK YOU
to Tea Vivre for providing this giant sample pack for review! Can’t wait to try the next ones!