Which is the 40 hour process white tea, which is the shortcut 20 hour version out in the market today? The difference to me is obvious, and not an acceptable one. I opt for the traditional 40 hour method, with the sugary melon notes, vs. the grassy greener shortcut with a fragrance like cheap perfume. Those who don’t know, said Mr. Lin, insist on the shortcut Silver Needle. Mr. Lin shows off his pure silver water kettle that he cooks his aged white teas with. The smooth water quality of pure silver vs impure silver vs mere stainless steel kettles, is extreme! I take his word for it. Though I failed to score some Fuding mountain water, I am determined to get a pure silver kettle to test just how much better water boiled in it can taste.
As for the White Down, the March 28 lot was sublime- ashy grey silver, like Mr. Lin’s silver pot. Beautiful, 1000 meter elevation, tight needles, exquisite liquor.
The old, new white tea
White teas have the ability to age, becoming even more sweet with a beautiful golden hue. Goes down very, very well. We have to have some!
Behind a little known temple in the back of the mountain is a running stream from the same source as the Tiger Run Spring, the famous sweet tasting water that not only nourishes the tea plants, but brews an unparalleled cup of Dragonwell. This secret water source is where all the tea masters like Mr. Dai go to get water to brew their own tea. Free from tourists, he said. So I can not disclose its…
Using the right water is the single most essential ingredient, besides having great leaves, for tea.
Finally, sitting down to taste today’s harvest of Longjing Dragonwell, here at Longjing Village, Hangzhou
Nowadays, fortunately we are no longer in a position of consumption only out of necessity. Experiencing the artistry of cuisine, appreciating the hand crafted nuances, connecting with the artisan whose passion and lifelong work is in that cheese, or chocolate, or in our case, tea. Tea, a 5000 year living culture, is experiencing a renaissance, one where you can experience the most traditional techniques (like Wuyi oolongs), the oldest living trees (like the Pu-erh made from 250 or 1500 year old trees), to the newest varietals (like the Ruby Red), or the most unusual innovations (like the Honey Jialong) alike. It is a great time to be alive enjoying tea, and if mere thirst quenching is not the only purpose you are after, then experience the connoisseur teas that we seek out far and wide. Some are available to purchase on a limited basis, but many can only be experienced…